When I was in high school
so many long years ago, my girlfriends and I loved to dot the letter -i- with little circles or hearts as an expression of our creativity and independence. The boys thought we were just being show-offs and teased us, but we just laughed at them and their own sloppy writing.
Another fad was to use an excess of exclamation points at ends of sentences in love notes, letters, essays, and reports, or other homework assignments.
Sally loves Johnny!! Sally loves Harry!!! Sally loves Joey!!!!
Sally loves Sam!!!!!
Cute, but oh so high school. Definitely not cute in adult writing.
Here’s the rule:
An exclamation point at the end of a sentence indicates strong emotions or high volume. It can also be used at the end of ironic statements. The Chicago Manual of Style states that exclamation points should be used sparingly to be effective.
F. Scott Fitzgerald reportedly disliked exclamation points and urged writers to cut them out of their writing. “An exclamation mark,” he supposedly said, “is like laughing at your own joke.”
Genevieve Graham, in a blog post on entitled “Hurray a Blog about Excess Exclamation Points. How Exciting!” suggested that the ultimate function of an exclamation mark is “to provide an editor with one more thing to delete or replace.”
However, if you really want to be cutesy on special occasions, here’s a font you can use
Your turn: What quirky errors do you find in writing? Which ones annoy you the most?
Janice Hall Heck is a retired educator and now
nitpicky editor of On the Horizon, a bi-monthly community newsletter for Horizons at Woods Landing, Mays Landing, NJ.