I have become slightly obsessed with the obsessive use of the exclamation mark in today’s casual correspondence. In fact, last week, I had to ask someone in the studio, “When IS it OK to use this (highly over rated) punctuation mark?”
From The Elements of Style:
Do not attempt to emphasize simple statements by using a mark of exclamation.
It was a wonderful show! It was a wonderful show.
The exclamation mark is to be reserved for use after true exclamations or commands.
What a wonderful show!
Too many exclamation marks make me feel like I am being shouted at… constantly these days. My grandmother always said that “you catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar,” and I believe that is the case here. Calmly made declarations or understatements make a point as readily – and can mean so much more.
Author F. Scott Fitzgerald once advised to “Cut out all those exclamation points. An exclamation point is like laughing at your own jokes,” which makes me think of those overly used sitcom laugh tracks.
I am pretty happy to NOT live my life as a sitcom. You?
xoNatalie (In my ongoing pursuit to eradicate the superfluous exclamation mark.)