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Swat them away

They’re as addictive as peanuts, but beware: they’re as pesky as mosquitoes. Don’t fall for them. Swat them away before they take over.

Exclamation marks are something we naturally use in conversational writing, but when it comes to writing in a more public way ‒ web content, for example, or business emails, press releases, promotional campaigns, ad copy, short stories, newspaper columns, blogs, opinion pieces or news stories ‒ leave them out.

If you have a message, let your words be powerful enough. Exclamation marks can weaken what is already strong. It’s a little like telling the punchline of a joke four times to make sure your listeners “get it”. If it’s funny (horrific/new/exciting), it’s funny. Leave it alone.

If you're describing a sound,or a sudden action, or an exaggerated statement (i.e., “Yikes!”), it’s okay. But keep these exclamations to an absolute minimum. If you don’t have to use them, don’t.

And if you do have to, absolutely have to, use only one. Two or more does not make the statement “exclaim” any more.

On the other hand, for casual texting and emailing to friends, it’s okay to go for the comfort of an exclamation mark. (What the heck in that case, let your hair down and use two.)

Exclamation marks have their uses, but they need to be handled like giving sugar to toddlers ‒ not too much, not too often, and if you can, not at all.

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