Thursday 24 May 2012


Do you remember that perfume advert?


I do.

A few weeks ago I happened to look at my last few online interactions and noticed I have almost completely abandoned the full stop in favour of the exclamation mark. If I want to create more emphasis, apparently I now hold my finger down on that button, to create a slightly psychopathic posse of exclamation marks (what is the collective term for exclamation marks anyway - a shriek?). If you have never met me before, you would be forgiven for thinking I am an over-excited toddler with its head permanently submerged in a bowl of Skittles.

Consequently, I have given up exclamation marks.

At first I slipped up almost constantly, generally when responding to people online. It's hard to sound likeable without exclamation marks. Everything you type sounds like Eeyore is saying it.

"Brilliant. Can't wait to see you on Saturday."

How very sarcastic. Yeah, I can't wait to see you on Saturday, and I also can't wait to poke my own eyes out with a rusted spoon.

So I have taken to using the methadone of exclamation marks - the smiley face. It's not pretty, it's not clever, but it will tide me over until I can work out a way to communicate with people without coming across as a total bitch.

The only real bonus I've discovered is that when you say something genuinely funny without an exclamation mark, it makes you sound all droll and witty rather than like a prat who is laughing at their own joke. Unfortunately this has only happened perhaps one time (or, on reflection, maybe half a time) since I gave up my favourite punctuation mark nearly a week ago.

When I finally reinstate my Ex-Cla-Maaaa-tion, I hope to use it sensibly and abuse it no longer.

Feel free to SHIFT+1 it up in the comments, my will is iron.


  1. I made this vow about a month ago. It's not going well. I've managed to reduce my usage, slightly. I think I'm still in denial about the scale of my problem if I'm honest - "it's just the occasional one, I CAN HANDLE IT" *accidentally binges !!!!!!!!*

    You know what would be really helpful in this battle? A sarcasm font. Someone needs to invent one ASAP!

    1. Maybe we need to create sarcasm in the way we use * to denote an activity....

      *discovers new way to express sarcasm*

      %I'm just LOVING this government we have right now%

      No? No. Back to the drawing board....


  2. This made me laugh (because of the lack of ! you came across very droll). I too, find that I use exclamation marks all the time, and it bothers me. It's especially bad in emails to friends when I want to sound pleased about something, or when I am telling a funny story. I often have to go back through the email to change every second ! to a . I always remeber being told not to use exclamation marks in work emails or work documents as it makes you sound jokey, but it's really hard not to sound too dull. (!)

    1. I can never tell how much of it is in the writer's head (the sounding dull)... I can promise you it does become easier to tell when you ought to be using them once you've given them up though. The extraneous ones will be a thing of the past (I hope....)