Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. If I Were Your Writing Coach, I’d Take Away Your Exclamation Point

 

Exclamation point abuse! It happens to far too many writers! It seems they just can’t help themselves!

Okay, look, you get one exclamation point per year or per book. That’s it. And I just used up my three-year allotment. Unless you are illustrating a point of a character who always seems to be in exclamatory mode, a character who is a joke and a punchline, then you might use more exclamation points to show what an idiot he is. Otherwise, just don’t. Exclamation points should be treated like saffron: Just a few bits go a very long way.

Published in Group Writing
This post was promoted to the Main Feed by a Ricochet Editor at the recommendation of Ricochet members. Like this post? Want to comment? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Get your first month free.

There are 100 comments.

Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.
  1. Gary Robbins Reagan

    What!!!

    • #1
    • September 23, 2020, at 5:13 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  2. Gary Robbins Reagan

    Did I use up my annual quota with my post “Florida, Florida, Florida!”? https://ricochet.com/804966/florida-florida-florida/

    • #2
    • September 23, 2020, at 5:14 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  3. CB Toder aka Mama Toad Member
    CB Toder aka Mama ToadJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Okay… but don’t touch my elipses…

    • #3
    • September 23, 2020, at 5:15 PM PDT
    • 15 likes
  4. cirby Member

    One of my supporting characters is a very punctuation-heavy sort of girl.

    Everything she says is either exclamation pointed, question marked, or run-on sentenced to death. With in-universe commentary by the other characters about her speech patterns.

     

    • #4
    • September 23, 2020, at 5:17 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  5. Percival Thatcher
    PercivalJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    I get as many as I want. I just don’t want many.

    • #5
    • September 23, 2020, at 5:19 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  6. Arahant Member
    Arahant

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    Did I use up my annual quota with my post “Florida, Florida, Florida!”? https://ricochet.com/804966/florida-florida-florida/

    Annual? No. Lifetime? YES! 😜

    • #6
    • September 23, 2020, at 5:20 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  7. Gary Robbins Reagan

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    Did I use up my annual quota with my post “Florida, Florida, Florida!”? https://ricochet.com/804966/florida-florida-florida/

    Annual? No. Lifetime? YES! 😜

    You have made * very, very happy.

    • #7
    • September 23, 2020, at 5:20 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  8. Arahant Member
    Arahant

    CB Toder aka Mama Toad (View Comment):

    Okay… but don’t touch my elipses…

    I have to admit to ellipsis abuse on my own part.

    • #8
    • September 23, 2020, at 5:21 PM PDT
    • 9 likes
  9. cirby Member

    Arahant (View Comment):

    CB Toder aka Mama Toad (View Comment):

    Okay… but don’t touch my elipses…

    I have to admit to ellipsis abuse on my own part.

    That’s my worst writing habit, and I’ve been trying to murder it for quite some time. After a writing session, I do a search for ellipses and act accordingly.

     

    • #9
    • September 23, 2020, at 5:23 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  10. Arahant Member
    Arahant

    cirby (View Comment):

    One of my supporting characters is a very punctuation-heavy sort of girl.

    Everything she says is either exclamation pointed, question marked, or run-on sentenced to death. With in-universe commentary by the other characters about her speech patterns.

    That is an appropriate usage.

    Seriously, besides Gary’s Florida post, I have seen this recently in a couple of works of fiction. Exclamation points really should be fairly rare. One might go with an “Oh my God! Where’d that dinosaur come from?” But in general conversation using them to show that someone is enthusiastic is making a mountain out of a mole hill. There are other ways to show it. Unless it’s a character like that or a T. rexnado, avoid them.

    • #10
    • September 23, 2020, at 5:26 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  11. Vance Richards Member
    Vance RichardsJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    Did I use up my annual quota with my post “Florida, Florida, Florida!”? https://ricochet.com/804966/florida-florida-florida/

    I mean, how often do we get use the word juxtaposition?

    • #11
    • September 23, 2020, at 5:26 PM PDT
    • 8 likes
  12. Hoyacon Member

    Is there a lifetime quota on exclamation points no matter the type of writing?

    Please don’t say zero.

    Go Celtics!

    • #12
    • September 23, 2020, at 5:26 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  13. Guruforhire Member

    Cold dead hands

    • #13
    • September 23, 2020, at 5:28 PM PDT
    • 10 likes
  14. Arahant Member
    Arahant

    Vance Richards (View Comment):
    I mean, how often do we get use the word juxtaposition?

    More like inspiration. 😁

    • #14
    • September 23, 2020, at 5:34 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  15. Arahant Member
    Arahant

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    Is there a lifetime quota on exclamation points no matter the type of writing?

    Please don’t say zero.

    Go Celtics!

    There are certain situations where they are always appropriate.

    War eagle!

    • #15
    • September 23, 2020, at 5:36 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  16. Hoyacon Member

    I’d rather ban those who call it an “exclamation mark.” 

    • #16
    • September 23, 2020, at 5:42 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  17. Arahant Member
    Arahant

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    I’d rather ban those who call it an “exclamation mark.”

    I don’t know. Now that I think about it, a character named Mark who exclaimed all the time would have a built-in name.

