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Exclamation Marks!!

By Judy Vorfeld

Are you one of those peo­ple who hates punc­tu­a­tion? Or per­haps you love it. So much that you may, pos­si­bly, overuse it????? Especially the excla­ma­tion mark!!!! Read on, and maybe you’ll change your mind or shift your view …

Exclamations: sharp or sud­den utter­ance that can be a word, phrase, or sen­tence. They have to be under­stood in con­text, and can’t be fully under­stood on their own. Let’s dis­cuss those that might be used in busi­ness cor­re­spon­dence or busi­ness situations.

When writ­ing copy in let­ters, ads, or on your Web site, go easy on excla­ma­tions. They’re overused and often bor­ing. Examples:

The One-Minute Millionaire!!!!!
Reach Your Dreams in Seven Days!!
Get Rich in 72 Hours or Your Money Back!!!!!!
Future Millionaires, It’s TIME!!
You CAN Win the Lottery! Trust me!!!

Try using just one excla­ma­tion point after an excla­ma­tion. It’s all that is nec­es­sary. It may not be easy at first, but you can do it!!

Professor Charles Darling says that if an excla­ma­tion mark is part of an ital­i­cized or under­lined title, make sure that the excla­ma­tion mark is also ital­i­cized or under­lined. Further, he says, “(Do not add a period after such a sen­tence that ends with the title’s excla­ma­tion mark. The excla­ma­tion mark will also suf­fice to end the sen­tence.) If the excla­ma­tion mark is not part of a sentence-ending title, don’t ital­i­cize the excla­ma­tion mark:

I’ve asked you not to sing la Marseillaise!

“Hear, hear!” is used as an excla­ma­tion to show great approval. You use this type of a phrase when applaud­ing a dynamic speaker or per­former. Some peo­ple mis­tak­enly write, “Here, here!” but if you remem­ber that it means, “Listen, lis­ten!” you’ll write it properly.

SUMMARY: There’s a time and place for excla­ma­tions and excla­ma­tion points. Avoid over sat­u­ra­tion; use them lightly and with grace. Except per­haps for Yahoo! Which is a legit­i­mate busi­ness name.


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