An Exclamation to English conversion chart for the puncuationally challenged

My “friend” Wolfdogg (the quotation marks are intentional and if you could change your relationship status with your friends on Facebook his would be “friends: but under review for behavior unbecoming”) pointed to this delightful bit of writing in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer telling people to exclaim their asses off because using actual words to convey tone or meaning is simply too difficult in our electronic age. Bah!

First, let me say that I am not morally opposed to the exclamation point (is it a point or a mark?). When you use them on occasion they actually do convey extreme emotion, which is what they’re supposed to do. But when you sprinkle your emails and posts and status updates and tweets with them, they cease to have any meaning.

But what’s more troubling is that exclamation abuse has become so rampant that I can’t even tell anymore how I’m supposed to react when people use so many of them. I have a hard time deciphering the difference between. “Holy shit last night was so fun!!” and “Holy shit last night was so fun!!!!!!”

Is the sentence with !!!!!! mean the night was three times more fun than the night with only two? Is there some kind of Exclamation to English conversion chart for those of us who have difficulty with the translation?

Something like:

! = I should have used a period but I have forgotten how to properly punctuate.
!! = What I am talking about in this sentence is better than a kick in the face.
!!! = Emotional equivalent to the feeling one gets on Fridays.
!!!! = Building a hotel on Boardwalk
!!!!! = When you read this sentence I am trying to convey the emotion you get when you have a nice cold gin & tonic on a hot, hot summer day.
!!!!!! = Winning the lottery.
!!!!!!! = Orgasms.
!!!!!!!!1!!!!!111!!!!! = Orgasms with Matt Dillon.

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  1. Doug 07.Jul.11 at 1:26 pm

    What about instances where the key on the keyboard is stuck? What are we to make of that?

    1. Jodi 07.Jul.11 at 1:27 pm

      @Doug, well is the delete key also defective? Because you can backspace the hell out the excessive exclamations. If the delete key doesn’t work and the ! is stuck, maybe it’s time to clean your computer.


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