Blog

Working in self-organizing teams. Or: how we get rid of management

Today's world is VUCA : volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous. Companies are facing complex challenges such as Industry 4.0 and the Internet of Things. Those who do not respond fast, may be driven out of the market. more ...

Office Pets. Part II: Blacky and Felix

This is the second (and last) part of our blog series about office pets. This time, we present Blacky and Felix, two brothers. They are six years old, curious, and always hungry. more ...

Check if or check that? Or: Have you tried turning if off and on again?

How often do we read or write that we should check something? Example: "Check if the computer is connected to power." Clear message, no misunderstanding. But what if it says: "Check that the computer is connected to power." more ...

Ten questions for Ines Lasch, intern at parson

Ines Lasch just finished her vocational training as a technical writer and is doing an eight-week internship at parson. We asked her ten questions. more ...

Vocational Training for Technical Communicators. How Does it Work?

Anja Schiel, trainee, and Ulrike Parson, CEO of parson AG, offer their insights into the vocational training for technical communicators. more ...

The Exclamation Mark Killer

I'll come right to the point. I dislike exclamation marks. I avoid them. One exclamation mark feels loud, two or more even threatening. If you use the right word, you won't need one. "You're an idiot." That will do. 

Terry Pratchet says: "Five exclamation marks, the sure sign of an insane mind." I cannot agree more.

Don't get me wrong. I do not want to abolish the exclamation mark. We need it. According to the Duden, the dictionary of the German language, we may use it with commandsrequests, or exclamations:

"Give it to me!"
"But I want ice cream!"
"Ouch!"

We also like to use the exclamation mark with allegations and insults. Latter are common in social networks and online newspaper comments. There, the commentators like to fill entire lines with exclamation marks. They are also a favorite of the tabloid press. Just look at those headlines.

For those who love series of exclamation marks, I recommend the Ausrufezeichen-Vernichter. It's in German and translates into something like "exclamation mark killer": http://www.buchstabendose.de/dosen/ausrufezeichen.php. Try it anyway, it's multilingual.

In technical documentation, the exclamation mark makes sense. For example, we use it to indicate potential hazard:

"WARNING! Risk of burns! Do not touch the screen."

I suppose I could write a lot about warnings in technical documentation now. But I won't. I just wanted to say something about unnecessary exclamation marks!

  • linkedin
  • xing