14 June 2005

Punctuation & Etiquette

I read a forum post recently, the final line of which was:

"P.S. !!! usually means a lighthearted comment!!!!"

I'm not so sure. When someone writes multiple exclamation marks at the end of every other sentence, do you think they are being:
  1. Ignorant
  2. Friendly
  3. Pompous
  4. A Drama Queen?
Would love to know....................


anniebee said...

I do it all the time myself. I would say that I think I'm being expressive. You can only do so much with italics! I don't think I'm pompous. I try to be friendly. I'm probably (no definitely) ignorant of some of the rules of grammar. I can be a bit of a drama queen, but I'm not sure how much of that is character, and how much relates to my mental health.
Multiple exclamation marks don't necessarily mean I'm making a light-hearted comment though, I might be being sarcastic or angry.
I suppose if someone else was using them I would also feel that they were being expressive. Everyone's way of writing is different. Alternate capital and lowercase letters wind me up more.

Cheryl said...

Hadn't spotted that. This was a fella - does that make any difference?
I hope I get some more answers because maybe I need to re-think!
Thanks :-)

ella m. said...

Reading posts with non standard punctuation and/or spelling makes me want to rip my eyeballs out of my head. It MAkES IT HaRd 2 rEAd!!!!!

Overuse of exclaimation points always seemed at cross purposes than it was intended. Rather than expressing the strong emotion that it's meant to, overuse actually lessens the impact. How exciting, maddening or whatever else can the statement be if everything from "I nearly crashed my car into a tree", to "I met the love of my life", to "My tea's gone cold.", is followed by several exclaimation points?

Ally said...

Multiple exclamation marks drive me burlesque ... sorry Annie :).

But ... I do use emoticons far too much. So it's probably a case of 'people who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones'.

Ally said...

Also ... I agree with Ella, alternating case makes me want to not only rip my eyeballs of my head, but throw them at the writer. If I click on a page 'written' like that, I simply don't bother reading it. I know I'm not down with the young people on this; but it *really* winds me up.

I'm going now.

doris said...

I'd agree with Annie's "being sarcastic or angry". But also can use them in extra humour and suprise.

I certainly use them to doubly emphasise a point but the only way to know which way that exclamation is going depends on the point being made!

In no way can it be automatically a "light-hearted comment" because it just doesn't imply that by itself - it depends on the context. We know that.

The guy is being a dick-head if he thinks he is making a point!!!

Google for: +definition +"multiple exclamation marks"

(Please excuse me - I am feeling peed-off over a couple of things and I've not even had a drink. Yet!)

anniebee said...

I suppose absolutely crazy overuse of exclamation marks would bother me, but then, as I said before, I do it myself sometimes.
I'm very conscious that I don't have a good understanding of what the rules and etiquette of grammar and punctuation are. I suppose I must have gone through senior school at a time when they weren't bothering as much. Before literacy!
I bought a book for my son to help him with his English SAT's which is all about 'proper' English, so maybe I should read it! It's strange that I don't pay enough attention to getting my writing right, unlike the design which I go nuts over!

doris said...

I think that language should be fluid and able to change and grow to get better. I often abuse our language and stretch it to it's limits and am probably wrong in doing so. I don't think this is about us being "in glass houses and throwing stones". I'm not worried that I am not perfect and you shouldn't worry either. Being conscious (your spelling of that was better than mine) of our language and how we use it as a good thing and means we are always striving and maybe getting the best out of it.

I don't like the text speak and other tweaks of the language and would fear if that is how our language goes. But if I want to accept that we should have a fluid language then maybe that is what will happen?

(When I was a kid I was taught never to start a sentence with "But" and now I do!)

In this instance, it seems the guy is trying to make a point of some sort but heaven knows what as it is clouded by the dripping sarcasm.

anniebee said...

I did actually look up the 'and & but' question in the book I mentioned. I think it's not strictly correct, but is in common usage now. Spelling I can do, grammar I can't! Mind you, I now know what the Oxford comma is (via same book)!

Cheryl said...

Doh! I am going to go look up a definition of an Oxford comma, now!

Punctuation is my weak point, American friends in particular tell me my sentences are too long. I am really bad with apostrophes and I know there is a (US?) movement to eliminate the semi-colon. I love semi-colons, the perfect cross between a full stop and comma, which I use to make my too-lengthy sentences! Dashes seem to be becoming respectable to - case in point.
No wonder I'm confused.....

Cheryl said...

But misspelling 'too' as 'to' is definitely not cricket! LOL

doris said...

Nooooooooo! We can't lose the semi colon. I've only been turned onto it in the last few years and love it when I can use it to thread a small list of related ideas into a cohesive sentence.

Yah-boo, I already looked up an Oxford comma and have already shared it with Mr Doris as he didn't know about it either :-) (And he has 2 Degrees and a Masters) [But I got bigger boobs so we're equal!]

Badaunt said...

I dislike exclamation marks, and generally assume that the person overusing them doesn't trust the words to do the job and/or don't know how to make the words do the job.

Having said that, I'll use them - but sparingly. I don't like the way they tend to add a sort of breathlessness to the text, so you read and end up feeling as though you've been panting. I don't like panting.

(But I do love the word 'pant,' ever since my father told me that he'd been running so fast his breath came in short pants. I thought it was the funniest thing I'd ever heard. I was about seven at the time, and it probably was.)