Monday, February 16, 2009

Editorial Tip of the Week: Oh Snap! The Exclamation Point!

Let’s face it. Exclamation points are fun! Exciting! Stimulating! Over used! Distracting! Using too many takes away from the emotions you’re trying to convey or the extreme situations your characters are in. However, when used properly, the exclamation point is a great way to bring attention to an outcry or ironic remark, especially in dialogue.

It can be used in rhetorical questions that are essentially exclamations, such as “How can you possibly believe that!” or “When will I ever learn!” It can also be used for sound, like “grr!” or “meow!” but if you're writing something a little more academic, minimal use of the exclamation point is highly recommended.

Using it at the end of an interjection or insistent remark is a good start, but be warned to use it sparingly. Too many exclamation points, like using too many all-capitalized words, will definitely make your writing appear either over dramatic or even a little intimidating to your reader. Unless you’re trying to scare your reader away from your work and out of the room, use caution! Check out the Chicago Manual of Style at

No comments:

Post a Comment