Death To The Exclamation Mark

There are a few things in this world that I truly resent but none more so than the exclamation mark. If someone accidentally crashed into my car (just pretend I own a car), I would be mildly annoyed at the inconvenience. If that same person left a note that read 

"Sooooo sorry about this!! Don't know how I did it!! Here is my info, I've got insurance so don't worry your covered!!!"

I would throw it away and pay for the repairs myself just to avoid any interaction with such a monster. Because holding down shift+1 on a keyboard is bad enough, but it takes a true psychopath to handwrite multiple exclamation marks. To be fair, if she hadn't misspelled "you're" as well, things might have been different. 

An exclamation mark is like that one person everyone knows who always has to lead the group discussion. He (I'm using "he" because let's face it, most of them are men, and also I used "she" when referring to a bad driver which you probably didn't even notice) will always talk just a little bit louder than everyone else and start talking a second before the other person has stopped. Do you have something profound and genuine to say? Too bad because Mr Exclamation Mark is going to swoop in with some loud noises and completely undermine whatever sincerity you thought you were dishing out. Here's some mind-blowing truth, a sentence can still convey genuine emotion without any form of exclamation. 

"I'm so sorry for your loss."

"I'm so sorry for your loss!!"

"Man, that rugby game was intense."

"Man! That rugby game was intense!!!!!"

"Thank you all for the birthday wishes."

"!Thank!! !!you! !!all!!!! !!for! !!!the!! !!birthday!!!!!! w!i!s!h!e!s!!!!1"


I don't know where this anger towards a punctuation mark came from but it is here now and it is strong. It's not the exclamation itself that I loathe, it is the misuse of it. "Baby" by Justin Bieber is not a bad song. But everyone overplayed it by a thousand percent and suddenly it has the most dislikes of any video on youtube. We are becoming oversaturated with exclamation marks and it is causing us to lose our ability to form genuine sentences. 

What's worse is that it is now an obligation. I am ashamed to say that I have ended emails with "Thanks!" or "See you soon!" for fear of hurting the recipient's tender feelings. Or perhaps if somebody comments on a photo of mine with 10+ exclamations, I might reply with "I know!" so as not to come across as a stone-cold bitch. It's as if we aren't genuine if we do not express our emotion through exclamation. I have feelings! Here they are!! Loud and proud! I care! Look how much I care!!!!!!!!

Sometimes when I'm feeling super lazy I will link someone a video that I think they will like and type only "!!!!!" under it. This translates to "Hey, I saw this video, it's pretty cool and you'll probably enjoy it." But of course, I don't say that because I can't be bothered and !!!!! is enough to satisfy our now cavemen dialect.

If I see a stranger's comment on facebook with more than one exclamation mark, I immediately assume that they suffer from some form of hysteria and/or would require a lot of energy to be around. But I have come to realise that this disdain goes hand-in-hand with resting bitch face. If you transcribed the past ten years of my life, nothing I have said in that time would warrant an exclamation mark. I don't say things excitedly and therefore to use an exclamation mark in writing would just be a lie. Temara uses a lot of exclamation marks in writing and it makes sense because right now she is next to me watching videos about children raised by animals and she is more enthusiastic about it than I have ever been in my entire life. 

Using too many exclamation marks also leaves you susceptible to the classic "!!!!1" flub. Accidentally typing a 1 at the end of your disgusting amount of exclamation marks is a) karma, and b) only marginally less embarrassing than spelling "definitely" as "defiantly".

If I have ever used an exclamation mark in some sort of message to you, I don't know what to say except to apologise for my basicness in that moment. At least know that when I typed it out I lost a minute of my life from the shame that consumed my being.

I would be quite happy to never see another exclamation mark for the rest of my life. When I die, the world can go crazy on them. You could even put one on my headstone in a fantastic act of irony and I would do nothing but accept defeat. In fact, I welcome such a bold statement, but only when I'm dead.

Madeleine Elsie Chapman