What Is an Exclamation Point? | Punctuation Explained
Exclamation point in coral circle with definition and example sentence
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An exclamation point is a punctuation mark that shows emphasis or emotion in a written sentence. It looks like a period with a vertical line over it: !
Like periods and question marks, exclamation points are end punctuation marks — they go at the ends of sentences to change the tone of a sentence.
- I got into college. (Calm tone)
- I got into college! (Excited tone)
- I got into college? (Confused tone)
- Take out the trash. (Calm tone)
- Take out the trash! (Angry tone)
- Take out the trash? (Confused tone)
In this article
Exclamation Point Examples
Exclamation points can affect the tone of a sentence in ways that a period can’t. Some examples of exclamation in a sentence include:
- Yes, I will marry you!
- Oh! That is a gorgeous dress!
- Wow! I can’t believe I ran into you here.
- Jessica told me that you’re having a baby!
- “You are in a lot of trouble!” shouted Will’s dad.
- Help! I locked myself out of my house!
- No! I forgot my homework again!
- My favorite movie is playing. Let’s go!
- You’re supposed to use two coats of paint, not one!
- Stop! Don’t throw me in the pool!
- How dare you copy my answers!
- “Get out of my way!” snapped the old lady.
Notice that some sentences have exclamation marks after an interjection but a period after the next sentence. This makes the interjection pop in your writing.
When used in a quote, exclamation marks should be inside the quotation marks, just like all punctuation.
Is It “Exclamation Mark” or “Exclamation Point”?
If you’re from the United States, exclamation point is more popular than exclamation mark. However, exclamation mark is more widely used around the world, particularly in countries that use British English.
When To Use an Exclamation Point
It seems obvious to say that exclamation points exclaim, but that’s what they do.
They can also make your sentence sound a little ruder than you mean it to be. The key to using exclamation points is understanding how they change the tone of particular sentences — and whether that’s really what you want to do.
Use Exclamation Points To Change Declarations Into Exclamations
When you write a declarative sentence, you’re making a straightforward statement with a period (I love puppies. )
Changing the period into an exclamation point creates an exclamatory sentence — a sentence that shows strong emotions.
- I can’t wait to go to Disneyland! (Excited tone)
- You already bought a new car! (Surprised tone)
- How dare you disobey me! (Angry tone)
- That mountain is even bigger than I thought! (Awed tone)
- We don’t want to go to the party! (Emphasizing a point)
Use Exclamation Points To Emphasize Interjections
Is your sentence still not strong enough?
You don’t need multiple exclamation points — just add an interjection (a word or phrase that exclaims, commands or protests) followed by an exclamation point.
- Yay! I can’t wait to go to Disneyland!
- Oh! You already bought a new car!
- Hey! How dare you disobey me!
- Wow! That mountain is even bigger than I thought!
- No! We don’t want to go to the party!
Use Exclamation Marks To Turn Requests Into Commands
When an imperative sentence ends in a period, it’s making a polite request or issuing an instruction. The tone is serious and calm.
- Please turn your music down.
- Pass the mashed potatoes.
- Lend me fifty dollars, please.
When you change these periods into exclamation points, you get strong commands (and removing please helps, too).
- Turn your music down!
- Pass the mashed potatoes!
- Lend me fifty dollars!
The exclamation point appeared in the English language in the 15th century. Originally called the note of admiration (punctus admirativus), it only recently became more popular (it didn’t even exist as a separate key on standard typewriters until the 1970s).
What Does “?!” Mean?
Exclamation points add emphasis to declarative and imperative sentences, but what about when you want to express surprise in a question (known as an interrogative sentence)? Or when you want to add disbelief to a statement?
That’s where a question mark-exclamation point combo, sometimes known as an interrobang (‽), comes in handy.
It combines a question mark and exclamation point (?! or even ?!?!) when neither punctuation mark does the trick.
- You sold your car?! (Incredulous statement)
- How are we going to get home?! (Question with panic)
- We’re out of money?! (Statement with disbelief)
- Are you awake?! (Question with urgency)
As perfect as this combination can be in casual writing, such as in emails or text messages, it’s not a formal writing convention.
The same goes for multiple exclamation points (!!!!) — don’t use them outside conversational or informal writing.
What Does It Mean When People Add (!) to Their Sentence?
Another place you may see an exclamation point is between two parentheses in the middle of a sentence. These exclamation points add some conversational flair to written sentences. For example:
- I aced the test (!) and then went to soccer practice.
