Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Stop Exclaiming Things!

There is a nasty habit amongst some to use unnecessary punctuation, particularly the exclamation point. This entails two problems:

1) It trivializes celebrity and 2) it can easily act to obfuscate the writer's intentions.

By writing the same thing with an exclamation point one removes much of the ambiguity in the text advancing a restricted reading. This restriction is not a problem in itself, but can often be used because the author does not want to grant the reader any amount of flexibility. "Thanks" alone can be read politely, casually or sarcastically. An exclamation point ("Thanks!" or worse, "Thanks!!!!") requires the reader to restrict the domain to genuine sincerity (unless context promotes a sarcastic reading), which is ideal for masking one's true feelings.

Now I do this all the time when in a professional setting (sending effusive emails to IT for trivial help and adding exclamation points to convey sincerity in order to keep them on my good side), but please avoid doing it for personal stuffs.

P.S. "Happy Birthday" is celebratory enough; must you add an exclamation point?


Yehuda said...

Thanks for this post !?!!

Eli said...

To quote Terry Pratchett:
"Multiple exclamation marks...are a sure sign of a diseased mind."