Sunday, April 26, 2009

Love it! (Exclamation point intentional.)

Have emails, texts and tweets cheapened the friendly exclamation point? SF Chron columnist John Diaz thinks so. Read his column from the Sunday Chron here, where he makes a bunch of witty points about the power of the point -- when we use it for the right reasons.

Here's just a taste:

What I bemoan is the cheapening of the exclamation mark in all forms of written communication. For the past half century, Strunk and White's classic little primer, "The Elements of Style," has provided students with a north star to clear writing. In its simple, straightforward, scolding tone, it admonishes writers to reserve exclamation marks for use after "true exclamations or commands." Or, as many an editor has reminded me over the years in calling for restraint in punctuation or typography: "We have to save something for the Second Coming."

Today, the exclamation mark has become so common that its power has been lost. In fact, it has become so expected in e-mail, texts, Facebook and 140-character Twitter communications that its absence is considered a statement in itself.

1 comment:

Carolyn said...

Hey Professor,

I found this article really interesting and it reminded me of a conversation I was having with my mom the other day. She’s an editor, so naturally my casual e-mails littered with abbreviations, improper grammar, and ellipses rather than actual periods or commas drive her crazy. She was saying that the informal way of writing we all have become so used to in e-mails and texts is really affecting the integrity of the English language. Before I thought she was just nagging me – trying to get me to capitalize and punctuation everything perfectly – but after reading Diaz’s article I think she may be right.