The government is calling for teachers to clamp down on what they perceive as the overuse of exclamation marks by youngsters influenced by social media.
New guidelines from the Department for Education suggest that primary school children should only use exclamation marks in sentences that begin with ‘what’ or ‘how’.
“What a lovely day!” and “How exciting!” are two of the examples contained in a detailed booklet setting out how this year’s spelling, grammar and punctuation tests and assessments should be marked.
According to the booklet, “A sentence that ends in an exclamation mark, but which does not have one of the grammatical patterns shown above, is not considered to be creditworthy as an exclamation.”
Education experts warn the move could put children off from writing creatively. They also say that the books that children read are filled with such marks.
“Donnez-moi a break!” says Professor John Sutherland, the author of ‘How Good Is Your Grammar?’.
“It is nonsense of the highest degree,” he told the Sunday Times. “I am not surprised teachers wearily sigh when these instructions come down from Whitehall.”