The History of the Exclamation Point!

Have you noticed that everyone who emails you seems to be super excited all the time!!!? Maybe it’s because of the absence of voice inflection, which commonly allows us to express the emotions we’re feeling, or maybe people today are just a tad perkier. Whatever the reason, the exclamation point is creeping into nearly every online interaction, and everybody loves to complain about it. While no one really knows the origin the exclamation point, the general consensus is that it comes from Latin. In Latin, the exclamation of joy was io, where the i was written above the o. Since all of Latin letters were written as capitals, an I with an O below it looks a lot like an exclamation point. It wasn’t until 1970 that the exclamation point had its own key on the keyboard. Before that, you had to type a period, and then use the backspace to go back and stick an apostrophe above it. When businessmen dictated to secretaries, they would say “bang” to mark the exclamation point. Writers are most annoyed by the overuse of the exclamation point. “An exclamation mark is like laughing at your own jokes,” commented author F. Scott Fitzgerald. Maybe the people who are right are those who say we all just need something to argue about!!!!!