Sunday, 17 January 2010

a new punctuation mark available for purchase

I've just read on Slavenka and Obi's blog about a new punctuation mark that is available for purchase. As it so succinctly suggests in the name, SarcMark, it's for letting readers know your sentence is sarcastic.

It might have been useful when a British woman said, "It's jolly decent of them to let me have a half share of my win,"as a court awarded her only part of the prize in a lottery after the winning ticket fell from her pocket and someone else claimed to have won.

Yes, that sentence could have benefited from a specific punctuation mark.

I looked at the YouTube commercial for the SarkMark and, at first, I thought the examples weren't actually sarcasm, because they were so unsubtle and heavy-handed. But when I visited The Online Etymology Dictionary, where there is a table of types of humor (from Fowler's Modern English Usage, 1926, I began to think the British woman's remark may have been sardonic rather than sarcastic, because they were possibly self-directed and aimed at dealing with adversity, rather than aimed at a victim or bystander and intended to wound.

The SarcMark YouTube examples certainly fit the definition of sarcasm at WordNet - expressing or expressive of ridicule that wounds.

I was thinking of downloading the symbol - it's only a couple of dollars - but now that I've become more aware of the hurtful aspect of sarcasm I'm not going to do so.


theregatha said...

As the saying goes "sarcasm is the wit of a fool", so I am pleased you chose NOT to engage with ownership of a symbol for it.

Papillon Bleu said...

What a sad thing.I agree with you.And why pay for something so negative?
It is like: "oh! I've got a new little weapon for sale just to make sure you can make your contemporaries lives a little worse everyday".
Anyway...I wanted you to know that I read your article about miniature when I went to bed last night.I printed it out.
I loved it because it confirms something about scales that I wasn't sure to have understood.It is sometimes tricky for me( English not being my first language)and I am horrible with figures.
I was pleased to discover you on your website too!

I am glad I have "met" you because I love to learn.

Best wishes.

parlance said...

Papillon bleu, thanks for visiting my so-o-o boring website. When I set it up I thought I would work on it, but in the meantime I've decided blogging is much more fun, lol, so the website just sits there doing nothing.
The picture of me on it was actually taken in England. I love England, and think you are so lucky to live there.

I'm glad the article on miniature scales is helpful to you.

parlance said...

Theregatha, I'd have to agree with you. Until I saw the ad for this punctuation mark, I hadn't really realised how hurtful sarcasm can be.

Anonymous said...

First girl to get sacked on Facebook!
'I had to tell the owner bout u losin that tenner coz obviously the till was down at the end of day. she wasn't very pleased at all and despite me trying to persuade her otherwise she said I have to let u go. I'm really sorry.'

Gotta love that grammar and spelling. Or should I say:

Gtta luv dat grammer nd splling :))

parlance said...

Anonymous, what an amazing text message! It says so much about the modern world. If she couldn't get the poor kid on the phone why didn't she at least drive around there and speak to her in person?

At first I didn't realise what your message was about, so I'm sorry I took so long to post it here. But I found the story at