When should you use an exclamation point at the end of a sentence?
This is an exclamation point:
When should you use an exclamation point at the end of a sentence? The answer is interesting because the way that it's used has actually changed quite a bit in the last 10 years.
The old rules
Here's how exclamation points have traditionally been used in writing:
- Put one at the end of a serious written warning.
Do not touch!
- Put one at the end of an angry statement.
I strongly disagree with that opinion!
- If you're quoting what someone said, use an exclamation point to show that the speaker was excited, surprised, or angry.
He said, 'Wow! I can't believe it!'
Here are more detailed rules for using exclamation points in formal writing:
How English speakers use exclamation points now
In the past few years, we've started to do a lot more informal writing because of email and social media. This has changed the way that people use exclamation points.
Now, a lot of English speakers use an exclamation point to show a friendly tone. It suggests that the writer is smiling. Here are some examples from real-life Facebook status updates:
Happy Valentine's Day to all my FB friends and family!
Good game Giants! You came out and played better than most expected!
Yay! See you there!
Ran in the Break-a-Leg 5K this morning!