By Jennifer Copley (Last Updated, November 26, 2013)
Exclamation marks are used when there is a need for emphasis or surprise, or to indicate shouting:
I can’t believe you threw lemon tarts at the queen!
Your noodle and chocolate chip casserole is amazing!
When he opened the door, he found that Marlene’s SUV was filled with alligators!
Exclamation Marks in Quotations
If the emphasis is part of a quotation, put the exclamation mark inside the quotation marks. However, if the whole sentence needs to be emphasized, put the exclamation mark outside the quotation marks:
“I want a new monkey!” he shouted.
I can’t believe he told the president to “go take a long walk on a short pier”!
- Don’t add periods or commas after exclamation marks.
- Don’t use multiple exclamation marks in a row in formal writing.
- American Psychological Association. (2011). “Punctuating Around Quotation Marks.” Blog.APAStyle.org.
- Brians, P. (n.d.). Common Errors in English Language.
- Capital Community College Foundation. (n.d.). “Quotation Marks” and “Commas.” Grammar.ccc.commnet.edu.
- Fogarty, M. (2010). Grammar Girl: Quick and Dirty Tips.
- O’Conner, P. T. (1996). Woe Is I, the Grammarphobe’s Guide to Better English in Plain English. New York, G. P. Putnam’s Sons.
- OWL at Purdue. (2013). “How to Use Quotation Marks” and “Extended Rules for Using Commas.” The Writing Lab & the OWL at Purdue and Purdue University. OWL.English.Purdue.edu.
- Strauss, J. (2013). Grammarbook.com.
- The Guardian. (2013). “‘The British style’? ‘The American way?’ They are not so different.” TheGuardian.com.
- Trask, L. (1997). Guide to Punctuation. University of Sussex.