Exclamation Mark – Definition, Meaning, Symbol, When to Use, Sentences, Examples

We all are familiar with punctuations of the English language, aren’t we? Every single punctuation mark carries a unique meaning, and thus they are used in different situations. The same can be said for exclamation marks as well.

Exclamation mark – Definition, Meaning, Symbol

Exclamation Mark Definition

Well, it is a type of punctuation mark that is used at the end of a sentence.

Exclamation Mark Symbol

It has a unique look where it resembles a period with a vertical line over it, “!” 

Exclamation Mark Meaning

Some other closely resembling punctuation marks are periods and question marks. They are also used at the end of sentences.

In this post, we will tell you all about the exclamation mark and when to use these exclamation marks in your writing. But before that, let’s look at the history of this punctuation. 

History of the Exclamation Mark

Exclamation marks have a long history where they were first introduced in the 15th Century into the English Language. However, it wasn’t until the 1970s that it was introduced as a separate key on standard typewriters. Maybe back then, people were not really aware of the possibilities it could offer in a sentence.

But fortunately, in today’s time, this punctuation mark now has a prominent place on computer keyboards on the number 1 key.

exclamation mark definition meaning when use sentences examples
Exclamation mark definition meaning when use sentences examples

Exclamation Marks Exclaim!

Believe it or not but back in the day, this punctuation mark was also known as exclamation points, and they were called the “note of admiration.” Moreover, they were only used to exclaiming something.

Most of the time, you will see that these are commonly used after interjections, like in our day-to-day conversations, you use it after phrases that are used to exclaim, like “wow” or “oh”. But they are versatile, and they can express the following emotions in writing:

  • Excitement – “I can’t wait to go to the next Rolling Stones concert!”
  • Surprise – “Oh! You already finished the job before time!”
  • Astonishment – “Wow! The Mount Everest is even bigger than I thought!”
  • Emphasizing a point – “No! We don’t want to follow your ideals anymore!”
  • Another strong emotion – “That song just made me so happy!”

I believe by now you can understand that an exclamation mark can appropriately modify any exclamatory sentence. It will add the desired emphasis. After all, just think about it; when you say “I am happy!” it will automatically convey more emotion than “I am happy.”

This is why professional writers often use exclamation points sparingly throughout their paragraphs to bring an aspect or touch of excitement or emotion through the writing.

Exclamation Mark Examples

If you compare, then you can easily understand that the exclamation points can easily affect the tone of your sentence much better than a period. But nothing can be understood with just theory.

So, check out some more example sentences using the exclamation marks.

  • Yes, I will love you for the rest of your life!
  • Oh! That is a beautiful musical piece!
  • Wow! I can’t believe I saw you after such a long time.
  • John told me that you’re getting married next Friday!
  • “You have really ruffled some feathers there!” shouted John’s dad.
  • Help! I have lost my purse and all my money.
  • No! I forgot to lock the doors of my apartment again.
  • My favorite band is playing at a concert. Let’s go!
  • You’re supposed to wash the utensils twice, not once!
  • Stop! Don’t throw the dog in the pool!
  • How dare you steal from me!
  • “Get out of my house!” snapped the old man.

You must have noticed that some of the sentences above have exclamation marks after an interjection but then followed by a period after the next sentence. If you do this, then the interjection will be automatically highlighted in your writing.

If you are using a quote, make sure to put the exclamation marks inside the quotation marks, just like all punctuation.

Exclamation Mark When to Use & Rules

As mentioned earlier, this particular punctuation can give you a great impact if used sparingly. But just like many other things, there are some easy-to-remember rules for using the exclamation mark as well. Let’s take a look at them. 

Rule One#Exclamation Mark

Use this punctuation in case of expressing a strong command, like an interjection or an emphatic declaration.

  • “Stop!” he yelled. “You’ve been working for 14 hours straight!”
  • “I’ve had enough with your stupid games!”
  • “Get off the grass!”

Rule Two$Exclamation Mark

You can use this to convey extreme emotion at the end of a question.

  • What is wrong with you! Stop calling me 14 times a day!

But if it is in informal writing, then you can easily express the same sentiment by combining question marks and exclamation points, like for example:

What is wrong with you?! Stop calling me 14 times a day!

Rest assured, both of these methods are acceptable.

Rule Three#Exclamation Mark

When using, make sure to surround an exclamation mark with parentheses. This will emphasize a single word in the sentence.

  • Jason saw some really(!) strange-looking insects on the terrace and attic.

Make sure never to insert a space between the emphasized word and the parentheses. It may be used rarely and all the more rare in the formal text, but nevertheless, it has a special charm. 

Rule Four#Exclamation Mark

You can employ this punctuation to accompany sounds produced mimetically. Like for example,

  • The lion made a loud roar! to scare off the intruders in his den.
  • My cat made a loud Grr! after seeing my friends touching the fridge. 

But always remember that if an exclamation point is part of an underlined or italicized phrase, then make sure to make it underlined or italicized as well.

  • I just want Randy to stop! My favorite Milan Kundera book is Life Is Elsewhere!

Rule Five#Exclamation Mark

If the exclamation mark used is not part of an italicized phrase or title, then one cannot make it italicized.

  • I’ve already asked him not to use Ina Mina Dika in everything!

There can be no doubt that this punctuation is super fun to use, but one must not forget that we can rarely use this one in academic prose, and in journalistic writing, they are nearly nonexistent. This fact leads us to our next segment of the post.

When Not to Use an Exclamation Point

There are many scenarios where you just cannot use an exclamation point. Here, I am listing them one by one for you. The first two on the list are more related, with another punctuation mark being all the more appropriate, and the rest of them are related to style, and something called writing etiquette.

Let’s look at them now.


If you are asking a standard question, then using an exclamation point is absolutely baseless. Because, in such a scenario, using a question mark can communicate better the meaning of the sentence. Like this:

  • What time is the exam?

But there are situations where you can use an exclamation point at the end of a question. This is only if the exclamation point better communicates the tone and for nothing else. For example:

  • How can you forget the tickets at home!

In this sentence, the tone matters the most, and for that, using an exclamation mark is appropriate. Only this punctuation can convey the anger and frustration of the speaker in the given situation.


If you are writing a simple statement, then you should always finish it with a full stop or period and never with an exclamation mark. A statement is always a declarative sentence, and thus it must end at a full stop.

If you use an exclamation point instead, it would not make any sense and only mean as if you are trying to show unnecessary excitement or emphasis. Let’s look at some examples:

  • Today it might rain. 
  • The cat sat on the porch and was playing with a string ball. 

These are statements, and they can never have an exclamation mark.

Formal Writing

As said before as well, the exclamation points are always considered as informal punctuation. So, in the case of academic writing, they must be avoided. Academic writing needs to be diplomatic and devoid of any strong emotion or proclamation.

Similarly, you must avoid using them while writing a report for a business reflecting on the recent sales. In this case, you need to be careful about the tone. 

Overuse of Exclamation Points

This one is perhaps the most crucial point of all when it comes to using exclamation points.

Nowadays, they are pretty overused, and it only makes the writing appear unprofessional. Instead of relying too much on exclamation points to convey the meaning, the writer must try to describe the context in some new and innovative way.

This much evoke even stronger emotion in the readers’ heart. 


So, there you have it, all the information you need to know about the exclamation mark along with suitable examples. Should you have any further queries about the exclamation mark and sentences, please feel free to mention them in the comments section.

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