What is an exclamation point? Where should an exclamation punctuation be placed in a sentence? Should you use exclamation punctuation in academic writing? These are some of the questions which will be answered in this workshop. (Please see the punctuation chart in our Introduction to punctuation workshop).
Exclamation points, also called exclamation marks, are punctuation for the end of a sentence meant to display strong emotion. They are used to indicate strong feelings and convey emotion, as well as to indicate shouting or high volume. The exclamation mark is also used to express exasperation, astonishment or surprise.
The exclamation mark/point looks like a period with a vertical bar above it. (!)
• I love eating pizza!
In the above example, I = subject and love= verb
• The chocolate cake your mom baked was delicious!
In the above example, The chocolate cake your mom baked = subject and was= verb
• I’m so excited about my job!
In the above example, I = subject and am= verb
Exclamation points are terminal punctuation marks. Terminal punctuation refers to the punctuation marks used at the end of sentences. There are three types of terminal punctuation:
- The Period (.)
- The Question Mark (?)
- The Exclamation Mark (!)
Exclamation points are terminal punctuation marks that generally should be placed at the end of a sentence, unless this punctuation is being used as an interjection or part of a quotation.
• Wow! Melissa really did an amazing job.
• Awesome! I really appreciate your support Melissa.
• Melissa really wants to go shopping at the mall!
Because the exclamation point applies to the whole sentence, the exclamation punctuation is placed at the very end of the sentence.
• Melissa yelled, “Get out of my store!”
The above sentence example is a declarative sentence that includes an exclamation.
Declarative sentence = a sentence that is a statement. A declarative sentence tells us something or gives information (as opposed to a question which asks us something or wants information).
Your instructor/teacher may refer to sentences that end with an exclamation point as an exclamatory sentence. Exclamatory sentences end with an exclamation point or exclamation mark.
Use an exclamation mark at the end of a strong command, an interjection or an emphatic declaration.
• Do not put your feet on the coffee table!
• The Mariah Carey concert was awesome!
• Due to COVID-19, our office will close effective immediately!
Normally, a comma would be placed inside the closing quotation mark. However, the comma is omitted when a quotation ends with an exclamation point.
• “Please stop!”, Melissa screamed.
• “Please stop!” Melissa screamed.
Do not use exclamation punctuation in academic writing. If what you are a writing needs a special mark to add emphasis, then you should go back and rewrite the sentence.
In academic writing, your position along with the evidence should require no additional emphasis using the exclamation point.
• Many people erroneously believe that intersex medical conditions are esoteric; however, they are idiosyncratic!
• Many people erroneously believe that intersex medical conditions are esoteric; however, they are idiosyncratic.
When writing academically, never rely on or use the exclamation point for emphasis, instead use strong verbs, lively adjectives and creative nouns.
Exclamation punctuation may be used in creative writing and informal writing.
• “How dare you turn your nose up at me!” Melissa shouted.
• “Get out of my room!” Melissa yelled.
• “They’re coming!” Melissa said.
• What in the world are you doing up there!
In the above sentence example, even though the sentence begins with an interrogative word, the sentence has been punctuated correctly.
Interrogative = having the form or force of a question. The five (5) most common interrogation words are, who, what, when, where and why.
Remember to use the exclamation point sparingly.
This concludes the workshop on the exclamation mark. Please go back and re-read the information contained in this workshop before completing the exclamation worksheet.
After you have re-read the information in this workshop, test your knowledge on the exclamation punctuation mark. Please complete the worksheet titled: Exclamation Worksheet. You’ll find it on our website. At the top of the page, just click on the menu section and then select Worksheets.
If you have any questions, please feel free to post your questions in the section below titled Leave a Reply/Leave a Comment. In the comment section below, a member of our teaching staff will provide helpful feedback to any question related to this workshop.
We hope you enjoyed this workshop!
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