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Punctuated! For! Emphasis!

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Messenger: This is blasphemy! This is madness!
Leonidas: Madness? …This! Is! SPARTA!

Describe! Punctuated! For! Emphasis! HERE!!!


This is dialogue transformed into spectacle. It is normally used in Chewing the Scenery and with accordance to the Rule of Cool, and is a favorite handwave for Acoustic License. A person who does this often will come across as a Large Ham or just someone with No Indoor Voice. Done badly, it can torpedo a dramatic scene. Done well, it can be part of a Moment of Awesome, although rarely the only component.

Often it's done with exclamation points to invoke the dramatic power of an emotional character, who's showing that you'd better take him seriously.

For a character who's cool, calm and unfazed (but no less professional and serious) it is done with periods, sometimes to show being serious, others to show whomever just used the exclamation points that they're not impressed.

Many times invokes the Rule of Three. If so, can overlap with Worst. Whatever. Ever!. Sometimes a part of a Skyward Scream or Spelling for Emphasis. If each word is accompanied with an attack then it's a Punctuated Pounding. If the delivery ends with a swear, then it's This Is for Emphasis, Bitch!.

A frequent variant, notably in Anime & Manga, is when a female character articulates the end of a sentence on a quiet, seductive tone to tease a male one (heart optional). Just. Like. This. ♡

Often leads to the line becoming memetic. An interesting experiment is to go on a Memetic Mutation page and see how many of the entries aren't due to Chewing the Scenery, Punctuated! For! Emphasis!, or hilarious Narm (often because of the other two).


    Asian! ANIMATION! 
  • Weslie in Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf: Rescue Across Time, upon learning that Wolffy's back to his old ways: "You're... still... catching... goats?"

    Comic! STRIPS! 
  • Over the Hedge: A Drill Sergeant Nasty demands twenty push-ups from R.J. and Verne. When Verne reveals his one push-up bra, which he uses to cover his alleged ears, the sarge asks "WHAT? IS? HAPPENING?"

    Pin! BALL! 
  • Early "talking" solid-state Pinball games could only talk this way, often combining it with Machine Monotone and Mad Libs Dialogue. With a few years, however,, it was now possible to include longer recorded voice samples, making this trope's use strictly an artistic choice.
  • Gorgar was the first commercially-release talking pinball.
    • "ME! GOT! YOU!"
    • "ME... HURT!"
  • Space Shuttle: "READY - FOR - LIFTOFF!"
  • Pin*Bot: "Pin*Bot - circuits - activated!"
  • The Getaway: High Speed II has "RED - LINE - MANIA!"
  • The Addams Family: "THE - MA - MUSHKA!"
  • Rush (2022): One of the voice clips that plays upon tilting the game ends with Ed Robertson angrily telling the player "Don't... shake... the... machine!"

    RA… DI… O! 
  • From Adventures in Odyssey: During the "Darkness Before Dawn" arc, Richard Maxwell crosses paths with middle-management villain "Jellyfish". After being kept in jail about half a year longer than his sentence should have lasted, he isn't happy. As such, he informs him that apart from cleaning up his act, one thing hasn't changed:
    "I. Never. Forget."
  • From the classic Barbara Frum interview on the CBC Radio show As It Happens: "WHAT! DID! YOU! FEED! THE! GODDAMN! CABBAGE?!?!"
  • Bleak Expectations: Pip Bin when his wife reminds him of the nursery rhyme "Undead Georgie felt no pain/Til Isabella destroyed his brain":
    Pip: What the hell. Kind of nursery rhyme. Is THAT?
  • Bob & Ray's "Slow Talkers of America" skit offers a nifty subversion of the trope, in that it's the relentless lack of drama that eventually sends the interviewer over the edge:
    Bob: (as president Harlow P. Whitcomb) ... the STOA... the Slow...
    Ray: Talkers of America, right. Now, you—
    Bob: ... Talkers...
    Ray: Of America!
    Bob: ... of...
    Ray: America! Of AMERICA!!
    Bob: ... America.
  • Cabin Pressure: "IT'S! A! CAKE!" (loud SPLAT!)
  • Journey into Space: At the beginning of every episode, a voice - either Guy Kingsley Poynter (Doc) or David Jacobs - intones "JOURNEY. INTO. SPACE!"
  • Lights Out: "!"
  • Lo Zoo Di 105: The usual response to Herbert's lame puns.
  • NPR's On The Media with Brooke Gladstone and Bob Garfield always ends with:
    Bob Garfield: "And".
  • X Minus One: The show's title would be announced as "X! MINUS! ONE!".


Alternative Title(s): This Is SPARTA, Punctuated Emphasis



Edward really gets tired of Vane loudly fuming about being screwed over by Rackham.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (4 votes)

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