I neglected writing this blog until now; fearing that would perhaps be one of the most controversial subjects that I would cover. It is a sensitive topic for most, and it enrages others. Though it is under neither of the themes of politics or religion, it is still a difficult subject to discuss. Punctuation. The Exclamation Point vs. the Period. Subconsciously, most people have developed a lackadaisical style of writing as a result of social media, blogging, and text messages. However, just because someone purchases a new car does it mean that they do not have to abide by the rules of the road? Overuse of exclamation points is a frustrating phenomenon. In fact, to some readers it is offensive. Your reader feels as if they are being forced to feel what you are feeling, or bullied into taking your stance. Let your words do the work. Several exclamation points within a paragraph is fine, but placing exclamation points at the end of every sentence is not necessary.
Remember how it felt when you unknowingly had food on your face and your coworker looked at you funny the rest of the day? That’s how your reader feels when you overuse exclamation points. They walk away feeling bad for you, fighting back feelings of judgment. This is especially the case with professional emails. I am not an expert, but using a period instead of an exclamation point is not only beneficial for the reader, but it also allows people to trust you. Your reader wants to believe that you are actually excited or passionate when you use the exclamation point. If you use it in every sentence, it is hard to believe that you are really that excited all the time. Though your coworker may not tell you that your slip is showing or your pants are unzipped, I care about you enough to tell you: when in doubt, put a period at the end of that sentence.
“Cut out all these exclamation points. An exclamation point is like laughing at your own joke.”
F. Scott Fitzgerald
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