Stop the madness! Rules for using the exclamation point

It is easily the most overused and abused punctuation mark in the English language. Here’s how you should be employing it. (Hint: Sparingly.)

So I think it’s safe to say that bad grammar can affect relationships. And so can punctuation. Does anyone remember the “Seinfeld” episode in which Elaine breaks up with her boyfriend over his failure to use an exclamation point?

In case you missed it, Elaine’s boyfriend had written down some phone messages, one of which said that her friend had baby. Elaine found it “curious” that he didn’t think someone having a baby warranted an exclamation point.

“Maybe I don’t use my exclamation points as haphazardly as you do,” he quips.

When Elaine later tells Jerry about the break up, he responds: “It’s an exclamation point! It’s a line with a dot under it!”

RELATED: A punctuation mark for the mildly enthused

Oh, no, no, no, Jerry, an exclamation point is so much more than just a line with a dot under it. It is one of the most exploited, abused, overused, and misused punctuation marks in the English language. I can’t count how many times I see an exclamation point after the most mundane statements.

“Thank you for setting up your account with us!”

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