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Embracing the Exclamation Point: A Digital Dilemma

Embracing the Exclamation Point: A Digital Dilemma

  • In the fast-paced world of online communication, the exclamation point has become both hero and villain.
  • Once the darling of emotional expression, its excessive use now raises eyebrows, thanks to its association with attention-seeking behavior.
  • However, as we navigate the digital landscape, it's essential to understand the evolving role of the exclamation point and how it has shaped our online conversations.


88 reads


We’ve grown suspicious of feelings, particularly the big ones needing the eruption of a ! to relieve ourselves. 



80 reads

Hemingway's Silence: When Less is More

Hemingway's Silence: When Less is More

  • Take a cue from literary legend Ernest Hemingway, who mastered the art of understatement. In "The Old Man and the Sea," he deliberately withholds exclamation points, allowing readers to feel the emotional weight without explicit cues.
  • The exclamation point falls flat. All the expectation and excitement rushing into the uplifting mark, and then—nothing. (See image above for reference). The marling keeps on swimming for another 100 pages.
  • In the digital age, this approach prompts us to ponder whether restraint can be just as impactful as exclamation point extravagance.


65 reads

Rushdie's Symphony of Shouts: Embracing the Exclamation Overflow

Rushdie's Symphony of Shouts: Embracing the Exclamation Overflow

  • Contrary to restraint, Salman Rushdie's "Midnight's Children" serves as a testament to exclamation point abundance.
  • In a world brimming with magical realism, Rushdie employs over 2,000 exclamation points (average of six exclamation points per page!), creating a linguistic spectacle that mirrors the cacophony of our internet-driven lives.
  • For our generation, this extravagant use might resonate as a celebration of expressive freedom.


48 reads

Austen Unleashed: Breaking the Rules of Regency

Austen Unleashed: Breaking the Rules of Regency

  • Jane Austen, often considered the epitome of Regency-era manners, reveals a different side in her original manuscripts.
  • Unfiltered and passionate, Austen's exclamation points, which later faced editing censorship, showcase the author's unrestrained emotions.
  • For us, this challenges the perception that the exclamation point doesn't belong in more formal or historical contexts.


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“You should have distinguished—replied Anne—You should not have suspected me now;—The case so different, & my age so different!

(an uncensored excerpt from 'Persuasion')



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From Beowulf to Internet Speak: Punctuation as a Bridge

From Beowulf to Internet Speak: Punctuation as a Bridge

  • The debate over introducing anachronistic punctuation, like exclamation points, into historical texts comes into focus.
  • While traditionalists argue against such changes, modern translators like Maria Dhavana Headley inject life into ancient tales.
  • Headley’s Beowulf starts controversially, interpreting the famously versatile Anglo-Saxon “hwaet” (something like “listen”) like a shout for silence in a pub full of beer-drinking dudes.
  • For our internet-savvy audience, this prompts reflection on the balance between historical accuracy and effective communication.


39 reads

Hopkins' Oh-ing and Ah-ing: The Art of Vocal Punctuation

Hopkins' Oh-ing and Ah-ing: The Art of Vocal Punctuation

  • Lastly, Gerard Manley Hopkins reminds us that punctuation isn't just visual but also aural.
  • His use of "Oh!" and "Ah!" in poetry emphasizes the auditory impact of punctuation.
  • And with exclamations reduced to, or returning, a wordless sigh, Hopkins brings ! home to its roots: expressing admiration and wonder. (See above image for reference)
  • In our world dominated by screens, Hopkins' approach prompts us to consider how punctuation can transcend the written word and become a voice in our heads.


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A strategic ! (or several) can make your readers go “wow!” So, whenever you’re unsure of whether to stick your neck out and shout or not, remember Jane Austen and Salman Rushdie: permission to exclaim granted!



41 reads



Absurdist. Failed musician. Successful pessimist. Gamer.


The exclamation point attracts enormous (and undue) amounts of flak for its unabashed claim to presence in the name of emotion which some unkind souls interpret as egotistical attention-seeking.


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