    • #17
    • September 23, 2020, at 5:46 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  18. Michael S. Malone Contributor

    Arahant:

    Exclamation point abuse! It happens to far too many writers! It seems they just can’t help themselves!

    Okay, look, you get one exclamation point per year or per book. That’s it. And I just used up my three-year allotment. Unless you are illustrating a point of a character who always seems to be in exclamatory mode, a character who is a joke and a punchline, then you might use more exclamation points to show what an idiot he is. Otherwise, just don’t. Exclamation points should be treated like saffron. Just a few bits go a very long way.

    I teach my professional writing students that they should never put an exclamation point in their exposition. That it is insulting to the reader to tell him or her how to react to what they are reading. That the only time to use a “!” is in a direct quote when someone is shouting or screaming.

    • #18
    • September 23, 2020, at 5:51 PM PDT
    • 9 likes
  19. Arahant Member
    Arahant

    Michael S. Malone (View Comment):
    I teach my professional writing students that they should never put an exclamation point in their exposition. That it is insulting to the reader to tell him or her how to react to what they are reading. That the only time to use a “!” is in a direct quote when someone is shouting or screaming.

    Exactly.

    • #19
    • September 23, 2020, at 5:58 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  20. Mark Camp Member

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    I’d rather ban those who call it an “exclamation mark.”

    I don’t know. Now that I think about it, a character named Mark who exclaimed all the time would have a built-in name.

    And does. But my close friends call me question mark.

    • #20
    • September 23, 2020, at 5:59 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  21. Boss Mongo Member

    Guruforhire (View Comment):

    Cold dead hands!

    FIFY.

     

    • #21
    • September 23, 2020, at 6:01 PM PDT
    • 17 likes
  22. SkipSul Coolidge
    SkipSulJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Arahant (View Comment):

    CB Toder aka Mama Toad (View Comment):

    Okay… but don’t touch my elipses…

    I have to admit to ellipsis abuse on my own part

    FIFY

    • #22
    • September 23, 2020, at 6:05 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  23. Arahant Member
    Arahant

    Mark Camp (View Comment):
    But my close friends call me question mark.

    Much better than being an Exclamation Mark.

    • #23
    • September 23, 2020, at 6:07 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  24. SkipSul Coolidge
    SkipSulJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    I see you are having a lot of fun with these grammatical posts! Good for you! Did you know that exclamatory punctuation can also indicate sarcasm!?! Like in the infamous 2016 campaign of ¡Jeb! – we all knew he didn’t mean it when he was running! But would you say that USING ALL CAPS AS WELL AS EXCLAMATION POINTS IS DOUBLE-PLUS SHOUTING¡?! I’VE never been ENTIRELY CLEAR on this POINT!

    • #24
    • September 23, 2020, at 6:08 PM PDT
    • 10 likes
  25. SkipSul Coolidge
    SkipSulJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Michael S. Malone (View Comment):

    Arahant:

    Exclamation point abuse! It happens to far too many writers! It seems they just can’t help themselves!

    Okay, look, you get one exclamation point per year or per book. That’s it. And I just used up my three-year allotment. Unless you are illustrating a point of a character who always seems to be in exclamatory mode, a character who is a joke and a punchline, then you might use more exclamation points to show what an idiot he is. Otherwise, just don’t. Exclamation points should be treated like saffron. Just a few bits go a very long way.

    I teach my professional writing students that they should never put an exclamation point in their exposition. That it is insulting to the reader to tell him or her how to react to what they are reading. That the only time to use a “!” is in a direct quote when someone is shouting or screaming.

    Some professional writing is shouting and screaming! (natch) At least for the paid flacks that inhabit Twitter.

    • #25
    • September 23, 2020, at 6:10 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  26. Arahant Member
    Arahant

    SkipSul (View Comment):
    ¡JEB!

    ¡FTFY!

    • #26
    • September 23, 2020, at 6:12 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  27. Arahant Member
    Arahant

    SkipSul (View Comment):
    I see you are having a lot of fun with these grammatical posts.

    Sure. Why not?

    • #27
    • September 23, 2020, at 6:13 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  28. SkipSul Coolidge
    SkipSulJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Vance Richards (View Comment):

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    Did I use up my annual quota with my post “Florida, Florida, Florida!”? https://ricochet.com/804966/florida-florida-florida/

    I mean, how often do we get use the word juxtaposition?

    I’ve noticed a few such instances here over the years.

    • #28
    • September 23, 2020, at 6:17 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  29. CB Toder aka Mama Toad Member
    CB Toder aka Mama ToadJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    CB Toder aka Mama Toad (View Comment):

    Okay… but don’t touch my elipses…

    Oops… ellipsis abuse above (I misspelled the word ellipses)…ellipses abuse? ellipsis abuse? do I overuse the question mark?

    • #29
    • September 23, 2020, at 6:24 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  30. CarolJoy, Thread Hijacker Coolidge

    Just you go ahead and try it, Buster…

    !!!!!!!!!!

    • #30
    • September 23, 2020, at 6:26 PM PDT
    • 8 likes
    • This comment has been edited.