What Does an Exclamation Point Mean?
The exclamation point is an incredibly helpful punctuation tool in writing. It helps the writer to express emotion (good or bad) through writing. An exclamation point is used to express that a sentence should be read as though someone were crying out, yelling, shouting, screaming, or making some type of loud remark.
Let’s take a look at a sentence:
“There is a roach in the bathroom.”
We notice that there is a period at the end of the sentence, so the sentence should be read in a rather causal voice.
However, if there were an exclamation point at the end of the sentence then we would know to read it in a much louder voice. But something that is important when we think through how exactly it is meant to be read, is context. Now, typically (at least in my experience) when someone sees a roach in the bathroom they aren’t making an exclamation of positive excitement, like, “ There is a roach in the bathroom!”. On the contrary there is a good bit of terror that supernaturally allows for people to screech millions of decibels and pitches above their normal levels when a roach is spotted. So, in this context, it would more appropriately be read as “ There is a roach in the bathroom!”.
Now, exclamation points can often follow just one word. For example: you are at a surprise party for a friend, and when they walk through the door everyone screams “surprise!” Within this context, as the reader, you would know to read this with a more positive exclamation than in our last example.
The exclamation point can also be abused, and instead of enhancing your writing or reading experience it can diminish your writing. If you use the exclamation point in every other sentence it can lose its effect. The exclamation point should really only be reserved when true exclamation (good or bad) is being expressed.
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