Last week, my friend Jen posted on Facebook about her company’s policy on using exclamation points. She is being limited to one per email and it’s kind of a drag for her. To me, it’s sound grammatical policy that I applaud heartily. (Heartily!)
Yes, I kind of discriminate against exclamation marks.
Of course, I use them. But more often than not, when I am editing or commenting on clients’ content, it’s delete, delete, delete. Especially multiples. (See headline. Don’t do that.)
I’ve climbed on this particular soap box before, in an earlier iteration of this blog. So enjoy this flashback to a Well Said Wednesday from 2010:
My dear friend and content coaching client Andrea Herran sent me a link to a blog post about exclamation points. I was fond of striking them from her text as I edited her Focus HR website content.
The essential questions in the Authentic Organizations blog post were this: are exclamation points unprofessional, do they corrode the credibility of women and did the writer really care or not? You can read it here.
I don’t have a problem with exclamation points in general. They serve a purpose and give writers the ability to use their authentic voice when writing, which I always advocate for myself and all the business owners and content makers I work with.
However, I do have an issue with exclamation points used in bulk (and I believe that ending three out of four sentences that way is the very definition of “bulk.”) It makes your writing start to sound breathless and vaguely like an infomercial. Act now! Limited time offer! Operators are waiting! The blanket that has sleeves!
So go ahead and use an exclamation point now and then. Moderation is the key here, just as it annoyingly is in all good things. Just don’t use multiples. There is no excuse for ending any sentence or headline with !!!! unless you are a fourteen-year-old girl trying to convey just how cute that boy in your homeroom is and you agree to dotting all your I’s with hearts.