If anybody has read much of this blog, you will notice that I use a lot of exclamation marks.
Why? I just like them!
My father was a fan too. But as someone who has set letterpress type, I can appreciate how some letters are favourites and others you just hate. Try spotting the difference between full-stops and commas in something like 6 or 8 point type. It’s not easy.
But the exclamation mark is always instantly recognisable. So do I use it, as I have this hatred of full-stops?
Simon Mayo asked a question on his radio show, as to whether there were any places other than Westward Ho!, that contained exclamation marks. This prompted a search of Wikipedia and the answer was duly e-mailed in and read out. (Simon must have read out upwards of a dozen of my e-mails, but then his father taught me geography at school.)
Hence this post.
Here’s the e-mail.
The English town of Westward Ho!, named after the novel by Charles Kingsley, is the only place-name in the United Kingdom that officially contains an exclamation mark. There is a town in Quebec called Saint-Louis-du-Ha! Ha!, which is spelled with two exclamation marks. The city of Hamilton, Ohio changed its name to Hamilton! in 1986.
Now reading Wikipedia about exclamation marks, observes that computer programmers like me call them shrieks. I do but not because of that.
My father did too! As a printer he was supposed to call them bangs.
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