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  • Writer's pictureVedashree Khambete Sharma

Step Away From That Exclamation Mark, Sir

I hate it. It’s a simple case of loathing something that’s utterly unnecessary and yet irritatingly overexposed. Like Rakhi Sawant.

It’s the typographical equivalent of the super-eager and hence super-annoying distant cousin who comes along on a family vacation and wakes you up at 6 in the morning to go sight-seeing. With a big, bright, happy smile on their face.

And as someone who works in advertising, it is my lot in life to be associated with this overly enthusiastic punctuation mark. It can’t be helped. Apparently it’s an unwritten rule that if there’s going to be a verb before the word ‘now’, then that particular sentence better bloody end with a bloody exclamation mark. Call now! Buy now! Subscribe now! And if you’re on a crushing word limit then “Hurry!”.

(I’m told it creates a sense of urgency in the reader’s mind. To bludgeon the writer to death, yes, but otherwise too. And who am I to argue? It’s not like I go out and buy things like normal people. Oh wait…)

Anyway, the point being that it amazes me that so many people insist on using it so very much outside of advertising.

What is it? What can you absolutely NOT say without putting the vertical line-and-dot monstrosity at the end of it?

I love you. I hate you. I miss you. It’s so nice to see you again. You’ve lost a lot of weight. That looks really great. We haven’t gone out in ages. Happy Birthday. Happy New Year. Happy friggin’ Hanukkah.

See? You can say ALL those things WITHOUT sounding like your doctor upped your daily dose of Prozac.

But. Yet. However. Even so. There are people out there who use it with careless abandon. And, horror of horrors, they use MULTIPLE exclamation marks. As in, more than one. Many. Plural of.

Why? What exactly is so endearing about “Hi!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”? Do they really think that sounding like someone surgically lessened their IQ score is appealing to others? Are they under the impression that appearing to be jumping up and down manically while saying a particular sentence makes the other person feel special? Or do they just want to suggest that they find the Shift+1 command so utterly fascinating that they absolutely, positively HAVE to have their fingers on it for more than fifteen seconds?

Whatever it is, people, this must stop. Rein in the virtual endorphins. Keep the happy hormones out of my face. And if you don’t know what that means, let me rephrase: Stop!!!!!

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