Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Exclamation Points!

Most authors shy away from exclamation points because they get that if their sentence has meaning, they don't need to dumb it down by pointing it out!  Also it makes the reader feel like they are being shouted at if you use them often!  But then again, maybe the reader deserves it!  It can also make you feel a little stupid if the author felt the need to use ! to tell you the sentence was important!

In quality writing exclamation points are primarily used in dialog to indicate tone or expression!  Most of us would agree this is the correct usage!  One exception is that kids books use them to show sentences that are more important or weighty than others!  

While that makes sense, I also think we confuse kids with how we teach exclamation points!  As a second/first grade teacher I taught some of the more basic building block types of writing lessons kids get in school!  For my grade levels there were four traits we looked at on a rubric!  Those traits were, Ideas/Content, Organization, Voice, and Conventions!  The rubric went to 4 points total!  My last district put a high emphasis on voice (and then proceeded to teach voice poorly!)  Basically if they didn't have two or more exclamation points, they dropped from a 4 to a 2, which is failing!  

Because, how do you know kids really meant what they wrote if they haven't thrown exclamation points like confetti all over their page?!  Sometimes you could justify it back up to a 3 if you argued a bunch, but according to the rubric it was a two!  So after awhile kids just started ending sentences with them!  If that doesn't get adequately taught out of them later in life they won't know any better!  I don't remember learning the proper usage of them until college!

You may or may not have noticed by now that all of my sentences end with an exclamation point!  That is because everything I'm saying is important and noteworthy!  

One other important note about exclamations is that they are much funnier if you make a long line of them and toss in a 1 here and there like you got really excited while typing them in!!!!!1!!111!

I would ask what you thought about exclamation points here but then my sentence would end in a question mark instead of this guy -->!



  1. LOL- Oh my god,it's amazing what a different a ! makes!!! Felt like you were yelling out this whole post!!!

  2. Exclamation points are much more appropriate in blog comments than in prose, yo!

  3. If that dude from those Verizon commercials a few years ago asks me if I can hear him now, I'd have to say no, and that it's all Chris Phillips's fault!!!!!

  4. I have no problem overusing exclamation marks!

  5. I hope you know this whole post was incredibly exhausting for me to read, because I cannot keep that voice in my head from reading it excitedly. :) As far as formal writing goes, I don't use exclamation marks much, but in emails/blogs/comments I use them more often.

  6. i loved this because i really felt like you were yelling at me the whole time, and by the time i was done reading, i was sorta tired.

    you made an excellent point. or is it an exclamation point? lol :D

  7. yup. i abuse the little guy...
    but mostly while blogging and commenting.

  8. Dude! This is exactly why I always use exclamation points when I comment! Because otherwise they might think I was not enthusiastic about their post! . . . Oh wait, I meant to use periods in this comment . . .

  9. Oh, you don't need exclamation points to emphasize something. Observe:

    "I LIKE CAPITAL LETTERS," he exclaimed loudly.