Like all types of punctuation, exclamation points play an important role in the written English language. Without them, some sentences will not make sense as they are intended. Exclamation points allow us to put emphasis in our writing that is typically only verbal in nature. We can change a simple statement into a strong exclamation with this one punctuation mark. Using exclamation marks correctly will make you a better writer and make your writing more clear to your readers.
Use an exclamation mark after an interjection. For example, if you were writing "Oh my" at the beginning of a statement, you would set it off with an exclamation mark, such as, "Oh my! Isn't he getting big."
Write exclamation marks at the end of sentences when you want to show strong emotion. For instance, "I love ice cream!" when written with an exclamation mark shows a stronger emotion to the reader than the same sentence written with a period, although the overall meaning is the same.
Choose an exclamation mark for sentences that begin with "what" or "how" but are not questions. For example, "What fun it is to have a picnic!"
Write an exclamation mark at the end of a sentence when you wish to show that the statement was surprising. For instance, "I couldn't believe it. When I opened the letter, there was $100 inside!"
Put an exclamation mark at the end of a strong command, such as "No! Don't touch that!"
Use exclamation marks in informal writing only. It is not appropriate for formal writing.
- Use exclamation marks sparingly. They should only be used for emphasis when absolutely needed.
- Never use more than one exclamation mark at the end of a sentence.
- Never use exclamation marks in formal writing.
- Adam Ciesielski