Write better: Avoid the exclamation mark

It's the most common way to kill the reader's enthusiasm!

It took me a while to understand the purpose of the exclamation mark, or what its purpose isn’t.

As a new writer, I would use it without as much as a second thought. I was so excited all the time from the cool science facts I learnt that I couldn’t help but convey it via exclamation points. I see many new writers do this as well, whether for conveying excitement, shock or making a joke. But that doesn’t help the reader.

The reader should be surprised by what you convery, not be told to feel so at the end of the sentence. If they already exclaimed reading your words, the exclamation mark is redundant. If they didn’t, it’s redundant still. By using exclamation marks just because you’re excited, you rob the reader of finding your sentences interesting on their own.

It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use exclamation marks at all! It’s apt when conveying an unexpected turn of events in the flow of information but certainly not when attaching it to the information itself. It’s the difference between “Jupiter is huge!” vs. “Jupiter is so big it can fit 1,300 Earths inside it.”


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