Exactly! Some Thoughts on the Exclamation Point.

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Yes! Thanks!! Awesome! Happy Birthday!!! Hope you have a great weekend! As Ecclesiastes 3:1 says, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.” I would like to add to that quote—there is a time for moderate usage of explanation points too!!!

exclamation point

Dating back to my days in middle school when we had to diagram sentences I became fascinated by grammar and punctuation. In fact I became so enamored by the em-dash (—)  in 2014 that I considered it the year of punctuation for myself! This subject of punctuation seems sort of trivial especially in comparison to my more recent writing. While likely true, I still think it is an interesting topic and punctuation is a great conservation starter if you are a nerd like myself!

Personally, I think the exclamation point is an overused and tired punctuation mark. Excessive usage leads to a devaluation of its intent at accentuating a statement or fact. In rare cases exclamation marks may lead to relationship troubles! There is a Seinfeld episode where one of the lead characters, Elaine gets into an argument with her boyfriend over his failure to utilize an exclamation mark on a message about her friend having a baby!

grammar police

Obviously the above situation is an outlier, but I do think ripple effects occur due to a saturated use of the exclamation point!

  1. Urgency of a message is lost: In the Seinfeld example, Elaine’s boyfriend goes on to explain to her that he uses his exclamation points sparingly—unlike her! If every sentence concludes with an exclamation point, the excitement or urgency of a situation is lost. Similar to overprinting money causes loss of value in the dollar, an overuse of a particular punctuation mark causes it to lose its identity.

 

  1. Diversity is Good: Variety is throughout all of nature. Diversity exists in plants, animals, humans, and in non-living items. The same is true with punctuation! Punctuation mark monopoly leads to predictable and boring writing. Think about the next time you read an article or social media post where the writer only uses or overwhelmingly uses exclamation points. How do you react when reading such writing? I tend to get a little anxious at the surplus of exclamation points! There are intimidating!!!

Now you may be wondering how many exclamation points I have used in this post?! I have purposely tried to overuse this mark to try to make my point!  “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens (Ecclesiastes 3:1). That is definitely true for using exclamation points!!!! The answer the question about how many exclamation marks I used today it is—thirty-one [if you include the picture]!

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