Hello, my name is Zoe and I am an Exclaimer.

I believe there are two types of people in this world: those who use exclamation points and those who don’t.

Probably the most famous Exclaimer is Elaine from Seinfeld.

Though I’m about 85% sure I wouldn’t have lambasted my boyfriend about a handwritten phone message, I might have been more pedantic about a lack of an exclamation point on a text message, were I to get one that said a friend of mine just had her baby. Fact: good news requires exclamation points! Case in point: when my terrible neighbors finally moved out, there weren’t enough exclamation points in the world to express my joy and relief. That’s why I had to find the Handel’s Messiah clip. The entire thing is one giant exclamation point.

Despite my anal-retentiveness about using good grammar, I break the rule about not using more than one exclamation point at a time. “OMG” absolutely needs a few “!!!” if you have big news or you’re really strongly reacting to something. I will go ahead and admit that when I’m perplexed or shocked, I go so far as to use two question marks. “What??” just has a more astonished look and feel to me.

So it probably comes as no surprise that I feel underwhelmed when people write, “Have a good weekend.” or, “Merry Christmas.” It makes me have to start reading into the tone of the sentence too much, and then I begin the downward spiral of speculating what kind of mood they’re in or what kind of person s/he must be if there’s no joy in wishing someone a good weekend or a happy birthday, even.

Dwight from "The Office" is an Underexclaimer.

The Dwight Schrute birthday cake.

Have you ever gotten a Facebook message from someone and all it says is, “Happy birthday.”? It’s like, okay thanks for taking the five seconds to type that out, but is there really any reason not to press Shift+1 to denote the enthusiasm for the ONE day out of the year that’s all about you? C’mon, people.

Obviously there are boundaries to the use of exclamation points. Overuse of exclamation points on every sentence is just about on the same level as USING CAPS FOR NO SPECIAL REASON WHATSOEVER. ALSO, I THINK IT’S LAZY, BECAUSE THEN YOU’RE NOT WORRIED ABOUT HAVING TO PRESS THE SHIFT KEY A FEW TIMES TO CAPITALIZE THE PROPER NOUNS. (Stop it!)

Because I’m an avid Exclaimer, I have had to reign in my !! tendencies. I have a history of writing thank you notes and emails to friends and family that were almost entirely made up of sentences ending with exclamation points. It looked like I was either acting really fake or was perhaps on meth, so I began using them less on the mundane sentences.

Still, if you want to freak someone out, write a note to a person with tons of exclamation points and see what kind of reaction you get. However, I highly recommend avoiding being an Exclaimer at work; your colleagues may suspect you of having a personality disorder, especially if you preface all your forwards with “FYI!” It won’t take long for you to be summoned to your HR department.

On that note, I’ve put a little poll below to see if anyone else out there thinks about this kind of thing as I do.

Zoe out!





  1. saintclarence27 says:

    I don’t mind the overuse of exclamation points, and I’m probably overly gratuitous with them myself. I’m also a big fan of the semicolon; it is quite an efficient mode of punctuation. What REALLY irks me, however, is the overuse of ellipses. Ellipses do not end a sentence. Thanks!

  2. I have to love a post about punctuation! (Self-conscious use of exclamation mark.) Funny clip, but I’d probably be the opposite of Elaine. I remember only half-joking when I remarked to my friend once that I don’t trust a man who uses too many exclamation points (and I know a few). I try to use them sparingly, especially at work. But I’d never just write “happy birthday.” !!!

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