Today, we’ll be discussing punctuation, specifically the exclamation mark. We hope all authors find this post useful.
An exclamation mark (!) is used to denote strong feelings like anger, surprise or urgency, or to indicate a raised voice. For example:
“Go away! I’m sick of you!”
“I didn’t know you had such an expensive car!”
Note: It’s wrong to use an exclamation mark after ellipses, as the two are contradictions. Ellipses denote a pause or trailing off, while exclamations often imply immediacy or urgency. The following example is wrong:
“I can’t… I won’t…!” said Jane.
Overuse of exclamation marks is frowned on and tends to jar readers and remove their attention from what they’re reading. It’s rarely necessary to use exclamations in formal writing, and, in fiction, unless the book’s characters are constantly shouting at each other, it’s rarely necessary either.
It is never correct to use two exclamations together, or an exclamation with any other form of punctuation. The following examples are wrong:
“What are you doing!?”
“What are you doing?!”
“I almost died!!”
Extract from the Editors’ Bible, by Vanessa Finaughty.