The Exclamation Mark
A little while ago in the Today program on BBC 4, I fleetingly heard that there was a serious move to restrict the use of the exclamation mark in schools.
Horrors! Not sure if any of you are at all like me, but I reckon I use it far too often.
Let’s see …
The main use of the exclamation mark is to end sentences that express:
An exclamation (!)
To show strong feeling such as anger, surprise, joy etc.
In direct speech that represents something shouted or spoken very loudly ..
Non question sentences beginning with ‘what’, ‘how’
I say, how smashing!
What a great group we are!
Something the writer finds amusing or ironic ..
Health and safety have banned hanging baskets on railway stations!
Or even in brackets ..
He finally(!) got the joke.
Often in quoted speech .. for the above, presumably.
It is to be discouraged in any kind of formal writing. Are we formal writers?
And found mostly in informal writing such as emails and texting. Hence, perhaps, the cautionary note for schools. Exclamation creep!? Sometimes, in Very Informal writing two or three exclamation marks may be used ..
Actually, I find myself reasonably on track in my use. Except that sometimes my emails seem infested with them, and I’m exclaiming all over the place. Bit like Mrs Bennet(!) So they lose their power.
Definitely not cool!!!