Enough with the Exclamation Points!!! Four Uses for the Most Overused Punctuation Enough with the Exclamation Points!!! Four Uses for the Most Overused Punctuation
Culture

Enough with the Exclamation Points!!! Four Uses for the Most Overused Punctuation

by Kyla Fullenwider

November 5, 2010
Somewhere in the first decade of the 21st century people got really excited. Emails and text messages are littered with inappropriate exclamation points from people who, in real life, would never exclaim such a thing as "See you soon!!!!!!!!" or "Yes!!!!!". I mean, really. Are you that excited? (For the record a very unscientific survey of my inbox surfaced the use of twelve exclamation points in one sentence.) Blame it on email, blame it on the Great Recession, blame it on Millenials, blame it on Obama. Whoever's at fault (and we're all guilty) doesn't matter: it's time we review the proper use of the exclamation point before it loses all meaning, or worse, we have to use five exclamation points when we really just need one. 

 I am no grammar expert, just a concerned citizen, so let's first review Webster's definition of an exclamation:

Definition of EXCLAMATION

1: a sharp or sudden utterance

2: vehement expression of protest or complaint

To help us all get back on the same page, as it were, maybe we can all agree on a way to gauge the appropriate amount of exclamation, let's call it an Exclamation Scale.

And may I be so bold to suggest that we eliminate five exclamation points and above all together? If you need to use five exclamation points your house should be on fire or you are in labor-- in both cases you should not be emailing.

Images (cc) via Flickr users romana kleedonnamarijne and chicagogeek

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Enough with the Exclamation Points!!! Four Uses for the Most Overused Punctuation