- Because of the huge storm coming through (!) we couldn’t take the freeway.
- Maribeth said yes (!) before telling me she’s always liked me (!!) and then we kissed (!!!!!)
One exclamation point in parentheses typically means “This part of the sentence is surprising, but that’s not all.”
You can add more exclamation points throughout the sentence, especially if the news becomes increasingly good or shocking.
Exclamation Point Practice Quiz
What is an exclamation mark?
Understand how to punctuate exclamation sentences and how to communicate sudden and strong emotion in writing with our parents’ guide to exclamation marks.
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What is an exclamation mark?
An exclamation mark is a punctuation mark which looks like a straight line with a dot underneath it. It is used to show that an exclamation, an interjection or a statement sentence has finished.
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An exclamation sentence starts with ‘What’ or ‘How’ and ends with an exclamation mark. For example:
For the purposes of the primary curriculum, children in Key Stage 1 are taught to punctuate exclamation sentences using an exclamation mark at the end, and will be expected to demonstrate this knowledge in the KS1 SATs grammar paper at the end of Year 2.
As children progress through school, they will be encouraged to punctuate some statements and interjections with exclamation marks as well. Exclamation marks are used at the end of statements when a strong emotion is being expressed (good and bad – surprise, excitement or delight, but also anger, fear or shock), and tell a reader to add emphasis to a sentence.
They might also suggest that a speaker is shouting. For example:
What is an interjection?
An interjection is a word on its own, or used as part of a sentence, that expresses sudden emotion such as surprise, joy or enthusiasm. Interjections are usually used at the beginning of a sentence, and when used on their own can be a sentence in their own right. For example:
When are exclamation marks taught in the primary classroom?
Exclamation marks in their most basic form (at the end of exclamation sentences) are taught first in Year 1, at the same time as children are taught the difference between ‘yelling’ ‘telling’ and ‘asking’ in writing. Children will be taught to demarcate an exclamation sentence that starts in ‘How’ or ‘What’ with an exclamation mark.
Further emphasis is placed on exclamation marks again in Year 2, when children will be expected to identify exclamation sentences for the KS1 SATs, and be able to punctuate them accurately along with commands and questions. Here is an example of an SATs-style exclamation mark question:
Throughout the rest of their time at primary school, children’s knowledge of exclamation marks will be reinforced (from Year 3 onwards they will be using exclamation marks in direct speech punctuation).
Children will again be tested on their ability to demarcate questions, exclamations and statements accurately in the KS2 SATs Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar test.
It is not an explicit requirement for children to be able to write exclamation sentences or use exclamation marks within their writing to reach age-related standards, however most teachers will expect to see them used accurately in children’s writing once they reach upper Key Stage 2.
How are exclamation marks taught?
During Year 1, exclamation marks will usually be taught through drama and reading aloud.
From Year 2, children will be expected to understand exclamation sentences and use exclamation marks in their written work. The use and identification of exclamation marks is usually part of the grammar objectives of an English lesson.
Exclamatory sentences — examples, punctuation marks (5th grade, Russian)
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The characteristic of a sentence includes such a thing as the types of sentences according to intonation. These are exclamatory and non-exclamatory sentences. We talk about the differences between these proposals in article
The material was prepared jointly with the teacher of the highest category Koroschup Lyubov Alexandrovna.
Experience as a teacher of Russian language and literature — 30 years.
Distinguishing sentences by intonation
The intonation of a sentence is often confused with the purpose of the utterance. However, these are completely different concepts.
According to the purpose of the statement, sentences are divided into narrative, interrogative and incentive. The former report something, the latter contain a question, while the third encourage action (they contain a request, order, wish, etc.).
A sentence with any purpose of expression can be pronounced with a special emotional coloring, that is, with a pronounced feeling. It can be joy, anger, indignation, delight, and so on. It is the special emotionality in the letter that is conveyed with the help of an exclamation point.
Let’s give examples of exclamatory sentences and similar non-exclamatory sentences:
- Spring has come. — Spring came!
- Did you write an essay? — Did you write an essay?
- Bring some water. — Bring some water!
How to distinguish an exclamatory sentence?
If we read an already prepared text, we can easily distinguish an exclamatory sentence by the punctuation mark — there is an exclamation mark at the end of it.
By ear, we distinguish exclamatory sentences from non-exclamatory sentences by how emotionally they are pronounced. The information in the exclamatory and similar non-exclamatory sentences contains the same information, but the exclamatory sentence is pronounced with greater expression, louder, with the expression of some emotion.
