I saw a comment in a document at work today — “REVIEW THOROUGHLY!!!!!!!!” This got me to thinking. If the capitals add emphasis to the command and each exclamation point adds further emphasis, then what kind of emphasis is implied by the command in question? Let’s analyse.
1 Exclamation point — It’s urgent.
All capitals — I shout.
2 Exclamation points — I’m angry.
3 Exclamation points — I grab you to get your attention.
4 Exclamation points — I whip out the bullhorn.
5 Exclamation points — I shake you because you’re stupid.
6 Exclamation points — I repeatedly slap your face.
7 Exclamation points — I wind up the air raid siren.
8 Exclamation points — Fisticuffs
I offer these guidelines that we may all know how many exclamation points are in order, yea that we may use them properly. You are saying to yourself, “when is it proper to use 9?” Forget it. Nine are always to many.