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Exclamatory sentences

When a writer wants to make a strong exclamation, they can use an exclamatory sentence. All sentence types can be exclamatory ones if the situation is appropriate. For instance, say you just got home from your weekly tennis match with a friend, and someone asked you how you went. You might say something like:

I won.

Because it’s a weekly event, there’s nothing too special about it, so this sentence is just a declarative sentence. But in other circumstances, you may have just found out that the lotto ticket you bought was the winning one. As you burst in through the front door you might say something like:

I won!

This is an exclamatory sentence, because it’s getting across to the reader the strong emotions - excitement in this case - associated with the statement.

One type of exclamatory sentence, however, isn’t formed from one of the other sentence types. Say you’ve just heard about an old lady being robbed. You might exclaim something like:

How terrible!

Note that this is not a complete grammatical sentence. A grammatically more complete version of this would be:

How terrible it is that she was robbed!

You can form other grammatically incomplete sentences by starting with the words ‘what’ or ‘such’:

What garbage!

Such violence!