I've finally started writing my romance novel. There's a scene in the novel where the girl (Luna) is sneaking in from her boyfriend's house. Her dad, however, was waiting for her. The scene goes something like this:

But that's not what her dad cared about. This specifically was a video of her and him... kissing. But they weren't just kissing, they were making out. As Luna’s hand reached under Xavier’s shirt her dad turned off his phone in disgust. “You were talking and stuff, huh!? Is that what you call talking and stuff!? I’m disgusted with you, Sally, I really expected you would know better, now go to your room and don’t you dare come out until I tell you to!”

The parts that are bolded, as you can see, both have a !? in them, and I really need to know if I'm breaking any rules doing that.

2 Answers 2


I think that's fine for informal things, but if you were to write an English paper like this it would be marked down. For book writing though, I have mixed opinions. If it's in dialogue, then it would probably be okay but you could also replace it with:

"Is that what you call talking and stuff?" He yelled at the top of his lungs, face red and nearly steaming.

As long as it gets the message across I think it's fine. If you think the !? portrays the tone better than the added text, then go with the !?.

Not sure if there are some rules on this kind of things in books so if someone finds those please comment them below. But overall, I'd recommend following the rules if you find any, and as long as you get the point across I see no reason it would be bad.


Question mark + exclamation mark is a relatively common combination of punctuation marks, although usually it is written with the question mark first "?!" There is even a proposed new merged punctuation mark covering this. It's called the "interrobang," and you can find it in some fonts (although I've never actually seen it used "in the wild").

You should be aware that it's considered relatively informal and slangy. You see it frequently, for instance, in comic books. It's rare in serious literature, or academic writing, where even unadorned exclamation marks are used only sparingly. I doubt it would be considered out of place, however, in a romance novel, or any other work of mass-market fiction.


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