The Punctuation Problem!
By Honor Chotkowski
I hope that you all had a wonderful weekend. Would someone mind sending me the notes from our last meeting (before noon preferably)? I would really appreciate it!
“No, no, no- I won’t be taken seriously. What if I kept only one exclamation point? Maybe I should change my language to something more urgent and professional.”
Could someone send me the notes from our last meeting before noon today?
Thank you in advance.
“But now I feel stern, slightly rude, and over assuming that someone will send it. What if everyone is busy? What if one of their Wifi is down, see’s ‘thank you in advance’ and stresses out that they were thanked without having the ability to send it?”
If this circumstance sparks a nerve in you, you are probably a woman! Congratulations, by the way. In 2006, a study was conducted and found that 73% of exclamation point users are women. Now, I just wonder what it is about an exclamation point that is so lady-friendly. Perhaps it is the expectation that we are supposed to be kinder and more welcoming. The exclamation point enhances sentences to a high pitch tone that exudes excitement and appreciation.
Here is where I approach a crossroad of either: a) use exclamation points because I do not want to sound impolite, or b) use exclamation points because I genuinely want to sound enthusiastic.
I have, and I know other women that have, experienced the strain that comes with written professional interactions. And, while I have spent all of this time rewriting emails- stressing about the use of punctuation marks as if I were filing a W2, I wonder what the receivers of my emails think of me. More pressingly- if they even care about the use of my punctuation marks at all.
While Joe from HR may not stay up at night pondering the absence of an exclamation point or think of me as a bundle of joy for using one, I believe that there are people in the workforce who appreciate the kindness and approachability that a simple ‘shift 1-key’ radiates.
So, use your exclamation points, ladies! And, gentlemen, of course, because we shouldn’t have to worry about appearing unprofessional by utilizing a sentence enhancer that is easily accessible on computers. More importantly, we shouldn’t have to worry that the kindness from an exclamation point would make us unrespectable. What is more respectable than engaging in professional correspondences in a friendly manner?