American email writers are facing an exclamation point crisis that, if we all work together, we can fix. This isn't a diatribe on how the Internet has changed the way we communicate, for better or worse. Rather, this is about the uncertainty that comes with using the controversial punctuation during our electronic correspondences. For those of us who email on a regular basis, which is basically everyone, all the time these days, there's a certain pressure to use an "!" in every email, fearing we'd otherwise come off as dour, sarcastic or just plain rude. The mark thus decorates emails across America lest we come off as plain evil without exclaiming, which only feeds the addiction. It has gotten to the point, that sometimes one isn't even enough. One doesn't want to use too many, fearful of coming off like a teenage girl. But no mark at all reads as, at best, stiff or, at worst, a total jerk. Before we can do anything about this issue, however, we must understand its various manifestations. There's a balance, America.
The Exclamation Mark Sandwich
Form: One makes a "sandwich" with the punctuation mark, ending both the first and last sentence with a !, rather than a standard period, which would suffice.
Purpose: Beginning and ending a group of sentences with an exclamation mark ensures that the recipient both begins and ends with a positive tone in their head. It's like giving an email a hug.