Exclamation Point!

The history of the exclamation point (AKA: the bang, screamer, gasper and startler) is foggy at best. The current theory, according to Smithsonian Magazine, is that the exclamation point comes from the Latin word “Io”, which was a way to express joy. “Io” would be written with the “I” sitting on top of the “o”, making a rudimentary version of the exclamation point we (over!) use today!!! The term “bang” came into play in the printing and publishing worlds to show emphasis on words that, when spoken, would have the tone and volume to express their excitement. Another fun fact – keyboards did not have a dedicated “exclamation point” key until the 1970s. Prior to adding the key, typists would need to type a period, then backspace and type in an apostrophe! Thank goodness for that button, now!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Exclamation Point (Chartreuse) by Richard Artschwager via Flickr

Exclamation Point (Chartreuse) by Richard Artschwager via Flickr

ACTIVITY

Begin with a “Bang!”

As you are reading to your kid(s), when you see an exclamation point in the book, say “Bang!” and come up with a motion, clap or funny face to use when you say it (as opposed to banging on the table or floor…that can get disruptive and annoying pretty quickly!). As your child becomes familiar with the same books, s/he will remember where the “bangs!” are and may even WANT to read more to play the “bang game.” As your kids get older, you can explain from where the term came and still have fun playing it. 

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