It’s National Punctuation Day. The point? According to the founder, Jeff Rubin, it’s punctuation awareness. His website instructs on proper usage of punctuation from “?” to to “!.” This year, he even sponsored a haiku contest on the punctuation theme and got some pretty clever entries.
If you read through the National Punctuation Day site, you’ll be introduced to some esoteric punctuation not widely accepted, like the interrobang and expostrophe.
But what most of you are probably thinking is this: Is there really a need for National Punctuation Day? There is if you can trust grammar critics.
The apostrophe is the most widely misused punctuation, according to one source.
But the punctuation mark that seems to draw the most ire is the excitable ! (exclamation point).
What ‘s that, Yahoo!?
WTOP editor Paul D. Shinkman, paraphrasing F. Scott Fitzgerald, said of “!” this National Punctuation Day: “Exclamation points make your sentence a joke.”
A joke! Are you going to stand for that, Yahoo!?
Let’s go find ourselves another source.
Roger Darlington says “!” should be used sparingly and only to express strong emotion or surprise. Since he’s bothered to trace the history of punctuation usage back to Aristophanes of Byzantium, he’s probably a credible voice.
A Guide to English Punctuation frowns on overuse of “!” and notes that “!” must never be used in a series, as in “!!!.”
Yahoo!, maybe. Yahoo!!!, never.
If you’d like, you can call “!” a bang or shriek without violating punctuation or any other rules, he notes.
“!” generates such strong feelings that there’s a social networking site, Society against the Overuse of Exclamation Marks (!), on Facebook with 116 members wary of !!!s. Just in time for National Punctuation Day, they warn of outbreaks of “Exclamatoid Fever” and offer these words of wisdom about “!.”
“If everything is emphasized, nothing is.”
Is “!” in a company name, used every time the company is mentioned, one “!” too many?
Yahoo!’s founders apparently didn’t think so. Bet they didn’t join the Society, either.