Attack of the Exclamaniacs!


Hello!

I just thought I’d quickly write something! I hope you like it!

I’m not sure if you have noticed, as I have, that some folks, particularly work colleagues, love to use the exclamation mark!

All the time!

Sometimes they’re doing it to add some humour and levity to an email!

And other times, they’re doing to show some annoyance and add gravity to a serious point!

The trouble is, it’s not always obvious which is which! So you end up with a perception of a manic, shouty voice, devoid of any real emotion! I find myself reading with my eyebrows permanently raised in anticipation of a punchline or outburst that never comes! Reading this stuff is hard work!

Of course, sometimes, the writer has genuine desire to resort to an exclamation mark for a particular statement, but with every sentence ending with one, they are faced with a problem! This problem is easily solved, just by using multiple exclamation marks!!!!! The more amused/angry the writer feels, the greater the quantity of exclamation marks added to the single default specimen, so they start multiplying!!!!!!!!!!!! It’s a kind of quantitative exclamation mark!!!!

This issue has serious ramifications! On several occasions, emails from colleagues have had to be answered with a phone call, as exclamation marks were so prevalent, it was hard to tell whether one was dealing with anger or excitement! Or worse, a combination of the two!

In fact, a friend of mine is currently dealing with a solicitor! And this solicitor has become so aware of the perils of the liberally distributed exclamation mark that he has banned his staff from using them at all! So now, when they want to stress a particular point, or to assign importance to a particular sentence, they must do so through using an appropriate choice of words! Words, I tell you!

It’s almost as if the exclamation mark has become the anti-biotic of the English language! It is used indiscriminately as a cure-all for whichever ailment of expression we face! Yet the more it is used, the less effective it becomes, until we find ourselves massively overdosing, ruining our health and feeling none of the intended benefit!

This isn’t the worst of it, though. What technique do you notice when the growing hordes of exclamaniacs want to ask a question?!?!?!?!?!?!?

About Clive Andrews

- digital and social - - training and consultancy -
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6 Responses to Attack of the Exclamaniacs!

  1. Darragh says:

    possibly one of the most difficult blog posts I’ve ever had to read. I’m grand with spelling mistakes that haven’t been spotted or aren’t glaringly obvious but bloody exclamation marks on “official” documents or press releases are just wrong.

    when they want to stress a particular point, or to assign importance to a particular sentence, they must do so through using an appropriate choice of words

    I think this should be taught in schools.

  2. Imran Anwar says:

    We all make typos, (don’t we!!??) and we all can let slip grammar errors (besides specific grammar mistakes that we may not even know we make all the time).

    But, besides faux excitement raising “!!” tools, my pet peeve is people in stadia (stadiums 😉 ) holding up signs saying “YOUR THE BEST”!!!!!

    What do you think????!!! 🙂

    Imran
    Live, Forever – http://neternity.org

  3. smackymcgee says:

    Guilty as charged. Sorry about all those exclamation marks! It’s been pointed out to me before, but I am truly repentant now. Is there a rehab program!?

  4. From out of nowhere comes a voice you’ve never heard of. I found your link on Twitter via Grammar Girl.

    I’m in complete agreement re exclamation points. May I add that their overuse leads to invisibility? It’s like when you hear the same 4 letter swear word in movies over and over. Pretty soon, you become so inured to it that it loses its effectiveness. So it is with the overuse of exclamation points.

  5. Working Girl says:

    Also guilty.

    With everything I write I have to go back and remove explanation marks. Everything. I don’t know why I put them in in the first place. It’s a tic.

    Explanation marks, like adverbs, tend to weaken writing. Ironic because I think we use them to strengthen our points!

    Oops.

  6. Amanda says:

    This is very amusing to me, as I find myself using exclamation points constantly in emails too. I’m an excited gal, what can I say?

    I understand the point of this blog post was to overuse the exclamation point and illustrate how annoying it is – you certainly did a good job of that – but I must say that I don’t think I would go overboard like that in an email! LOL. I wrote about this myself once too… http://amanda-vera.blogspot.com/2008/02/i-exclaim.html

    And you missed an exclamation point in this post – one sentence ends in a period!.

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