Craigslisters seem to have a habitual need to abuse punctuation. And none are taken for granted more than the completely misunderstood exclamation point.

It is true that the exclamation point is a brilliant mark. However, it does appear that this fabulous piece of punctuation is being exploited at every turn. And for the love of all the cheap and used goods for sale in my local area, this needs to be stopped.

Let me give you an example to show you what I’m talking about. The following is strongly based on an actual real-life Craigslist ad I have read in the past but is not an exact replication because my memory is just not that good. This ad is to be used for training purposes only and is not in any way a suggestion for an actual Craigslist ad.

i have really good on facebook! lol u can pay me to do ur fbing 4 u i have ben doing fb since it first came on the interwebs!!!!!!!! am on my computer all day lol n can update ur fb with when u want!!!! maybe we could trade something but im not wanting somethings that are broken or dirty alot!!!!! just emailme if u want me to facebook 4 u 4 money or trade stuff. my # is 555-555-5555 no phone calls plz. i won’t answer!!!!!

Okay. We’ll get into the lack of punctuation in another post. And the lack of proof reading. And the odd misuse of the abbreviation, LOL. And the word alot that is not an actual word. And the substituting of the number 4 for the word for which are not interchangeable.
Right now, however, I only want to point out the over abundance of exclamation points in this ad.

Besides being stupid, there is not one sentence in this ad that calls for an exclamation point. I imagine this poster sitting beside herself in front of her computer screen saying in her head, I wonder if I should use a period or one of those exclamation thingies here. I’m just not sure. I think I’ll play it safe and put 5 exclamation thingies and call it good.

Wrong. Answer.

Let me give you an example of how to write a post using periods.

I’ve got this Walmart bag of vintage stuffed animals I’d like to sell. There are three and they are old and smell funny and the bunny is missing an ear. One of them has what I think might be petrified poo on it but it doesn’t stink and I think it will wash out. Because they are vintage I would like $350 for the lot of them. Please email me if you are interested.

Now, you may think the petrified poo sentence should have an exclamation point but you would be mistaken. Exclamation points were not designed to be used for odd statements, and I think this is what might have so many craigslisters confused. These marks are for sentences that should be read with a modicum or more of excitement. It’s strictly for exclamatory remarks. Exclamatory remarks such as, I was just offered a bazillion dollars to help a Nigerian prince set up a bank account in the USA!

I know this can be tricky. So, to make this a little easier on you, my advice is when in doubt use a period.

Filed under: Craigslisters

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