Exclamation Mark - Explore Its Meaning, Definition, Uses and Examples

Have you heard of or come across exclamatory sentences? If you have, you should have seen the exclamation mark (!) being used in these sentences. To help you understand the usage of exclamation marks better, read through this article. You will be introduced to the meaning, definition and why exclamation marks are used along with examples for your reference.

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What is an Exclamation Mark? – Meaning and Definition

An exclamation mark, also known as the exclamation point, is a punctuation sign that is used to indicate strong emotions and feelings. It is used in exclamatory sentences and with interjections. According to the Oxford Learner’s Dictionary, an exclamation mark is defined as “the mark ( ! ) that is written after an exclamation”, and according to the Cambridge Dictionary, an exclamation mark is defined as “the symbol ! written immediately after an exclamation.”

The Collins Dictionary defines an exclamation mark as “the sign ! which is used in writing to show that a word, phrase, or sentence is an exclamation.” According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, an exclamation mark is defined as “a mark ! used especially after an interjection or exclamation to indicate forceful utterance or strong feeling.”

Why Use an Exclamation Mark in a Sentence?

Like question marks are used at the end of interrogative sentences and full stops at the end of declarative sentences and imperative sentences, exclamation marks are used at the end of exclamatory sentences. Now, you should have guessed it right. As exclamatory sentences express sudden and strong emotions and feelings, an exclamation mark signifies or represents the employment of a strong emotion or feeling in the sentence. You can also use exclamation marks at the end of phrases and individual words that express a strong feeling.

If you are wondering about using exclamation marks in professional or academic writing, hold on. There is something you should know. Exclamation marks are meant to be used in informal writing. If you are thinking how some serious and strong thoughts can be conveyed in academic writing, here is what you can do. When writing for academic purposes, you should choose the right vocabulary that will express what you want to convey. For instance, instead of saying that something is ‘really important’, use words like ‘vital’, ‘crucial’ and ‘essential’ to convey the seriousness of the particular activity.

Using exclamation marks in direct speech works like the other punctuation marks. If the sentence itself is an exclamation, then place the exclamation mark at the end of the sentence. On the other hand, if the sentence that is quoted is an exclamation, place the exclamation point immediately after the sentence and then close the quotation marks.

Take a look at the following examples to have a much clearer understanding of the usage of exclamation marks in sentences.

Examples of Sentences Using an Exclamation Mark

Here are some examples of sentences using an exclamation mark to help you comprehend and remember the usage of exclamation marks.

Using an Exclamation Mark in Exclamatory Sentences

  • How careless can you be!
  • What an amazing life!
  • That is really wonderful!

Using an Exclamation Mark at the End of an Interjection

  • Wow! That is great news.
  • Oh! I am so sorry.
  • Alas! That is really bad. What are you going to do about it?

Using an Exclamation Mark in Direct Speech

  • Sam said, “I love this movie!”
  • What nerve she has to say, “You are rude”!
  • The team shouted together, “Whoa! We finally did it.”

Using an Exclamation Mark at the End of Phrases/Individual Words

  • Careful! Will you?
  • What a day!
  • Get out! You have pulled the last straw.

Check Your Understanding of the Usage of Exclamation Marks

Go through the following sentences and insert exclamation marks wherever necessary and punctuate the sentences accordingly.

1. Ouch that hurt badly.

2. What a pretty dress.

3. Sarah said, “Wow that is really great.”

4. Sit down.

5. We are fed up with you. Leave now.

6. Hurray. We finally did it.

7. Uh I am not sure I can help you with it.

8. Deepa said, “Ah now I understand.”

9. The teacher lost her temper and shouted, “No more activities for you.”

10. How wonderful.

Now, find out if you used the exclamation marks accurately from the sentences given below.

1. Ouch! That hurt badly.

2. What a pretty dress!

3. Sarah said, “Wow! That is really great.”

4. Sit down!

5. We are fed up with you. Leave now!

6. Hurray! We finally did it.

7. Uh! I am not sure I can help you with it.

8. Deepa said, “Ah! Now I understand.”

9. The teacher lost her temper and shouted, “No more activities for you!”

10. How wonderful!

Frequently Asked Questions on the Usage of Exclamation Marks

What is an exclamation mark?

An exclamation mark is a punctuation sign that is used to indicate strong emotions and feelings. It is used in exclamatory sentences and with interjections.

What is the definition of an exclamation mark?

According to the Oxford Learner’s Dictionary, an exclamation mark is defined as “the mark ( ! ) that is written after an exclamation”, and according to the Cambridge Dictionary, an exclamation mark is defined as “the symbol ! written immediately after an exclamation.”
The Collins Dictionary defines an exclamation mark as “the sign ! which is used in writing to show that a word, phrase, or sentence is an exclamation.” According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, an exclamation mark is defined as “a mark ! used especially after an interjection or exclamation to indicate forceful utterance or strong feeling.”

What are the uses of an exclamation mark?

An exclamation mark can be used:

  • To express sudden feelings and strong emotions
  • At the end of exclamatory sentences
  • With interjections
  • In direct speech quoting an exclamatory sentence

Give some examples of sentences using exclamation marks.

Here are a few examples of sentences to show you how exclamation marks can be used.

  • How careless can you be!
  • Get out! You have pulled the last straw.
  • Alas! That is really bad. What are you going to do about it?
  • Sam said, “I love this movie!”
  • Oh! I am so sorry.

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