Do not confuse incentive and exclamatory sentences: there are both exclamatory, not being incentive, and incentive, not being exclamatory.
For example, sentence «Spring has come.» contains the usual statement of fact. It is impossible to conclude how the speaker relates to this event.
Sentence «Spring has come!» expresses strong emotions, expression. Most likely, the speaker wants to express his joy (although this cannot be determined by the exclamation point: maybe he wants to express grief, irritation, fear, or another strong emotion).
Exclamatory sentences are often found in journalistic texts, where they perform a rhetorical function.
The main marker (sign) of an exclamatory sentence is an exclamation point. This is one of the end-of-sentence signs; it is quite enough to show that the sentence has ended. However, in some cases, not one, but three exclamation marks are used at the end of a sentence. This is done in order to emphasize a very strong emotion.
Two signs are required at the end of interrogative exclamatory sentences: a question mark and an exclamation point. An exclamation point at the end of a sentence is usually placed after a question mark. Such sentences often contain not just an emotional question, but rather a rhetorical question, expressing indignation or bewilderment to a greater extent than a desire for an answer.
Some sentences end with an exclamation mark and an ellipsis. Then one of the dots (the first one) is replaced by an exclamation point. Example: «What an amazing event!..»
Another common use of the exclamation mark is in the design of hits. However, it must be borne in mind that this is not a proposal in the full sense.
What have we learned?
Exclamatory sentences express special emotions, feelings, they end with an exclamation mark. Exclamatory sentences can be sentences that differ in the purpose of the statement. When meeting at the end of a sentence with question and exclamation marks, you should first write a question mark; when an exclamation mark and an ellipsis meet, the first of the dots is replaced by an exclamation mark.
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Exclamatory sentences (with examples)
- 1 Types of exclamatory sentences
- 2 Use of interjections and particles
- 3 Exclamation as evidence of joy
- 4 Presence of three characters
- 5 Additional examples
B There are exclamatory sentences in Russian. They are used to convey vivid emotions — delight, surprise, anger and many others. Exclamatory sentences are present in literary works — prose and poetry. But they are almost never used in scientific works.
Types of exclamatory sentences
Literary works are composed in a concise language, using rich images, comparisons, epithets. They also contain exclamatory sentences. When using them, you need to pay attention to punctuation marks. Exclamatory sentences are divided into declarative, interrogative and imperative. With their help, texts acquire an emotional coloring.
To better understand the nuances presented, consider the following examples:
- What a lovely dog! How interesting her ears stick out! (Descriptive exclamatory sentence).
- Can a cat really become a man’s best friend?! (Interrogative-exclamatory sentence).
- Let’s go for a walk today! (Incentive).
All the presented types of sentences allow you to diversify speech, literary texts and the Russian language. The main thing is that each of them fits its context.
Use of interjections and particles
To enhance the emotional coloring of the text, to make it expressive, interjections or particles are used: “Ah”, “Oh”, “Well”, “What the”, “Oh”, etc. Such examples can be found both in literature and in the cinema: “Well, what a charm this jellied fish is!”.
Interjections may not be a separate sentence. Often a comma is needed after them. Often interjections in exclamatory sentences highlight the strong emotional coloring of what was said: “Oh, a bright ball!”.
Exclamation as evidence of joy
Each author wants not only to convey the essence, but also to induce to experience specific feelings. Exclamatory sentences help to do this. Since even one phrase can be perceived differently if you try to put different signs after it.
In life, facial expressions, intonation indicate the mood of a person. And it is more difficult to convey emotions in writing, so the punctuation marks at the end help in this. As an example, you can take the phrase: «I’m glad to see you.» In this case, it is able to convey contempt, a true fact, or cultural behavior. And with an exclamation mark, this phrase is more indicative of the joy of a person.
The presence of three characters
Often the author conveys a wealth of expressive means. To do this, 3 exclamation marks are placed at the end of the sentence. This indicates a high emotional arousal.
With the help of 3 signs it is possible to convey joy, admiration, anger. Offer «Don’t disturb me!!!» there is no doubt about the strong feelings of the speaker.
But the exclamation should be used carefully, observing the measure. Some prefer to put a large number of such signs. Often this technique is used by blog commentators. At the same time, an excess of exclamation marks can indicate almost a scream. They can also be annoying.
Exclamatory sentences can significantly enhance the emotionality of texts. Bright intonational coloring in the letter is transmitted only by punctuation marks.