One of the lessons of effective communications is the power of silence – like white space in graphic design, nothing can say so much.
I’m equally fond of the end of sentence ellipsis indicated by a row of three full stops to denote an intentional omission. For me, dot-dot-dot offers more than a pause – I enjoy it’s reflection of an unfinished thought or something unsaid, trailing off into silence.
This aposiopesis is a great rhetorical device telling your audience that there is more, but in the spirit of a dialogue, they are free to supply what has not been stated. It says “you know what I mean”, bringing the other person inside your thoughts; a shared joke.
Email is the natural home of my type of conversational ellipsis – it is soft and subtle, unlike so much netlingo.
In contrast, I hate the exclamation mark – especially when it arrives mob-handed, like a gang of hoodies in emails or press release headlines.
It shouts, bosses us around. Warning!!!! I am clever!!!! I am funny!!!!!! Look at the number of !!! which prove it. This is an interjection of high volume, screaming a sentence to a halt, out of breath, astonished even. It exhausts me – I need my silence, my white space, my …