Exclamation marks — how many is too many in an email?


A friend of mine wrote to me recently saying that her husband was called out by a colleague in another country for using “too many exclamation marks”. What is the etiquette on this, she asked.

Personally, I love the exclamation mark! Why not? I believe it conveys a sense of energy and enthusiasm that’s uniquely me. If you’ve ever spoken to me in person, you’ll know that I’m a bit high-energy and chirpy. I’d like that to reflect in my emails as well.

So, I use exclamation marks liberally. And I’m a business owner, I don’t have colleagues or bosses to tell me inane things like this. (One prospect recently told me that I should tone down my ‘assertiveness’ and I dialled it up a notch, but I digress.)

The short answer is:

If you can afford it, use it as you please, but never more than one per sentence!!! That would not only be screaming, but also blasphemous!

In the corporate world, though, this seems to be a big deal. And the best way out is to use frugally — after the hello, or congratulations, or best of luck.

The long answers are many.

The Grammar Girl podcast talks to author David Crystal here about his book on the punctuation. The Atlantic wrote about it a couple of years ago. You know who else is a fan of the exclamation mark? Trump, apparently. And so it goes!