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Exclamation mark – friend or foe?

April 24, 2012 2 comments

Did you notice something unusual about the title of this post?  There was no exclamation mark.  (And you have no idea how hard it was to stop myself putting one on that last sentence.  I nearly had to sit on my hands.)

 There’s something so irritating about the over-use of exclamation marks.  But so many people do it.  When was in marketing, one of the copywriters I worked with seemed addicted to them.  My boss and I spend ages taking them all out every time she wrote copy for us.

 But what is it that is so annoying about exclamation marks?  Is it because they dare to tell you what’s exciting or funny, as if you, the reader, can’t make up your own mind?  Is it because they’re too distracting?  Or that they just take up too much room on the page? 

And why is it just exclamation marks that exasperate me?  I don’t feel the same about full stops, or question marks or even semi-colons?  I’m really not sure.

The biggest question for me is this.  Why, when I find liberal use of exclamation marks so irritating, do I find myself over-using them?

 I resolve to do better in future – starting with this entirely exclamation mark free post.

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