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I admit that I’m easily annoyed when the person I’m chatting with uses exclamation point. Unless the statement has obvious meaning, I often regard it as an expression of being angry, sarcasm, and other negative thoughts.

Just this morning, one of my writers sent a chat message saying: “You have multiple Gmail IDs!!!” Though he is my writer, he is still new to the team and we haven’t really built that good rapport yet compared to my other writers. So when I saw that, I sent him an email with this message: “Yes, I do because I maintain multiple online businesses. Any problem with that?” Few hours later, he replied to my email saying his sorry as he didn’t mean to offend me and he was just asking in casual sense. He said sorry. I replied to saying it’s okay and that I am not used to people using exclamation point at the end of their statements.

What’s the point behind the exclamation point?

According to englishclub.com, an exclamation mark usually shows strong feeling, such as surprise, anger or joy. Using an exclamation mark when writing is rather like shouting or raising your voice when speaking. Exclamation marks are most commonly used in writing quoted speech. You should avoid using exclamation marks in formal writing, unless absolutely necessary.

1. Use an exclamation mark to indicate strong feelings or a raised voice in speech:

  • She shouted at him, “Go away! I hate you!”
  • He exclaimed: “What a fantastic house you have!”
  • “Good heavens!” he said, “Is that true?”
  • “Help!”
  • “Shut up!”
  • “Stop!”

2. Many interjections need an exclamation mark:

  • “Hi! What’s new?”
  • “Oh! When are you going?”
  • “Ouch! That hurt.”

3. A non-question sentence beginning with “what” or “how” is often an exclamation and requires an exclamation mark:

  • What idiots we are! (We are such idiots.)
  • How pretty she looked in that dress! (She looked very pretty in that dress.)

4. In very informal writing (personal letter or email), people sometimes use two or more exclamation marks together:

  • I met John yesterday. He is so handsome!!!
  • Remember, don’t be late!!
  • I’ll never understand this language!!!!

Remember, try to avoid exclamation marks in formal writing such as an essay or business letter.

During intermediate years in school until I had my last English subject in college, it was clearly taught that exclamation point must not be used as often as we use period. Using exclamation point connotes extreme emotions that can be positive or negative. Negatively, it is used to say that you are shouting, shocked, and angry.  I don’t know if rules have changed now but I think using period at the end of each statement is enough to convey a simple message.

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