Exclamation Marks

Usage

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 are meant to convey extreme emotion, as in:

  • What on earth are you doing! Stop!

An exclamation mark will often accompany mimetically produced sounds, as in

  • “All night long, the dogs woof! in my neighbor’s 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 or underlined:

  • My favorite book is Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

(Do not add a period after such a sentence that ends with the title’s exclamation mark. The exclamation mark will also suffice to end the sentence.) If the exclamation mark is not part of a sentence-ending title, don’t italicize the exclamation mark:

  • I’ve asked you not to sing la Marseillaise!

In academic writing, an exclamation point is used rarely, if at all, and in newspaper writing the exclamation point is virtually nonexistent.

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Exercises

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