No more ex­cla­ma­tion marks, peo­ple!

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Points Of View -

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

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