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Admittedly, I am guilty of using too many exclamation points in my personal emails and text messages. I do try to avoid them in the email messages that I write to students and my colleagues, however.
I have been even more self-conscious about exclamation points since my summer school class had a discussion about what you should and shouldn’t do in email messages at work. Turns out, there are some pretty strong feelings about whether to use exclamation points at all, where to use them if you must, who you can use them with, and exactly how to use them.
I thought it might be fun this week to share some of the resources the class explored as background readings for the discussion:
- Exclamation Points, by Mignon Fogarty (Grammar Girl) offers an excerpt from David Crystal’s Making a Point
- How Many Exclamation Points Do Great Writers Use?! by Elmore Leonard, on The Atlantic website
- What Overusing Exclamation Points Says about You, from the BBC website
- After Years Of Restraint, A Linguist Says ‘Yes!’ To The Exclamation Point, from Fresh Air
- Do You Really Need That Exclamation Point? from Hubspot
- Avoiding Exclamation Point Overuse, from the Grammarly blog
Everyone’s favorite was the Hubspot piece. It ends with a somewhat satirical flowchart that suggests you definitely shouldn’t use exclamation points. It’s a fun flowchart, so I want to share it. Click here to see the full-size version.
I particularly like the alternative suggestions included in the flowchart. It goes beyond just telling readers to avoid the exclamation point by telling them what they can do instead. It doesn’t hurt that students found it humorous but truthful as well.
Do you have any fun resources for talking about punctuation in the classroom? Please share them in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you!—exclamation point intended 🙂
Credit: Grumpy Cat meme from Meme Generator
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