Did you feel your heart beat a little faster when you read the title?
The Internet has made communicating so easy there is a tendency to disregard grammar. That goes for emails, blogs, and all social media forums. No one is perfect, least of all me, but I see an irritating pattern—the overuse of exclamation marks.
In emails, there isn’t an easy way to convey emotions, inflection of voice or sarcasm. Messages can be easily misinterpreted since you have little control over how it’s read. The use of smiley faces, acronyms such as ROFL, LOL, LMAO, and bolding words for emphasis all help to express a thought more clearly. When someone uses all uppercase letters, I imagine them screaming their entire message at me.
When a sentence is followed by an exclamation mark, I read it as if the person is cheerfully declaring their message. Two exclamation marks indicate the person is so animated they are falling out of their chair. Three exclamations mean they’re practically having an orgasm. Really? Is that true? Somehow I doubt it.
The saying, “Less is more” applies in the case of exclamation marks. One will suffice; forming a small army of them to assault your reader is unnecessary. It’d be like the boy who cried exclamation mark. If you use it all the time, people will soon realize you have nothing to exclaim.
Perhaps the advent of electronic communication makes it necessary to insert exclamations – to alleviate the boredom. Emails, direct messages, comments can seem lifeless without them.
All right, I’ll give you that, but can we keep it to a dull roar and just use one exclamation mark per sentence? Thanks!