Fran has written a brilliant sonnet bemoaning the demise of the semi-colon. So while I'm not as clever as she is, and couldn't write a sonnet to save my life, I thought I'd contribute a little verse about my own bete noir: the exclamation mark.
The semi-colon's gone, but hark!
Here comes the exclamation mark.
Unsubtle, crass (though tall and slim),
With hobnailed boots it charges in
To give us all a playful poke:
"Come on, now! Geddit? Get the joke?!"
In notes and letters, they'll be found.
In "funny" greetings cards, they abound.
Sometimes in twos, or even threes,
To emphasise, or mock, or tease.
"Having a lovely time!" they shout,
"The wine is strong!! The sun is out!!!"
"Went paddling among the breakers
(Now Gilbert's with the undertakers!!!!!")
This, gentle reader, makes me sad,
For what do all these EMs add?
It's time we learnt, the only occasion
For the exclamation mark, is - an exclamation.
(Apostrophe poem, anyone?)