Re: Using exclamation marks

Subject: Re: Using exclamation marks
From: Mike Stockman <stockman -at- jagunet -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 12 Nov 1999 23:17:55 -0500

On 11/12/99 4:41 PM, Carnall, Jane (Jane -dot- Carnall -at- compaq -dot- com) wrote:

>So, my question for the weekend is: What would you have done? Exclamation
>marks? (Dancing ferrets? A little wav file, making little wavs?) Or just
>plain full stop? (Or even period. Whatever.)

As far as using exclamation points, I can honestly say this: I've never,
ever been excited enough about *anything* in documentation to warrant
using an exclamation point.

Heck, it's tough to justify them even in social writing. Perhaps I'm just
too repressed. Regardless, whenever the temptation to use an exclamation
point hits me or those around me, reading the sentence out loud, as
punctuated, is usually enough to kill the urge.

(Actually, reading out loud is usually the ultimate test for all aspects
of whether the writing's any good or not, but that's a different

Generally, I've found that standard callouts are sufficient to highlight
information in a graphic. Another alternative is to dim everything *else*
in the graphic (overwrite it all with a 20% gray, for example), leaving
only the important stuff in the clear.

On screen, of course, color is useful along with your graphical solution,
such as a heavy yellow (or, if dangerous, red) circle drawn around the
vital piece of info.

Hope this helps,

P.S. Is exclamation "marks" vs. exclamation "points" one of those
British/U.S.-ish differences? I've always wondered.

Internet: stockman -at- jagunet -dot- com AOL: MStockman
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