No more exclamation marks, people!
We are in danger of being overwhelmed by exclamation marks. Many of the letters and emails we receive at the KE and most of the comments on our website and Facebook page are littered with exclamation marks.
Occasionally, and it has to be occasionally, the use of an exclamation mark is valid, to emphasise a point.
So how did this over-used feature originate?
One theory is that it is derived from a Latin exclamation of joy (io). Medieval copyists wrote io at the end of a sentence to express ‘hurray’. As time passed, the i moved above the o, and the o was reduced to a point.
Exclamation marks were first introduced into English printing in the 15th century to show emphasis, and they were called the “sign of admiration or exclamation”.
In the printing world, an exclamation mark can be called a screamer, a gasper, a slammer or a startler.
In the world of hackers, the exclamation mark is called “bang” or “shriek”.
So now you know, and now please stop using exclamation marks so much.
They are unnecessary! Irrelevant! Annoying! Pointless!
Regular contributor Ted Prangnell reckons Ashford could be called ‘Obese City’, because not enough of us are taking exercise like cycling or walking.
Ted, a dedicated cyclist, sent us this picture of an empty bike rack at the town’s Eureka Leisure Park, explaining: “We are often hearing that people are obese because they are not getting enough exercise, and there are also complaints that there is too much traffic clogging and polluting our town.
“On one of my visits through Eureka Leisure Park during Easter, I noticed that whilst the car parks were full with hundreds of cars, I saw only two adult bicycles parked there.
“A huge amount of ground space is eaten up for parking cars whilst one parking bay can probably accommodate a dozen or more bicycles. Most journeys are estimated to be no more than seven miles, which is no distance on a bicycle.
“There are at least a dozen more huge car parks in and around Ashford, nullifying acres of valuable land. It is surprising how much shopping one can carry on a bike, and the exercise that involves is so good for you.
“This example of the ratio of cycle trips to those by car is very poor indeed, let us see more folk on two wheels.”
Anyone in a prominent position like Gerry Clarkson, the leader of Ashford Borough Council can expect to take a fair bit of flack.
And for an experienced politician such as Gerry it’s usually water off a duck’s back.
But he’s maybe just suffered the ultimate insult ... being likened to disgraced former leader of world football body Fifa, Sepp Blatter.
The comparison came in an anonymous email we received criticising the fact that long-serving council employee Tracey Kerly has been confirmed as ABC’s chief executive without the job being advertised to others.
The email writer said: “In short ABC has its very own Sepp Blatter, a one-man decision-making machine.”
Here, there and everywhere: the ubiquitous exclamation mark, former Fifa president Sepp Blatter and Ashford council leader Gerry Clarkson. And leisureseeking cyclists seem few and far between, as these bike racks at the Eureka Leisure Park show