'A billion hearts stop beating'
We like to think this column has its finger on the pulse of modern culture. As such, around 50% of this week's Twitter update is about punctuation. Kids love punctuation.
I think we'd all agree that this relatively long, rambling sentence exhibits few of the qualities necessary for it to be considered an exclamation! So why did I use an exclamation mark?
The exclamation mark has risen to become the most popular form of punctuation on the IPL teams' official Twitter accounts. It seems to be a written attempt to mirror the excited tones that deliver the TV commentary/hyperbole. But what is an exclamation?
Dictionary definitions place the emphasis on brevity and forcefulness. An exclamation is an excited utterance that you emit almost without control. The classic examples from cricket, would be "shot!" or "he's gone!" These are things you find yourself saying automatically when you are carried away by the action.
IPL Twitter exclamations do not meet this description.
To at least partially offset my irritation, I have decided to try and spot the least appropriate use of an exclamation mark on an official IPL Twitter account each week. Examples are not in short supply.
You can test whether something is an exclamation or not by immediately following the utterance in question with the phrase "he exclaimed" as if it were a line of dialogue from a novel.
"Aaron Finch is retained as the captain," he exclaimed.
You see? It doesn't quite work, does it?
"Jadeja back into the attack for his second over! #RR"
"Jadeja back into the attack for his second over," he exclaimed.
Again, that's not working.
Finally, how about this one?
You can make your own mind up about that. Use the "he exclaimed" method if you're unsure.
We all know that it's a big moment whenever Sachin Tendulkar comes out to bat.
A billion hearts stop beating when he bats. Join us in wishing a very Happy Birthday to @sachin_rt #WishSachin pic.twitter.com/D4SjPJabZp"
@mipaltan (Mumbai Indians account)
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Just to be clear, that was a knowingly inappropriate use of an exclamation mark.
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