My mentor Larry Ragan used to say professional writers should have their left pinky fingers chopped off, to make sure they don't overuse the little symbol over the 1. He had a point!
Back then, 99 percent of exclamation points typed in the world were by typed by amateurs and imbeciles.
I'd be surprised if I ever used one in a print article or a serious correspondence of any kind.
But occasionally in a work email, especially one sent to a non-writer whose linguistic taste I didn't need to consider, I'd allow myself a super-enthusiastic "Thanks!" "Sounds good!" "Hope this helps!"
Now I email, IM and text on all manner of matters, and conveying a non-leaden voice seems important—and, in brief exchanges, difficult. I find the exclamation point is such an easy shortcut to sounding sprightly and cooperative!!!
I find myself reluctantly erasing exclamation points in draft emails, and rewriting the sentence to show how much I care. But how long will I hold out? How long can I hold out?!
I'm thinking about getting my left pinky chopped off.
Tell me why I shouldn't.