In which I break up with the exclamation point

16 Jul

I know better. I know it’s bad for me. I know it’s meaningless and if you need to use it, it’s just a crutch.

I was taught this. Journalism prof after journalism prof lamented the silly exclamation point, and I drank their Kool-Aid, and I saw that, in this case, they were right. Oh, so right.

But then came social media. Then came blogging. Then came communicating in a way that makes it really difficult to show tone, to show to vocal inflection, to show excitement.

Thus, this!! Became!! Totally!! The way!!! I talk!!! Woot!!!


Listen, Mr. Exclamation Point: I think you’re lame. I don’t think you add anything to communication except to make the writer appear to be hyped up on crack. If I am excited, my words need to showcase that. If they do not, I am doing a poor job as a writer.

So this is my Dear John letter. I’m going to quit you, you stupid piece of punctuation. I don’t use you in the stories I write for the newspaper, and I will stop using you in social media.

Refusing to use you does not mean I’m in a bad mood or taking a light-hearted topic too seriously, as I have feared others would think in the past. No, refusing to use you means I’m a grown up, dammit. And you’re just too immature for me.

Even as I type this, I just responded to an instant message with, “Wonderful!!!” Proving that there is, in fact, an exception to every rule. Because when a friend tells you his mother-in-law just came out of surgery and has no sign of cancer, it requires a three exclamation point response.

Him telling me he’s really liking his new shoes? Not so much.


4 Responses to “In which I break up with the exclamation point”

  1. Ally July 16, 2012 at 1:47 pm #

    I need to break up with the exclamation point. I a really bad way. I do!! Really!! lol
    Hmmm, I should probably break up with “lol”, too.

    • Jaclyn July 16, 2012 at 1:58 pm #

      Somehow, I’ve never done the “lol” thing. If I truly do laugh at something online, I typically respond with “real laugh.” I have no idea why … I think part of it is when I see someone has typed “lol,” I imagine him or her at her desk, completely stone-faced and not even cracking a smile.

      • Phase Three of Life July 17, 2012 at 4:52 pm #

        Ok, I thought my hubby and I were the only people on the planet who don’t use “lol.” You know what I hate about “lol”? The fact that people use it as punctuation. Like, “The movie was so funny lol” and “I could really use a beer lol” Lol is not the end to a sentence. That’s what a period is for.

        Instead, I tend to use “haha.” Which… I guess really isn’t any better. Harumph.

      • Jaclyn July 17, 2012 at 4:54 pm #

        You know, I use smiley faces the way you use lol: as punctuation. Maybe I need to give that up next. But not yet. I’m just not ready.

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