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    Thursday
    Nov042010

    I'm So Excited!!!!

     

    Ah, the exclamation point. It's arguably one of the most overused and abused punctuation marks out there. Authors are fond of sprinkling them throughout their books willy-nilly, with no regard for how often they're used or if what the author is saying is actually exciting. Consider the following paragraph as an example

    I love ice cream! It tastes so good!!! I wish I could eat it every day! Don't you wish you were eating some right now?! Vanilla is the best! Or maybe strawberry! Go get me some right now!!!!

    Now there's no doubt that ice cream is great. In fact, why don't you go get me some right now. I'll wait.

    The problem is that when you overuse the exclamation point to this extent, you dilute its effectiveness. It's much better to save it for when something really exciting happens so it still packs a bit of a punch when you do use it.

    The overuse of the exclamation point can be pretty comical when its used to the extreme. I recently edited a children's book that had this problem. Almost every sentence in the book ended in an exclamation point, and in some cases multiple exclamation points. It was very exciting! There were rocks! And they were brown! The characters went places! And did stuff! Isn't that neat!!!

    If you're unsure of when to use an exclamation point, a skilled freelance editor can show you when to get really excited and when to tone it down a bit. As this video shows, there are times when an exclamation point is appropriate and needed. (Sorry for the Swedish subtitles!)

     

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