As the lines between formal and informal writing blur, there’s a definite tendency to get conversational in even the most professional pieces. The result, you start seeing a lot of inappropriate punctuation in everything from books to cover letters to press releases.
In particular, we’re seeing a distinct proliferation of exclamation marks. The legendary F. Scott Fitzgerald would be outraged. Once quoted as saying, “Cut out all those exclamation marks. An exclamation mark is like laughing at your own joke,” he’d be taken aback by the number of business emails I receive that have not just one, but multiple exclamation marks in the subject line alone.
Next time you sit down to write, take a look at the punctuation you’re using. Does it fit the venue? Is it necessary to the sentence?
How do you avoid the use of inappropriate punctuation?