Exclamation - Definition, Functions, Uses with Examples

Exclamation Mark – Definition, Functions with Examples

Hi there, I have put together a post on the exclamation mark or exclamation point; one of the punctuation marks in English. This post titled Exclamation Mark – Definition, Functions with Examples focuses on the exclamation mark, it types and its uses with examples.

Exclamation Mark – Definition, Functions with Examples

Let us begin by defining this mark and then proceed to look at its functions with relevant examples…

What is an Exclamation Mark?

The mark or symbol (!) is called an exclamation mark in British English while it is called an exclamation point in American English. An exclamation mark expresses surprise, shock, disbelief, excitement, fear and other emotional outbursts.

Use of Exclamation Mark

Let us look at some of the functions or uses of the exclamation mark…

The exclamation point follows an expression of surprise, anger, admiration, pain, etc. which may or may not be a full sentence.

This mark ends a sentence expressing strong feeling, surprise, or incredulity.

It is used after emphatic interjections (Wow! Ouch! Help! What!) and statement that are indeed exclamatory.

Let us illustrate all the above with some examples:

  • I couldn’t believe my eyes!
  • What a pity!
  • Ouch!
  • What a night she went through!
  • The money vanished within a twinkle of an eye!
  • What a country we have found ourselves!
  • What a travesty of justice!
  • It was something else!


It should be noted that we do not use exclamation mark except the sentence or expression is truly emphatic.

Used for Effect in Creative Writing or Informal Letters

The exclamation point may be used for effect in creative writing or informal letters; but should not be overused. For example:

  • “You are not going that way!” he bellowed! “I will fight you to a standstill!”
  • As the bomb went off, one officer shouted, “Fire!”
  • Another warned a comrade, “Get down!”
  • The lady sharp cry, “Medic!” turned every head around.
  • He came running out of the hospital, “It’s a girl!”

Exclamation Mark After Question Mark

Does it look weird to you that, sometimes, we use an exclamation mark after a question mark? We sometimes use an exclamation mark occasionally with a question mark.  We are saying that it is possible to use an exclamation mark with a question mark. The essence of this is to make a question more forceful. Consider these examples:

  • ‘Why on earth did you tell her about me?!’ Charles bellowed angrily.
  • “What is even wrong with you?!” she demanded furiously.
  • ‘Are you crazy?!’ the raging boy asked him.

 However, we do not normally use the exclamation mark at all in formal writing. In addition, the mark should never be immediately preceded or followed by a period; that is, a full stop.

But, as stated above, we may occasionally use it with a question mark in informal letters or e-mails to indicate exasperation or disbelief, especially in posing a rhetorical question:

  • How many times do I have to tell you?!
  • What is wrong with you?!
  • Can’t you see what is happening?!

What is Exclamatory Sentence

We cannot talk about exclamation mark or point without talking about exclamatory sentence. Thankfully, there is a post I put together on the exclamatory sentence which you should check out to know more about exclamatory sentence.

Final Thoughts

I am certain you have gained some useful insights in this post Exclamation Mark – Definition, Functions with Examples. You can check out other punctuation marks that I have also put together for your reading pleasure. Do not forget to share this knowledge and connect with us on our Social Media platforms. It is just a click away. See you around.

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