- Image by tgbarrett via Flickr
I’ve pontificated on punctuation previously. My sojourn into the comma conundrum was cathartic. This time, it is my over-use of the exclamation point in casual correspondence that has become increasingly disturbing to me. Oh, it started innocently enough. I joined Facebook and it seemed the “in” punctuation to use. So I picked up the habit and ran with it. Not an e-mail escaped the send button without an unhealthy dose of the emotionally overcharged “Thank you!” or “Good Morning!” Salutations should be heart-felt, but rarely is there a situation where the addition of six or seven exclamation points is called for. And it didn’t stop there. In my fevered brain it made perfect sense to add dramatic punctuation to such sentences as: “I have a trivial meeting after school today!” or in notes to far away friends, “I miss you!!!!!!”
Now, every time I write “thank you” without an exclamation point, I worry that the person receiving the message will think that my sentiments are lukewarm. Maybe it is my OCD brain that has caused this to become an issue but I swear nowadays when I write an e-mail it is so peppered with that infernal mark that I feel like a raving lunatic!
Addicts always try to blame others first, so here goes: I blame Facebook for initiating this habit. Prior to signing up, I hardly ever used that form of punctuation, even when I felt strongly about something. I was blissfully unaware of my issue while on Facebook because it seemed everyone else was on board with being exclamatory. Since bidding a not-so-fond farewell to that particular social networking scene, it has slowly dawned on me that I have a problem with this punctuation. Right now as I type this it is all I can do not to add a few more in here and there. And as one who loves books, I am quite certain that if I came across a novel that used exclamation points as frivolously as I have, I would think the author mad and discontinue reading. I need help! It is driving me crazy! I suppose it could be worse. Instead of exclamatory, I could be interrogative. How would that go over I wonder? Do I really want to open that can of worms? Should I end this blog here?