What Type of Punctuation Mark Are You?

I’m a procrastinator. I try to deny it in front of my parents and friends, but usually to no avail. I sit down in front of my books ready to study, but suddenly and helplessly find myself doing something else. I shop online, eat, take a nap, think about what I want to eat next, eat that, and the cycle continues. One of my favorite procrastinating tools –and also my sworn enemy –is Buzzfeed. It’s got everything: gifs of cats falling off tables, recipes for pancakes from around the world, and (most importantly) pictures of shirtless Ryan Gosling. That reminds me, I need to go on Buzzfeed real quick…

One aspect of Buzzfeed that I especially love is the “What Type of *insert object* Are You” segments. From “What Type of Book Are You” to “What Type of Social Media Are You,” these articles are incredibly entertaining. Taking inspiration from this, I made a “What Type of Punctuation Mark Are You.” Take a gander and find your punctuation mark spirit animal.

The Question Mark [?]

You’re generally confused and always asking questions. A beat behind everyone else, you often find yourself copying homework for a class you forgot to attend. (Is Writing 220 on Monday or Tuesday?) Despite these fallbacks, you could make a great journalist one day because you’re not afraid to ask the tough questions.

The Ellipsis […]

Similar to the Question Mark. You need a little more time than the average person to figure things out. You’re not yet sure what you want in life and have trouble making decisions. It takes just a quick pause to find your answer and move on.

The Exclamation Point [!]

You’re the life of the party. You make the best of any situation because you find excitement in everything. You can be a little dramatic sometimes, but usually have good intentions. A text from you will brighten up a friends day.

The Period [.]

The foil to the Exclamation Point. You like things to be short, occasionally sweet, and to the point. You are not at the top of the party invite list because you always bring the fun to an end. Texting you is often tense, as you’re always moody. “Fine.” “Ok.” “No.”

The Dash [–]

You’re a good person to have around. You’re knowledgeable and always there to fill in the blanks for people, or give information. Your timing could use work, though, because you’re always interrupting.

Punctuation: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

When I approached this task, writing a post about favorite and least favorite punctuation, the first step I took was to look up a list of punctuation marks so I could make sure I was choosing from a complete list. I discovered that in the English language there are 14 punctuation marks. 14 seemed surprisingly low considering how much time I spent throughout elementary and middle school staring at the blackboard while my teacher lectured for (what seemed like) hours on the four types of commas.

Despite my initial disbelief, I was still sure of my choice for least favorite punctuation mark: the exclamation point. (!) The exclamation point is and always will be the most unoriginal, lazy way to send a message. If you’re using language effectively and efficiently, the words should be strong enough to convey your message by themselves. If you think about it, every other type of punctuation has a unique purpose. The apostrophe makes contractions possible and denotes possession. Colons and commas both separate thoughts and eliminate confusion. Quotation marks bring life to dialogue. But the exclamation point? It modestly alters the tone of the sentence to make it slightly more impactful. There is nothing the exclamation point can do that a can’t be accomplished by a well-worded sentence.

My disdain for the exclamation point is quite different from my admiration for the semicolon. (;) Maybe it’s because of its complicated rules or antiquated origins, but I enjoy that the use of the semicolon is reserved for writers who make an effort to really understand it. People who do not actively pursue writing or care for proper grammar and punctuation usage never attempt to use the semicolon. It eloquently strings independent clauses together; this is no easy task for many writers. It’s as if the semicolon is the Hamptons of punctuation marks (for reference, the exclamation point is about equivalent to Fort Lauderdale full of spring breakers). 

For many, punctuation rules can confuse many young writers. Once mastered, however, punctuation has the power to give new meaning to writing. period.

The best kind of punctuation.
The best kind of punctuation.