Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Excessive punctuation

[Sorry for the short hiatus, folks. I was traveling and moving but not to worry, I'm back and as cranky as ever.]

I get it!!! I really do!!! Srsly!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I know you’re excited or scared or confused or slumped over the keyboard so your ear keeps hitting the question mark key. There’s no need to drive home the point by slapping me in the face with punctuation marks or poking me in the eye with those goddamn extraneous exclamation points.

I’m a big advocate of everything in moderation and yep, that applies to my semicolons. Ever since high school, I figured there was a perfect way to express anything through words. Words. Not punctuation. Spend more time conveying what you mean through language, please, and leave those poor, defenseless exclamation marks alone. What did they ever do to you?

F. Scott Fitzgerald said, “Cut out all those exclamation marks. An exclamation mark is like laughing at your own jokes.” Word, Fitz, word. Can you imagine the difference it would make if he had thrown in one or several exclamation points to his otherwise gorgeous WASPy text, such as when Gatsby describes Daisy?

The original: “Her voice is full of money.”
The icky: “Her voice is full of money!!!”

A beautiful observation becomes the sort of squawking, self-congratulatory promise that a Billy Mays ad delivers. Less is more. Period.

(Art: collectingtokens.wordpress.com)


Michaela said...

!!!!! Yeah!!!!!!

KlevaBich said...

I couldn't agree more!!!

Sorry, couldn't resist. And I do agree. When I see exclamation points used in excess I want to yell "Put down the damned pom-poms and get hold of yourself. It's simply not that astonishing or exciting."

Cameron said...

I think that I would have rather read The Great Gatsby! than just The Great Gatsby. I'll read any book with an exclamation point in the title. It has to be important.

alejna said...

So, how do you feel about large numbers of parentheses? (I ask because I am fond of them. Sometimes I even nest them. (Like this.))

I'm glad you enjoyed my exclamation point image. Thanks for the link!

nancy said...

i stumbled upon you today. this is so true and now i'm going back over my own blogs to make sure i haven't overdone it. merde. i think i may have, on occasion. anyhow, great blog and i look forward to curling up my fist right along with you.

Jeff said...

I think more than one exclamation point should ALMOST NEVER be used. It boils down to the same brain-dead overuse as "lol" and "literally".

Anonymous said...

Bring back the semicolon and lay that poor overused exclamation point to rest. Along with it, the obligatory smiley face, the words 'like', 'literally', 'absolutely' and the majority of the acronymic nonsense that masquerades as communication these days.

Just sayin...

viagra online said...

On times like this, first people are losing the righ way to write and, use to many abreviations and to many simbols for making expressions, the most common is (xD) this one express a laugh suppostly, but is fun when you are talking to a friend.

Unknown said...

Alright I have a question. how would you properly punctuate this within a quote?......"how? Really? no!"......confusing right? These are all voiced one word phrases within one quote. So what may I ask, is the proper punctuation? Or do you suggest complete change?