Exclamation Point, How I Love Thee

Exclamation Point How I Love TheeWhenever I’m writing, I try to temper my use of the exclamation point.  It’s very hard for me because I love the exclamation point!!  It shows enthusiasm!!  It’s really me waving my arms trying to get your attention!! I’m saying this is important!!  Oh exclamation point, how I love thee!!

Even when you have mean eyebrows and you’re growling!!

Exclamation Point How I Love Thee

Or perhaps when you’re written in a love note!!

Exclamation Point How Do I Love Thee

Using the exclamation in my writing is me talking with my hands.  That’s how I talk – with my hands constantly moving.  Even while talking on the phone, my kids will snicker at me and whisper, “Stop using your hands to talk.”  But I can’t!!  It’s what I do!!

When you’re really a talker, like me, and you decide to have a blog, it’s hard to suddenly start writing.  I’m not a writer.  Well, I do like to write to-do lists, love letters, and letters to the editor (which sometimes get printed) but really all this “posting” business and pressing the “publish” button has been a big challenge for me.  I’d rather talk and use my hands while doing so.

And yet, there I am writing, typing, filling out an editorial calendar so I can plan my writing.  Then, I’m writing ideas on scraps of paper and those have exclamation points, too, because they’re important!!  Or, I’m awake in the middle of the night because an idea pops into my head and it’s so important, I can’t sleep so I have to write it down.  Since the idea is of such vital importance that its keeping me from sleeping, I simply must use an exclamation point!!  Even in the middle of the night!!

Generally, my editor (my husband) will say to me, “Yeah, that looks good but you’ve got way too many exclamation points in there.”  Geeeeh?  I have to eliminate some?  But what about my arms?  How about when I explained that to you and all of the talking I did with my hands?!!  Don’t those exclamation points equal the arm movements?  The enthusiasm??!!

Nope.  Delete.  Delete.  Delete.

I really enjoy reading grammar books.  My two favorites are Eats, Shoots and Leaves [amazon_link id=”1592400876″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation[/amazon_link] by Lynne Truss and the old stand-by The Elements of Style [amazon_link id=”0205313426″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]The Elements of Style (4th Edition)[/amazon_link] by Strunk and White.

It’s obvious to me why current writing has more exclamation points – it’s a separate button on keyboards.  It wasn’t always like this.  On old typewriters, you have to use the shift button on the number 8 and then back space once and then use the period key.  If I typed everything on a typewriter, my exclamation over-use problems would be solved.  Going through all those steps every time I wanted to add an exclamation point would put a real damper on my exclamation use!!

Well, then I’d have other problems.

What’s your favorite interjection?  Or do you just like semicolons?

Go Gingham related links:

The “Like” Jar
Reading List – last summer
Meet Internet Girl she likes shiny objects and is easily distracted!

16 thoughts on “Exclamation Point, How I Love Thee

  1. Funny!!! I too like exclamations……but I also use dot dot dot perhaps way to much. Because……well, I pause when I talk. I would not call myself a fast talker. I love it when bloggers show their personalities in their writing style with the use of punctuation. Have a great day!!!


  2. Me too!! There are so many times I find myself editing exclamation points! Especially when I’m leaving comments and it seems like I might be yelling the comment at the top of my lungs! I just get so excited!!


  3. Do you remember the Seinfeld episode where Elaine dumped her boyfriend because he didn’t use an exclamation point?! I love exclamation points, too. Besides the exclamation point, I also have to temper my use of smileys. 🙂 Semi-colons and oxford commas are important to me because I’m a former English major/book editor.


    1. Carrie! I’m with you on the smileys 🙂 I had to make a rule for myself with those and it is only in comments. Sometimes I break my own rules though. So, do you like to read about grammar, too? And, I love Seinfeld and do remember that episode. Thanks for leaving a comment.


  4. I loved this post! I too, love the exclamation and often re-read what I have written and feel as if people will think I have had way too much caffeine prior to my writing. So sadly I end up deleting some of the exclamations. My next favorite punctation mark is the semicolon! I probably don’t use it correctly but that doesn’t stop me!!


    1. Darcy, I think you use the semicolon quite nicely. It’s so hard to not use the exclamation point! I just finished a piece for an on-line magazine and am proud to say, there was not a single exclamation point around. You only get that on my blog 🙂 !! Thank you for leaving a comment.


  5. I really like the dash (the … comes in second). When I was in college, a professor reprimanded me for using too many dashes.

    I told him that it worked for Kerouac – or had he not noticed – because it *was* a prominent feature in his writing…

    He told me that I was *not* Kerouac. Sigh…


  6. My favorite grammar book is “Grammar Snobs Are Great Big Meanies – A Guide To Language for Fun and Spite” by June Casagrande. It is hilarious and useful!!!


    1. I need to read that book!!! We listened to it in the car on a road trip – to San Diego! Needless to say, my teens don’t like me quoting her but I loved it. I thought the part about the Simpson’s TV show was great!! Thanks Michelle!!


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