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Do you find it tough to learn where to use exclamation marks and where not? Do you have no idea why others use them? This brief manual will help you get an answer to these questions.
It goes without saying that the easiest way to run across an exclamation mark is to go online. Many of the articles and post are filled with them. But if you want others to treat you as a well-educated person, you need to learn where it is proper to use them and when you should avoid exclamation marks by any means possible.
When to Use
Their original name was “note of admiration.” Nowadays very few people have an idea of how an exclamation mark appeared, but everyone knows that it is used to show one’s excitement. People often use this mark to express other emotions, like surprise or anger. You may notice someone use them with a short interjection (e.g. “Damn!”)
The three major cases to use an exclamation mark include:
Surprise: “This can’t be real!”
Excitement: “I haven’t seen you for a whole year!”
Interjection: “Gosh! I’ve got something to tell you.”
Of course, these are just major cases, therefore you may end any other sentence with an exclamation mark if you want it to sound forceful.
These marks are terminal punctuation, therefore you will use it instead of a full stop and not together with it:
I am so happy to see you! ✓
I am so happy to see you!. ✗
If an exclamation mark is used in a dialogue, it will replace the mid-sentence comma.
“You could not have eaten the whole cake,” John cried out. ✓
“You could not have eaten the whole cake!” John cried out. ✓
“You could not have eaten the whole cake!,” John cried out. ✗
One will unlikely use an exclamation mark in formal writing. Most of the time, it is deprived of excessive enthusiasm. Despite the fact that nobody can stop you from doing it, you should always ask yourself if you really need one. If not, just use a full stop.
Abundance of Exclamation Marks
Some writers, including Terry Pratchett, suggest that there is a correlation between person’s sanity and the number of exclamation marks they write. This statement may look harsh. Nevertheless, no matter whether it is a formal or an informal writing, the use of multiple exclamation marks is never justified.
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Keep in mind to use only one mark per sentence. Of course if you are trying to show that a person is losing control, then you may use a couple of these marks.