Tuesday, November 13, 2012


Is it just me, or is the exclamation point making a comeback?  Like many other writers, I've noted that the American ability to write is in sharp decline.  Perhaps email, Twitter, blogging, and even the ubiquitous availability of online commentary (YouTube, etc.) have all contributed to this mish-mash of rotting English.  And there also seems to be a insatiable desire to be heard, especially among those who write the worst. 

No language has ever survived, and no voice has ever been respected, however, simply by using the exclamation point . . . and this seems to be the pride and parlance of most who post.

A cursory glide through any online public forum or interactive web site will bear this out.  Exclamation points abound . . . and the vast majority of comments seem to be written under the assumption that type face, bold format, and other features of the letters themselves (rather than the substance and intellect behind the writing) is communication.

Most of the writing I have seen in the past month are actually feeble attempts to draw readers in through the use of exclamation points and type face . . . the idea that people should read an idea or respect a thought simply because it is there and has five exclamation points after every sentence (here, look at me!!!!!  My idea is important!!!!  You need to read what I've written!!!!!!! ).  

Some actual recent Facebook, email, and blogging posts look like this:

I am going to buy milk at the store!!!!!!
My ****** car won't start!!!!

Beyond pointing out the obvious misuse of the exclamation point (!), I'll just say this to all the young people out there:  Learn how to write well and you'll be light years ahead of the masses (even some in law school, medical school, divinity school and elsewhere) who can't write well.  Bad writing, rotten communication, screaming and yelling as a form of attention, is now wide-spread. Being loud and obnoxious is not the pinnacle of language.  Clear communication is the goal:  the ability to create thought and hone them into words. 

If you can write plainly, simply and to a point, you will be heard.  And people will actually respect what you think.

Otherwise, don't press the SEND button!!!!!!!

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