Be Wary of the Exclamation Mark!
Lynne Truss, in her bestselling
Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation,
says an exclamation mark, "shouts, flashes like neon, and jumps up
and down," and is like a "brother who gets over-excited and breaks
things and laughs too loudly."
Whew! Well, she does agree that
"involuntary ejaculations" (meaning when we say Wow! or Phew! or
some such thing) are okay.
Other reasons to use an
exclamation? To exclaim about something (That's great! or Thanks a
lot!); to salute someone (My friend!); to add drama (That's not
what I meant!); to take something commonplace and emphasize it (I
really want that ice cream!); and lastly, to avoid
misunderstanding when being ironic (I didn't mean it!).
Remember: In the world of
journalism, an exclamation mark is known as a "screamer, a gasper,
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