When we tried chilling out on our email exclamation mark usage, in an attempt to wean ourselves off our addiction, we noticed some other punctuation crutches we've developed. The exclamation point, as a way to make e-mail feel less stiff and evil, has become a norm -- a composition sans mark is reserved for the cruelest of notes. This has led to an overall exclamation point addiction, as we outlined last week. We suggested it didn't have to be this way! And we took our own advice, refraining from sprinkling all our emails with the point. But, as we removed the mark from our writing we just replaced it with other non-period forms of punctuation. Our addiction manifested itself in other forms. We still feel like we have to use these things to make our electronic correspondences sound not so stiff. It doesn't have to be this way. Again, before we address the problem, we need to understand it in all of its manifestations, lest we give up one exclamation mark replacement for another.
The Ellipses String of Thoughts
Form: Turn an entire email into a full sentence replacing all forms of punctuation with ellipses.
Purpose: This comes from a non-committal email writer. Everything reads like more of a suggestion than a statement.
The Extra Letter Bomb
Form: Add extra letters to one or two choice words. Extra question marks sometimes work, too.