Let us remove our hats and have a moment of silence for that workhorse of the sentence, the period. What has been a steadfast and dignified conclusion to the statement is being replaced by exclamation marks, ellipses, and—recently and mysteriously—blank spaces.
Sadly, the exclamation point has been long abused to create emphasis that language should import instead. Many do not seem to realize that a period imbues a necessary solemnity that can offer more emotional weight than an exclamation mark. For example, compare the following two statements:
I hate poor punctuation!
I hate poor punctuation.
Which of these is squealed by a twelve-year-old girl, and which is expressed calmly by an adult? The exclamation point loses strength with each use. It is used most appropriately and almost exclusively in direct quotations. Try not to use it elsewhere, unless breathless excitement or anger is indicated. And, for the record, only one exclamation point can be used at a time!!!
The ellipsis (...) was created to indicate missing words, used to shorten a quote to its most meaningful phrasing while staying true to the author’s actual words. Somehow it has come to indicate a pause that isn’t quite the conclusion that a period provides...thus depriving us of a chance to take a literary breath...never quite coming to that satisfying finish so necessary for jumping to a new topic...
Lastly—for now—I come to that curious new interloper, the blank space Is this the function of an overworked “period” key But what about those other punctuation marks also left blank Are you going nuts yet as I would reading this And how are they ignoring all those green squiggly lines in their docs I’m sorry but this must stop With a period.
P.S. How many of you are carefully proofing your comments before you hit "publish?"