WTF???!!! Lean punctuation in a world with too many exclamation marks

‘Have we hit peak punctuation?’ asks Megan Garber in The Atlantic. She highlights a growing trend towards excessive, almost epic, levels of punctuation.


Even as we exhort writers to use fewer, shorter words, people are using more and more punctuation and quasi-punctuation. For example:

Why use one exclamation mark when three or four shouts even more surprise? (‘Prime Rib Saturday!!!!’)

The humble ellipsis (‘…’) is now a dramatic pause worthy of the Royal Shakespeare Company. (‘OK……..’)

Multiple question marks have become the equivalent of an arched, ironic eyebrow (‘WTF????’)

Then there are smileys, emoticons and emojis.

I think all this has evolved from informal email or chat where there is a desperate need for emotional context. We’re adapting to new electronic media. In fact, Garber argues that new technology – in particular video chat and embedded images…

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Photo credit | “!” by Drew Makepeace on Flickr

Posted on June 12, 2014 in English grammar

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