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There’s a new punctuation mark in town. The SarcMark is the brainchild of US based company Sarcasm, Inc. Its purpose, as the name suggests, is to show sarcasm in the written word. The question is, do we need it?

The SarcMark is in a similar category to the smiley – that ‘handy’ little device that can make even the most serious of messages sound jolly (ie, we regret to inform you that your account is in arrears ). 

But is this good writing, or the end of the English language as we know it? After all, the written word and – indeed satire – has been around for a long time without needing to resort to new punctuation marks to get the meaning across. Surely it’s a matter of subtlety, nuance and carefully crafted words – the stuff of great literature!

Well, maybe. But we live in a world of quick-fix texts and rushed emails sent from the train. For many, life revolves around hurriedly tapped-out missives and most people don’t have the time to think long and hard about every word. And we all know the feeling of writing an email that was intended to be warm and friendly but was horribly misconstrued by the recipient.

So while the important things we write – to customers, clients, colleagues – really should be carefully pondered and perfectly executed – for the day-to-day functional stuff, maybe a new punctuation mark would be handy. No, really ;-)