College Park, Maryland, December 16, 2014
Today the U.S. Center for Linguistic Statistics released the results of a longitudinal study of exclamation point usage among Americans. The statistics shed light on what many have long suspected, but have never objectively researched: some Americans disproportionately use the exclamation point.
A team of language experts participated in a far reaching, seven-year study of social media posts from Americans across various demographic groups. They worked from anecdotal evidence that some Americans used exclamation points extensively, while others rarely used them at all.
“I used an exclamation point this one time on Facebook,” says Jerry, age 41, from Alpharetta, Georgia. “I was barefoot in the kitchen and opened the refrigerator door. A can of them Grands biscuits fell right on my big toe. I thought I was gonna die. So yeah, when I posted the picture of my big blue toenail, I figured it was okay to use an exclamation point in the caption. And like Dick Cheney said about waterboarding, I’d do it again in a minute.”
Contrast that with Julie, 35, from West Little Rock, Arkansas. Exclamation points are a way of life for Julie, and not just after excruciating biscuit accidents. “I use them all the time! They work for Pinterest shares, slow cooker recipes, family game night, and date night. Especially date night!”
The numbers are striking. America’s exclamation point usage is even more concentrated than America’s wealth – the richest 5% of Americans hold 62% of the wealth. By contrast, the most exclamatory 5% of America is responsible for a full 80% of exclamation point usage.
So exactly who is using all the exclamation points? The median exclamation point user is a 34 year old white female who lives with her husband and three children. On average she holds a bachelor’s degree, has seen every Nicholas Sparks movie and drives a sensible vehicle. Further research is ongoing, and initial results show a strong positive correlation with the behaviors of the now ubiquitous “basic white girl.”
But you need not worry. The Center for Linguistic Statistics says that we are not in danger of running out of exclamation points anytime soon: “While this might seem like a crisis, exclamation points are a completely renewable resource! If you want more, you just make more!”
Editorial Note: Also due ANY DAY is the center’s GROUNDBREAKING research on electronic shouting, and who’s responsible for it.