30 September 2015
Why you should not use exclamation points in a book title

A Grammar Tip From Editor Amanda Greenslade

When I am editing somebody's book manuscript or cover design, I will tend to remove punctuation, especially exclamation points, from the title. It is not common to include punctuation in a title, and it is unnecessary to use exclamation marks. Two is even worse than one.

If you find yourself inserting exclamation marks in your title, pause for a moment and ask yourself if that emotion you're trying to express is more for your own benefit than the reader's. You feel it is important. That's why you've written an entire book on the subject; and the title epitomises the overarching theses of your book. You are emotionally attached to it.

But if you have a good title it should not need any exclamation points. After all it will be in big bold letters on the front cover and title pages of your book.

We know you think it is important.

You've chosen it for the title of your book.

Book titles are important and stand out by their very nature. They almost always do not need any exclamation points.

Exclamation points should not be used casually in any of your writing, but especially your title.

"Overuse of exclamation points is a sign of undisciplined writing. Do not use even one of these marks unless you're convinced it is justified." (Source)

There are some books with exclamation points in the title, but you'll notice these are usually indicating strong emotion or yelling, and are often in dialogue-based or comedic titles.

Oh, The Places You'll Go! Dr Seuss
Thud!
Terry Pratchett
(Source)

So next time you find yourself adding an exclamation mark to a book title, article title, chapter title, or any other title, just stop and ask yourself, is it really necessary?!?!?!

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