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The exclamation mark or exclamation point

The exclamation mark or exclamation point

This goes at the end of sentences that are commands or would normally be spoken loudly or strongly.

Hey you! Stop!

An exclamation mark at the end of a sentence means that you don’t need a period as well. It replaces the period at the end of a sentence.

In informal writing, perhaps if you were writing to someone using e-mail or an Internet-chat program, you might use an exclamation mark inside brackets to single out a word for extra attention in a sentence. Say you have a friend who has been a vegetarian their entire life, and suddenly one day, you see them eating meat. You might write this sentence in an e-mail to another friend, telling them:

I saw Denny eating meat(!) today.

Because Denny’s been a vegetarian his entire life, by putting an exclamation mark next to the word ‘meat’ you emphasise the word and communicate to the reader that it’s really important in the context of the sentence.

Exclamation marks are also used when there is onomatopoeia in the sentence. It goes just after the word which is pronounced just like the sound it describes.

We lit the fuse, and five seconds later it went bang!