Please Read This Important Message!!! by @EdenBaylee
I wrote a similar piece some years back, so I’m plagiarizing my own work with this article.
If you guessed that I’m writing about the overuse of the exclamation mark again—you are correct!!!
The Internet has made communicating so easy there is a tendency to disregard grammar. That goes for texts, emails, blogs, and comments on all social media platforms. In today’s electronic age, the skill to communicate is not only determined by how well we write, but also by how familiar we are with emojis like smiley or sad faces, acronyms like ROFL, LOL, ICYMI, and bolding of words to create emphasis. All these tools are meant to help us express our thoughts more clearly, but have they made us lazy writers in the process?
When someone writes a sentence using all uppercase letters, I imagine them screaming at me. If they also bold it, they’re screaming even louder. If they punctuate the sentence with several exclamation marks … it’s downright deafening.
The Chicago Manual of Style says the exclamation mark “should be used sparingly to be effective.” This seems to follow that historically, it was only used when absolutely necessary to add inflection to a sentence.
I’d also like to add that one will suffice. Forming a small army of exclamation marks to assault your reader is unnecessary. It’d be like the boy who cried exclamation mark. If you use it all the time, people will soon realize you have nothing to exclaim.
Unfortunately, electronic communication has seen a rise in the overuse of the exclamation mark, certainly when writing informally. In this type of conversation, we often rely on crutches to carry meaning—the use of a sad face emoji rather than carefully choosing the right words to express grief. So instead of demonstrating excitement through the meticulous structuring of a sentence, it’s easier to use an exclamation mark – or three or ten for that matter!
While a quick text message to a friend with exclamation marks conveys enthusiasm more quickly than words, the excessive use of them can make a writer appear immature and unsophisticated. It’s important to consider your audience and the context of the message before using exclamation marks as a substitute for well-thought-out language.
What are your thoughts on the exclamation mark? Do you use it rarely or often?
Feel free to share, thanks!