Listen, I've heard the arguments against exclamation points.
Exclamation can set off spam filters worse than the word "freebie."
There are at least 6 guidelines for using them, but probably more.
Your choice of punctuation says a lot about your personality and frankly, we are all judging you for it. Are you a dash person? An Oxford comma lover? Or are you one of those sick parentheses people?
It's all useless though, because exclamation points are going to ruin us all and it's already happening. We should therefore accept our fate as a dystopian society ruined by exclamation points.
In short: People have a lot of feelings about exclamation points.
Mainly, people seem to really hate them.
Well, guess what? I have feelings too and they are about how much I love exclamation points.
I do! I love them! Have you noticed? Besides the dash, exclamation points are my favorite! They indicate to you that I am a happy person! And excited! And maybe shocked!
A professional grammarian, which I didn't know was a thing but it totally is, has said that exclamation points are rapidly becoming "mandatory" so you aren't misconstrued on the internet -- but also points out, in the same breath, that exclamation points are "juvenile."
My journalism professor in college hated exclamation points, even when used ironically.
Exclamation points are potentially one of the most questioned pieces of punctuation, except for perhaps Oxford commas, but the beliefs about them tend to be incredibly personal rather than grammar-based. Some people just hate exclamation points. Some people also hate dogs for no reason and I also do not trust those people.
True, some people will argue their anti-exclamation point attitude is based on grammar. The exclamation point, grammar rules state, is to be used only in certain situations, such as expressing surprise. Mainly, exclamation points are something that is heard and so, in writing, they can look like too much. They are basically the punctuation embodiment of Nicki Minaj.
But that shouldn't stop us from using them.
As our world increasingly turns to the written word -- think about it, how much do people write on a daily basis now through email, text message, Facebook, Twitter? -- we rely more and more on punctuation to determine tone. Here's an example:
- But with our new technology, you can do anything.
- But with our new technology, you can do anything!
I don't know about you, but I don't trust anything being sold to me by that first sentence. They sound bored. Now that second sentence, I want whatever that is selling. They sound fun!
On a more serious note, work emails can be very, very easily misinterpreted. Your boss sounds angry because they are writing short sentences and using periods. It might not be what they intended, but that's how it looks. You panic. Did I forget to send them something? Oh god, oh no.
You get a same email with an exclamation point at the end and the tone changes. It might sound more urgent, but in some cases, it might clear up what they're saying; they might be busy or excited about something.
Exclamation points express shock, surprise, urgency, and jokes. Exclamation points give you some kind of ability to tell what your boss, or your mom, or your best friend, really means in their email -- rather than just blindly assuming they are being 100% serious.
As that professional grammarian said, punctuation is becoming the way we interpret what people write on the internet. Plain text will never be able to convey sarcasm to most people (sarcasm is very easy to assume in most cases, but some people still have a difficult time with this -- I mean, look how many people think the Onion posts real articles), nor will it ever get your tone correct. Only through punctuation can we do that.
Exclamation points are an important part of writing. All the hate is unnecessary -- it's like disliking cheerleaders for their pep. Yeah, it can be annoying, but just imagine cheerleaders lazily shouting on the sidelines. That's a world without exclamation points. Personally, I want a world with them.