Punctuation : Exclamation Mark

The Exclamation Mark ( ! ) is simply a punctuation mark that indicates an exclamation. The statement could also be one expressing shock or surprise. In essence, this mark indicates in writing what one would verbally say by shouting or speaking strongly, either to attract attention or to emphasis a point.

There are quite a few ways to use this mark. For instance, a parents warning the child and trying to enforce discipline might say:

• Behave yourself!

Or you could indicate the expression of a strong feeling of surprise, absurdity, approval, disapproval, regret and a host of other emotions.

• What a terrible thing to do!

• How crazy of him to have done such a thing!

• Where the hell is he?!

In the above examples, words like how or what precede the sentence. The last sentence is preceded by where, and ends with a question mark as well as an exclamation mark, which is one of the rare usages. Such a sentence denotes both the element of questioning and of surprise.

You could also use this Mark to express a wish or a felling of regret.

• The kids would have loved to tag along!

• If only you had informed me in advance!

A note of caution, though, is that in day-to-day writing, this mark is used sparingly. Using it too often detracts from proper usage. Besides, it will be counterproductive to attempt adding a false sense of drama or excitement to a style of writing that is routine, unexciting or prosaic.

From Exclamation Mark to Punctuation Index