The boy who cried “Wolf!” may have been committing a horrible mistake, but at least his exclamation point was properly used. Exclamation Point Abuse is everywhere. Don’t believe me? Just wait! I have examples!
Today I saw the sad-but-true news of yet another Hollywood divorce that came with a sad-but-true use of exclamation points. This is hard for me to write about because I find anything to do with Russell Brand a little creepy.
Nonetheless, this is the first 4 sentences of the story at imdb:
Even though Russell maintains his sobriety, Katy’s lifestyle made it difficult for him to resist temptation! Katy Perry and Russell Brand are splitting up, and sources close to the couple say Katy’s party girl ways caused the split! Russell, 36, filed for divorce on Dec. 30 after rumors of fighting with Katy, 27. But now TMZ reports that Katy’s superstar lifestyle drove a wedge between them from the beginning!
In case you weren’t counting, that was 3 out of 4 sentences ending in an exclamation point. By the time I got to “!” number three, I had stopped seeing them completely. The “!” to “.” ratio would be remarkable regardless of the topic, but a 75% exclamation point ratio is particularly odd when the topic is divorce. I’ve had plenty of friends who’ve gotten divorced, but I never found myself writing about it like this:
Bob and Mary are divorcing! Bob’s obsession with LOST and Star Trek drove a wedge between them! Mary tells me that her hatred of JJ Abrams has been a point of contention with Bob since before their marriage!