IntroductionAn exclamation mark usually shows strong feeling, such assurprise, anger or joy. Using an exclamation mark when writing israther like shouting or raising your voice when speaking.Exclamation marks are most commonly used in writing quotedspeech. You should avoid using exclamation marks in formalwriting, unless absolutely necessary. Try to avoid exclamation marks in formal writing such as an essay or business letter.
1. Use an exclamation mark to indicate strong feelings or araised voice in speech: She shouted at him, "Go away! I hate you!" He exclaimed: "What a fantastic house you have!" "Good heavens!" he said, "Is that true?" "Help!" "Shut up!" "Stop!"
2. Many interjections need an exclamation mark: "Hi! Whats new?" "Oh! When are you going?" "Ouch! That hurt."3. A non-question sentence beginning with "what" or "how"is often an exclamation and requires an exclamation mark: What idiots we are! (We are such idiots.) How pretty she looked in that dress! (She looked very pretty in that dress.)
4. In very informal writing (personal letter or email), peoplesometimes use two or more exclamation marks together: I met John yesterday. He is so handsome!!! Remember, dont be late!! Ill never understand this language!!!!
Exclamation Points RulesIn English, the rules for using quotation marks withexclamation points follow the same general rules asquestion marks. And although you aren’t likely to usequotation marks with semicolons, in case you want toimpress your grammar teacher, the rules are included here.
The exclamation point is used at the end of a sentence orafter an interjection to show strong emotion or emphasis. Exclamatory sentence: The rain did not stop for four days! Strong command: Be back at ten oclock or else! Interjection: Wow!
When an emphatic interjection or direct address begins asentence, you may use an exclamation point or a comma,depending on how much you want to show the strong emotion. Correct: No, I dont want to go there. Correct, more emotion: No, I dont want to go there! Correct, even more emphasis: No! I dont want to go there! Beware of overusing exclamation points. Using them too frequently makes them less meaningful.
Use of an exclamation point inside parentheses is used by some to show irony.Usually, the ironic tone should be clear from the words, butsometimes this special punctuation is added for emphasis.Some authorities do not consider this constructionnecessary, and it is of very limited use in most standardEnglish writing.OK, informal: That butcher (!) is a vegetarian.(The punctuation is probably not necessary, but it wasplaced there to emphasize the irony.)
Use an exclamation point [ ! ] at the end of an emphatic declaration, interjection, or command. "No!" he yelled. "Do it now!"An exclamation mark may be used to close questions that aremeant to convey extreme emotion, as in What on earth are you doing! Stop!An exclamation mark can be inserted within parentheses toemphasize a word within a sentence. We have some really(!) low-priced rugs on sale this week.Note that there is no space between the last letter of the wordso emphasized and the parentheses. This device should beused rarely, if ever, in formal text.
An exclamation mark will often accompany mimetically producedsounds, as in "All night long, the dogs woof! in my neighbors yard" "The bear went Grr!, and I went left."If an exclamation mark is part of an italicized or underlined title,make sure that the exclamation mark is also italicized orunderlined: My favorite book is Oh, the Places Youll Go!(Do not add a period after such a sentence that ends with thetitles exclamation mark. The exclamation mark will also sufficeto end the sentence.) If the exclamation mark is not part of asentence-ending title, dont italicize the exclamation mark: Ive asked you not to sing la Marseillaise!
In academic prose, an exclamation point is used rarely, if at all, and in newspaper writing the exclamation point is virtually nonexistent.If the entire sentence is an exclamation, but the quoted wordsaren’t, put the exclamation point outside the quotation marks.If the quoted words are an exclamation, put the exclamationpoint inside the quotation marks. Here are some sample sentences with exclamation points: Gene said, “I can’t believe it’s not butter!” (The quoted words are an exclamation but the entire sentence is not.) I simply cannot believe that Gene actually said, “No, thank you”! (Now the entire sentence is an exclamation but the quoted words are not.)
If both the sentence and the quotation are exclamations, putthe exclamation point inside the quotation marks. Take a look at this example: I cannot believe that Gene actually said, “No way would I run for president!”No matter what, don’t use two exclamation points: Wrong: I refuse to believe that Gene said, “In your dreams!”! Right: I refuse to believe that Gene said, “In your dreams!”
Quiz Time!Directions: Decide if the following sentencesshould end with an exclamation point. Click oneither “Yes” or “No”.Example: WRONGI am so happy! We won the game ! Yes No
1) Can we go now WRONG Yes No2) Ouch! I hurt my knee ! WRONG Yes No3) What time is it WRONG Yes No4) I am tired WRONG Yes No5) Where are we going WRONG Yes No WRONG !6) I am so excited because today is my birthday Yes No7) Good morning everyone WRONG Yes No8) Does anyone know his name WRONG Yes No
9) Hooray! We are finally free ! WRONG Yes No10) “Hey!” the man yelled, “Please help me” ! WRONG Yes No11) Do you know how to get to 12 street WRONG Yes No12) My car is old WRONG Yes No13) I am sleepy WRONG Yes No14) The airplane is going to crash WRONG Yes No15) I just won the lottery ! WRONG Yes No
Answers1) Can we go now _ No2) Ouch! I hurt my knee _ Yes3) What time is it _ No4) I am tired _ No5) Where are we going _ No6) I am so excited because today is my birthday _ Yes7) Good morning everyone. _ No8) Does anyone know his name _ No9) Hooray! We are finally free _ Yes10) “Hey!” the man yelled, “Please help me” _ Yes11) Do you know how to get to 12 street _ No12) My car is old _ No13) I am sleepy _ No14) The airplane is going to crash _ No15) I just won the lottery _ Yes
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