Superfluous punctuation

Image: Boston Globe

Are your email and text messages overloaded with exclamation points?  Do you sometimes find yourself writing or reading questions that end with an exclamation point! (sic!)

A few years back a parishioner gently drew my attention to the fact that my emails were overpopulated by exclamation points.  Since then I've been aware of this bad habit and have tried (with varying degrees of success) to limit this particular punctuation mark in my messages.

My guess is that when writing brief messages we add an extra dollop of punctuation (!!! or ???) to fill in the intensity our text seems to be missing.

Great article in today's Boston Globe - take a look.  (Just had to restrain myself again.)  (And again...)


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  1. I couldn't help smiling at this. I work in our congregation's communications office and receive articles from our sisters for publication in our internal newsletter or on our intranet. I'm constantly deleting "extra" exclamation points and changing bold or italics or a combination of both from articles.

  2. I plead guilty...SOOOO guilty.

  3. As someone who specializes in digital strategy and has been writing web content for over a decade, I've noticed how the norms for punctuation have changed as technology is increasingly used for quick communications.

    While emoticons are still verboten for serious communication, "extra" exclamation points have become necessary to stress emotion/sentiment when text is brief (e.g., tweets)...but really, no more than two!! Three is really over the top!!!

  4. It's the em dash I suffer from....and perhaps an overuse of the ellipsis?

  5. My name is Fran and I suffer from em dash, ellipsis and exclamation overuse.

    Thanks for this. (resisting urge to add, well - um - exclamation points! I mean, exclamation points.)

  6. HAHAHAHAHAHA...love it!!!!!!!


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