The exclamation point is dead! Dead! Well, mostly dead!

Ok, maybe not dead, but I think its usage is completely intertwined with an antiquated sense and the capitalized, bolded, or italicized word (or phrase/sentence) has taken over.

Here are my reasons why grammar needs to change to reflect its demise:

**1) **An exclamation point makes the whole sentence emphatic and lacks precision of the meaning that could be conveyed by the capitalized word.

**2) **The exclamation point is post-indicative. If there’s a long sentence that requires that punctuation, the reader won’t see this until the end and then have to possibly re-evaluate the intent behind the sentence.

**3) **It lacks the punch it once had and seems awkward. There’s a weird desperate sense of attention that the exclamation point conveys. Here’s an article that briefly explains why it should be discontinued in content marketing.

Then there was a presidential campaign when registering the exclamation point for a trademark and just abandoned it.

4) It’s a bit antiquated. If I’m reading a book and it has frequent exclamation points, especially in a non-verbalized sentence, I’m going to check the publication date. Moreover, Gordon Lightfoot’s song “If You Could Read My Mind” has an exclamation point in it. Enough said.
**5) **It’s not completely dead. Not including the expanded interrobang, there is one acceptable usage: the very short sentence. This would include:
Happy Birthday!
Have a safe trip!
If the exclamation point was removed and it was capitalized or italicized, the meaning could be lost. “HAPPY BIRTHDAY” without an exclamation point lends a sarcastic undertone to it.

Not counting the three ironic ones in your title, there are four exclamation points in the other titles of this thread page alone.

Hardly going extinct in my view.

Most likely the semi-colon will become forgotten long before the exclamation point does.

Meh. The exclamation point works perfectly well. In my opinion the only problem it has is overuse.

A long sentence like your example can’t be emphatic as a unit of read text anyway, so basically you’re saying that hammers are dead because screws exist.

I’d like to keep it but I’d go for a limit of one per sentence!!!


Two different connotations.

My general rule is writing fiction is only to use an exclamation point if it’s followed by a (closed) quotation mark.* Using it any other way never works.

*Even if that appears a sentence or two later.

I’d keep it for at least the same reason I would keep Comic Sans. When someone uses it a lot, I can judge them.

What nonsense; the semicolon is useful in many situations where no other punctuation will do.


Don’t help promote that CAPITALIZATION crap.

It is now being used the way Trump speaks; repeat or overemphasize the word you want the audience to take away, rather than thinking.

d0n’7 t3ll m3 h0w 2 typ3!!!

I’m puzzled why nobody but me follows this intuitive rule for multiple exclamation points and question marks: for each successive sentence with that punctuation, one more must be added.

Is that true? Really?? You’re not kidding me???

Yes! It’s the greatest!! Now you all understand!!!

Please, for the love of no trans fatty acids, don’t give people a reason to start using all caps.

Why, oh why does no one appreciate the interrobang‽

Agreed. (Agreed!) Exclamations work okay in dialogue, but should never be used in narrative.

And in informal messages, like we’re engaged in here (!) it’s okay to use quick-and-dirty emphatic tools :slight_smile: to punch-up the text. Raw text is traditionally “soulless,” and tends to come across more dry and more harsh than the equivalent spoken word. Softening this with dialect (f’sure!) and other techniques is valid, in proper context.

Writing a letter to the editor of the local newspaper? No…*
In an email to your old college roomie in Cincinnati, sure!

  • I use ellipses as a kind of anti-exclamation point, to soften the tone of a passage. Piano, vs. Forte.

No, not the semicolon! Say it isn’t so! That’s my favorite! OMG, the things you can do with a semicolon.


The hyphen is almost dead already. To wit:

I went to the restaurant and saw a man eating fish.
I went to the aquarium and saw a man eating fish.


there is supposed to be a hyphen in there somewhere?

regarding the exclamation point: