When to Use an Exclamation Mark

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Exclamation marks should only be used for special occasions in order to provide extra emphasis to a sentence. Find out how exclamation marks lose their meaning if they are used too often with information from a writer and English tutor in this free video on grammar and punctuation.

Part of the Video Series: Grammar & Punctuation
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Video Transcript

Hi, I'm here to talk about when to use an exclamation mark, also known as an exclamation point. Now, this is a very special punctuation mark you really want to reserve for special occasions, and it's used to add emphasis to a sentence, such as, "When my long-lost sister entered the room, I was shocked!" And you're using it in this case to show how shocked you were. So it is really important not to overuse this punctuation mark. It gets kind of irritating to read too many of them. You never want to use more than one in a row. That's kind of a casual way to use them. You see that online sometimes -- people use a whole string of them in a row -- but in formal writing, never use more than one in a row, and try to avoid using them when you can. For one thing, if you start to see them in every sentence or every other sentence, they start to lose their emphasis, which is the whole point of putting them in. And also, if you're using an exclamation point, you might not be...you might be leaning on that as a crutch instead of using the right words that are going to give your sentence the emphasis that you want it to have. So don't use it as a shortcut, and use very, very sparingly.


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