Monday, April 7, 2014

Promiscuous punctuators

          That’s Megan Garber’s phrase in her wry Atlantic piece on excessive use of exclamation points, question marks, and capitalizations of entire phrases, all viral these days in cyber-communicating.

          I am hereby launching a crusade to wipe out promiscuous punctuation.
          If you’re one of the addicted guilty, at least try eliminating from your writing one exclamation point each day, until you’re eventually (maybe even within a month or two) no longer exclamatory but are expository once again, as the gods and my old long-suffering high school English teacher, Ms. Smith, intended us to be.
          Let’s give the power back to our wonderfully expressive language itself, rather than to its mere punctuation.  Of course, this will require some actual old-fashioned thinking.  And ready access to an old-fashioned dictionary and perhaps even to one of those nearly-extinct thesauruses.
          While we’re attempting to kick inane addictions, let’s also resolve to stomp out cliché acronyms (OMG!?!, LOL!) and the rampant saccharine use of cutesy punctu-art doodles such as those sideways smiley and winkey faces.  And please, please let’s banish the word like from our vocabularies forever.
          I understand this is going to be difficult for many of us.
          But if we’ll just, like, person-up, I know we can do it.



  1. This is a weakness of mine. I'm having a difficult time writing this comment without punctuation marks.