Last year, my daughter was taught about reading exclamation marks – that is, if she was reading something out loud and saw an exclamation mark, she knew to raise her voice at the end of that sentence.
Today, I was asked how to stop using too many exclamation marks in writing – and I found it an interesting question!
I can’t say how many exclamation marks is too many – it depends on the length of the document and the context, of course. But over use of exclamation marks can cheapen the impact of your message, making it look like hype and unprofessional. An exclamation mark shows a statement as something a bit out of the ordinary – a lot of them and all those statements become ordinary.
If you use exclamation marks because they are fun and help you express yourself, I suggest you still use them as you write – and then go back and remove many of them as you edit. This way, you still have the fun of adding them but can moderate it before anyone else reads your writing.
However, if you use exclamation marks to emphasise your points, perhaps you need more faith in the message and how you present it. A strong statement is strong whether or not you add an exclamation mark.
Here are some ideas for changing your writing to reduce the need for exclamation marks:
Use your words wisely, and you will find less need for exclamation marks!
Have you ever noticed how many unnecessary quotation marks are used?
I once wrote the following as a guest blogger:
Quotation marks seem to be fashionable at the moment, which is a shame as they are being used so badly! “Recommended by doctors and mothers” makes me feel like they are telling me a lie – if it is a genuine statement, why does it need to be in quotation marks?
Quotation marks are correctly used to:
- indicate you are quoting someone
- indicate speech (e.g. He said “How are you?”)
- present a title of something
- show the text lacks credibility or truth, or at least is not verifiable (e.g. The media release stated the product was “superior”)
If you are tempted to use quotation marks for emphasis, try bold, italics, underline, colour, indenting or size of font instead – it will stand out more and not send any incorrect messages!
So I was rather amused when I came across a blog dedicated to silly use of quotation marks. I hope you enjoy seeing these grammatical blunders, as well as getting tips for your own writing!