Anyone who gets texts or email -- which means, pretty much everybody -- can't help but having noticed it: exclamation points are everywhere. What once was a punctuation mark used a lot more sparingly is now used after nearly every sentence, and often in multiples of two, three or even more. You're likely to be guilty of it yourself. Grammarians tie the ubiquity of the exclamation point to the rise of electronic communication, in which it's harder to get the tone across of what you're saying. Time magazine has some suggestions of what we can use to replace the exclamation point, trying to return it to its former use at the end of statements that really demand it.

  • Use an emoticon instead -- "Sure :)" instead of "Sure!"
  • Use intensifiers or emphatic words -- "Thank you very much" or "Thank you so much" instead of "Thank you!"
  • Use less expected words -- "You're a gem and a half"
  • Use other forms of punctuation for emphasis -- "Thank you, very much." or "You. Are. The. Best."