!:The Really Active and Disruptive Sibling

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"In the family of punctuation, where the full stop is daddy and the comma is mummy, and the semicolon quietly practises the piano with crossed hands, the exclamation mark is the big attention-deficit brother who gets over-excited and breaks things and laughs too loudly."

-From page 137-138 of Eats, Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss


Lynne Truss' visuals here are so great for me (aside from the reference to the "attention-deficit" brother).  These make the book so much more entertaining.  When I saw that Truss included rules concerning the exclamation point, I was very surprised.  I have only ever learned that the exclamation point goes at the end of a sentence or phrase that is very emotional.  I did not think that there were very strict rules concerning it.  Well, apparently there are very few rules concerning it (only six according to Truss).  I just thought it was interesting that she included these rules at all until I thought of all of the people I know who use exclamation points all the time.  They think every sentence they write that has some meaning should have an exclamation point!  Yes, these marks are important, but do they have to be used all of the time?!?  I just can't stand it!  Isn't this really annoying?  However, I still get emails and letters like this all of the time.  Is there even a "?!?" mark?  If there is, what is it called? A questioningly exclaimed question mark?  Who knows?


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