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Making an Explanation Point


Write the excitement. That was the message in a book purchased nearly six years ago when I started blogging. I wanted to brush up on basic grammar and writing skills. Much to my dismay, it discouraged the overuse of explanation points. I have a habit of using the little mark and the book made it seem rude and crude.

I can't help myself, though. I type, “See you soon” and it just feels like dread whereas if I write, “See you soon!,” it means something. Or, Thank you vs Thank you! The ultimate, “OMG” vs OMG!!!--because if one is good, three ought to be better. I automatically know right where it is on my keyboard and I don't care if I am committing a punctuation sin.

Then, I came across an article referring to David Shipley and Will Schwalbe's “The Essential Guide to Email for Office and Home.” They endorse explanation points. Hallelujah!

According to an article for Slate online magazine, “So Many Exclamation Points!” by Jacob Rubin, part of the reason for modern acceptance of explanation points is the opposite of my years of typed letters always with carbon copies. So much of what we say now is not intended to be permanent. We email and text messages that just a few years ago would have been vocal rather than written. Or not even communicated at all. For example, when I say, “Nice pics!” as a comment on Facebook or “Looking forward to seeing you!!” to an email about a friend stopping by says exactly what I want to say without a wordy paragraph that most don't want to take time to read and will only be deleted.

Still, the fact that we (or I) depend so heavily on a little mark to communicate excitement, love or joy is rather sad. Because even with the poorly constructed sentences in my past letters, there were few explanation points. Parents, family, friends and even my husband-to-be 44 years ago would want more than a couple words and a tiny mark to communicate feelings in the letters I sent.

Don't get me wrong, I think modern communication is wonderful. It many ways, we communicate more now than ever. Blogs, Facebook Twitter. Who isn't to say getting a message saying, I Love You! isn't as good as a two page letter trying to say the same thing. Well, a love letter, maybe....


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