When to Use an Exclamation Mark (with Examples)

Our most common search themes:
apostrophe
semicolon
adjective
verb


When to Use an Exclamation Mark (with Examples)

An exclamation mark (!) is used to indicate a sudden order, intensity of emotion (such as surprise) or volume. Typically, an exclamation mark is used to end an:

An Exclamatory Sentence
An exclamatory sentence conveys excitement or emotion. It ends with an exclamation mark. For example:
  • You're late!
  • It's a pike!
Read more about exclamatory sentences.

An Imperative Sentence
An imperative sentence issues an order. It will end in an exclamation mark to show forcefulness. For example:
  • Get out!
  • Take the dog out the kitchen this instant!
  • Please leave.
  • (This is an imperative sentence, but it does not end with an exclamation mark because the order is not forceful.)
Read more about imperative sentences.

An Interjection
Interjections are words used to express feeling or sudden emotion. They can be standalone or as part of a sentence (usually at the start). An interjection can end in an exclamation mark to express a strong feeling or emotion. For example:
  • Jeepers! That was close!
  • (This is an interjection (shaded) followed by an exclamatory sentence.)
  • No!
Read more about interjections.

AVOID EXCLAMATION MARKS IN FORMAL CORRESPONDENCE

Avoid using exclamation mark in formal writing. They are considered crass. In official correspondence, your power of expression needs to be strong enough to avoid exclamation marks.

DON'T USE MORE THAN ONE EXCLAMATION MARK

Even in informal correspondence, using two or more exclamation marks might be considered rude or juvenile. (It's the social equivalent of laughing at your own jokes.)
USEFUL FOR TEXT SPEAK

Using an exclamation mark in "text speak" can be a useful way to convey the tone of your message, which is often lost when texting. (We judge that using more than one is allowable in "text speak" for the same reason.)

Read more about text speak on our sister site, Cyber Definitions.


More Free Help...

All the lessons and tests on Grammar Monster are free. Here's some more free help:

Follow Us on Twitter Follow us on Twitter
Like us on Facebook Follow us on Facebook
by Craig Shrives Follow us on Google+
mail tip Sign up for our daily tip emails
Chat about grammar Ask a grammar question
Search Search this site

Buy Some Help...

Too busy to read everything on Grammar Monster? Here are the paid services we recommend to learn grammar and to keep your writing error free:

Paste your text into Grammarly's online interface for corrections and recommendations. (Free trial available)

Press F2 while using Word, PowerPoint, etc., for corrections and recommendations. (Free trial available)

Send your text to a trained editor and grammar geek for checking. (Free trial available)

Learn English (or another language) with a state-of-the-art program. (Free trial available)

Buy Our Book...

Buy "Grammar Rules: Writing with Military Precision" by Craig Shrives (founder of Grammar Monster).


More info...