Whenever 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!!
Or perhaps when you’re written in a love note!!
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=”” ][/amazon_link] by Lynne Truss and the old stand-by The Elements of Style [amazon_link id=”0205313426″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ][/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?