Has the internet ruined the exclamation point?!?!?!
Well, I guess if we look at the previous sentence we have our answer. Never before in the history of writing would a simple question have been paired up with three exclamation points. However, in order to convey the tone in which I asked the question, three exclamation points were necessary – because it’s not a simple question. You know this because I used three exclamation points!
You see, the number of exclamation points can morph a seemingly innocent message into something that kicks off the next World War. Every single exclamation point has a meaning and it’s up to us mere humans to decode each of them, and their importance. Luckily for you, I’ve spent the past six nights lying awake and contemplating this very serious issue.
I went to Taco Bell!
Note the use of one exclamation point. It indicates the sender is excited and wants you to know that. They probably received the correct food items they ordered, or else you would have gotten a few more points. You don’t have to respond to messages with only one exclamation point – they are really just statements we want another human to read. If someone else doesn’t see it, it didn’t happen. You answering this message would engage the sender in a conversation they didn’t want – you’ve broken the social code we live by!
The dog pooped in the house!!
Here we have the two exclamation point statement. No longer an innocent bystander, you must engage with this person. Your response will be critiqued, the sender evaluating every nuance of your message. You see, this person took extra time out of their day to hit the exclamation point twice and you must show that you value their effort. It would be appropriate send back a humorous, empathetic, or sarcastic response with one exclamation point of your own. Only one! Using any more than one point will look as if you’re showing up the original sender, leaving them with no choice but to denounce you to your friend group.
I dropped my pizza on the ground!!!
The three exclamation point statement. This person’s sky is falling and they are in crisis. It is up to you to quickly divert their attention so that they can remain a productive member of society. You must use more than one exclamation point in your response!! Two is the bare minimum while three shows that you really love them and understand them. You must also respond within 30 seconds or your exclamation points are useless. If that happens, send an emoji – preferably the poop one.
I want a puppy for Christmas!!!!
The dreaded four exclamation points. No other punctuation usage is more fraught with peril than the four exclamation point statement. You must respond – it’s the one piece of knowledge, other than breathe constantly, that humans are born with. However, picking the correct number of exclamation points to respond with is beyond most layman wordsmith’s abilities. Your best bet in this situation is to respond immediately with OH!!! You aren’t showing off with more exclamation points, but you aren’t undervaluing their statement. You are also in no way consenting or agreeing with any statements made. This is especially crucial since four exclamation point statements usually have consequences that last for years and/or cost a lot of money.
Anarchy. Chaos. Worlds burning to the ground. The five exclamation point statement requires diplomacy and tact. Someone is now in the moments where we either lose the human for good or we bring them back to humanity. You must get this response correct! Answer in very short sentences, no more than three words each. Follow each of these three-word sentences with five exclamation points. The person you are responding to is barely human in their current state – you must make them focus and read your words. If you get this response correct, you’ve got a friend for life. Get the response wrong, well…prepare to see your friend splashed across the news.
There you have it, your guide to using exclamation points properly! See?! They’re not ruined at all! They are so much better than before! With subtle nuances, their social benefits have not even begun to be calculated yet!! Look at how many exclamation points I used in this paragraph!! I’m so awesome!
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