Thursday, 12 November 2009

Internet Laws Part 1: The Law of Exclamation

"The more exclamation points used in an email (or other posting), the more likely it is a complete lie. This is also true for excessive capital letters."

This law is related to author Terry Pratchett's field test for insanity, in which an increasing number of exclamation marks from one to five indicates increased separation from reality, with five exclamation marks being an infallible indicator of the speaker or writer being "someone who wears their underwear on the outside".

Other examples of The Law of Exclamation include phrases such as: "this is true, it ACTUALLY HAPPENED to me!!!!" or "This is SPOOKY!!! I thought it was just an urban legend, but it isn't!!!!".


  1. In old skool publishing circles, the exclamation point is known as a "happy".

    "No happies!" an editor once barked at me. It left me purplexed but soon realised what he was getting at.

    This story is true because it REALLY HAPPENED TO ME!!!!

  2. I couldn't agree more. Just today, I launched a campaign to purge excessive capitalization from my students' handwriting. You have no idea how many otherwise-intelligent kids with perfectly legible handwriting capitalize one-third of the alphabet without reason.

  3. Darren:

    Thanks for the intro to the term 'happies', never heard that before, a useful addition.


    I blame the Interwebs...

  4. A) Generally, when I'm reading comments on some blog with a large following, I just skip right over any comment containing all-cap phrases. They are always written by nutters.

    B) It's always good to see anyone else quote Terry Pratchett. For a guy who is one of the most popular writers in England, nobody seems to know who he is.

  5. Dave:

    That rule is a good one but sometimes hard to ignore and yes, although not a fan of Pratchett myself really, I do respect his work a great deal and his worldwide success.

    Unlike Rowling his name is not as famous as his Discworld brand.


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