Crikey! War Against Exclamation Marks!

In pursuit of ‘opportunity for all’, purportedly, the English Department of Education has launched an all-out assault on the ever versatile, lively and vivacious exclamation mark!

There – now, look what I’ve done. If I was a seven year old, in school in England and had just written that sentence, i would be in trouble with the great and the good of the Department.

Independent – UK – Seven Year Olds Get Strict New Rules On Use Of Exclamation Marks

I hope that someone with a lot more time on their hands than me would do the analysis to find out how many of the Whitbread and Booker prize winning novels of the last 10-15 years would fail against these new rules. I’m guessing many would. I also suspect the likes of Roddy Doyle and Irvine Welsh would be spending considerable time in the naughty corner. And as for the late Sir Terry Pratchett, well , just …. !!!

Writers write for an audience and according to a given context. You don’t write a letter to your Grandma (does anyone still write letters to their Grandmas? I hope so.) in the same way you write an article for the NewYorker or your doctoral thesis. Those who write, do so for a purpose – a desire to communicate, to take ideas from the mind and capture them. Teachers complain very frequently that children lack the motivation to write. Should we really be surprised if they gt bound up from such an early stage in their development as writers with endless rules like this? Surely, our first priority should be to motivate them to want to share their ideas in permanent form. In time, as they lose their egocentricity they will come to recognise the need for different approaches depending on the audience. They can then learn the requisite skills to meet the needs and expectations of those different audiences. However, if they’ve been completely switched off from writing, then none of those skills will ever be learned.

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