I’ve been known to abuse exclamation points!
“Hi!! How are you?!”
seems friendlier, happier and more excited than
“Hi. How are you?”
In a Wall Street Journal news article on the use of exclamation points, Katherine Bindley writes that “Exclamation points are stressing people out.” Calling it a “tiny little torture device,” Bindley says that it’s overused and may be misinterpreted as either anger or an annoying amount of happiness.
If PB sends me a text that says, “I love you!!!” and I text back, “I love you, too” it falls flat. I have to at least match the number of exclamation points to be believable! Right?!
Or if I send PB a text that says, “Bring home milk!!” he might interpret that as, “How many times do I have to remind you to bring home milk?” When in truth, I’m just excited I don’t have to go out for milk and I love him for running the errand for me!
That little grammatical mark is fraught with danger!
Did you notice that six of the eight verses in Psalm 119:25-32 have exclamation points? That’s a lot of excitement/anger/happiness/emotion! So, what’s up with exclamation points in the Bible?
The original Hebrew and Greek languages of the Bible had no exclamation marks. “In the translation to other languages, punctuation marks were added to help readers make sense of it all. At that time, exclamation points were inserted in places to communicate passion, excitement or urgency.” (Craig Trierweiler, “Read This! It’s Important! My Exclamation Points Prove It!!!)
Consider these scriptures:
- I believe; help my unbelief! (Mark 9:25)
- He rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan!” (Mark 8:33)
- Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! (Romans 6:15
- Son of David, have mercy on me! (Mark 10:48)
Those little marks express passion and intensity, absurdity and urgency.
They speak volumes, so pay attention to exclamation points!
In this week’s section of Psalm 119, the added punctuation gives extra punch.
- Give me life according to your word!
- Teach me your statutes!
- Strengthen me according to your word!
- Graciously teach me your law!
- Let me not be put to shame!
- Enlarge my heart!
David wasn’t kidding. He was serious. Those exclamation points prove it!
Have a good weekend!!!!!!!!!!