Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Curb Your Enthusiasm

Being the Type-A, rule-following person I am, I tend to be quite a stickler for grammar and punctuation rules. Except when I'm trying to be funny. And then all the rules go out the window. Because that's the way it should be, right?

I was pretty good at English in school. I've written my share of papers and had my share of red pencil marks on them. I had one professor I called, "The Comma Nazi." I never could figure out her system for commas. I either used too many or not enough. I, don't, think, anyone, ever, made, her, happy.

Then I spent many years in my "professional" life proofing all sorts of manuals, publications, ads, and manuscripts. I've just about worn out my English punctuation reference book. It has been well worth whatever ludicrous amount I paid for it in college.

I will contend that with the advent of email and especially texting, grammar and punctuation have pretty much gone down the toilet in recent history. I am amazed at the punctuation mistakes I see all the time - on TV, the newspaper, and other places you'd think those things would have been checked. And re-checked.

Most things I can see and move on (after a small fit, then a bit of wondering if these people want to pay me to proof their stuff). But there is one thing I cannot abide. It is the blatant overuse of exclamation points.

Don't get me wrong. I believe there is a time and place for the use of exclamation points. I use them myself. Just don't use them for every sentence. And certainly don't use more than one at a time. Because there are few things in the world that are that exciting.

As I've said before, everything in life relates back to a Seinfeld or Friends episode. And there is a Seinfeld episode that deals with this very matter. (Sorry about the subtitles.)

Of course, this is not the end of the story. Elaine's enthusiasm over exclamation points ends up getting her into trouble with Mr. Lippman, her boss.

I think he and I would get along well. Pin It


  1. Anonymous10:19 AM

    holy crap!!!! I GET TO SEE Y'ALL ON SATURDAY!!!!!! I'M SO EXCITED!!!!!!!!


  2. I will excuse your blatant misuse of exclamation points because I'm stinkin' excited to see you on Saturday too!

  3. Anonymous1:05 PM

    !!!!!!!!Exception to the rules FTW!!!!!!!!


  4. Would you believe that I went back and looked through some of the emails I'd sent you recently to see if I'd misused or overused any exclamation points. I've been known to do that on occassion. In fact, I'm pretty sure that I just sent an email tonight to some of my girlfriends telling them that Jason is going to be the next Bachelor!!!!!!!!!! Woo-flippin-HOO! Now THAT calls for some exclamation points! And a bunch of them!!!! Ha.