Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Excess Exclamation Points

There's nothing wrong with exclamation points. It's just that they lose all their force when overused.

An example: if you use an exclamation point in two consecutive sentences, neither sentence carries any incremental force. In other words, both sentences will be equally loud, and loudness--in writing, music and speech--is entirely relative.

I just made this recipe and it was incredible! I added extra salt and took away the cayenne pepper because it was too spicy! It took me only 30 minutes to make! Wow!

Ignore for a moment that this sounds as if it was written by a twelve-year-old, and instead pay attention to the fact that there's no contrast between these sentences. None carries any force.

It goes without saying that writing like this will make your readers (at least the intelligent ones) run screaming from your site.