🏁 Exclamation marks come at the end of a sentence where something important or exciting or dramatic is being told to the reader, e.g

It was the worst fire the firefighters had ever seen!

The murderer was Mr Brown after all!

Messi has scored again!

🔆 Get it? Go to Skill 11. (We’ll cover where the exclamation mark goes when used with speech marks later.)

🎯 💻 Want to try a test? This one sees if you get all the 3 last skills:

https://www.grammarmonster.com/key_stage_tests/full_stops_exclamation_marks_question_marks_key_stage_1_punctuation_level.htm

A car with a 1000 horsepower engine should be quick enough!

🛠 Need more?

🎯 📝 Try this quick exercise to help you work out when sentences need exclamation marks and when they don’t. You need to rewrite them with the right punctuation at the end, which will be either an exclamation mark or just an ordinary full stop.

1 Happy birthday to you.
2 Larry has cheated death nine times.
3 The lights have changed.
4 I prefer the chocolates with the nuts inside them.
5 Don’t eat that- you’ve got an allergy and it could harm you.
6 My dog has run away three times and each time he’s caused a serious accident.
7 There are lots of homeless people in London.
8 Get away from me.
9 Of course it’s a dodgy car- it’s had six owners already.
10 There’s a full moon tonight.

⬇️ Answers below.

🎯 📝 You should check your answers to the above exercise first, and then have a go at this longer piece of text. Try to put 3 exclamation marks in at the right places in this text. Not all the sentences need them. Try to use them when you think something special is being said.

Simone Biles is the most successful female athlete in the world- and she was only born in 1997. You would think she would have had a perfect family life, but she didn’t. Her mother had huge problems with drug and alcohol abuse. Fortunately she was adopted by her grandparents, who looked after her properly. She didn’t plan to be a gymnast though. One day a school trip to a farm got cancelled because of a heatwave, and the school went to a gym instead. Simone got spotted by a coach and the rest is history. She was just six at the time. She now has a total of 19 Olympic and World Championship medals- which is amazing.

✅ Here are the answers to the first exercise above:

1 Happy birthday to you!
2 Larry has cheated death nine times!
3 The lights have changed.
4 I prefer the chocolates with the nuts inside them.
5 Don’t eat that- you’ve got an allergy and it could harm you!
6 My dog has run away three times and each time he’s caused a serious accident!
7 There are lots of homeless people in London.
8 Get away from me!
9 Of course it’s a dodgy car- it’s had six owners already!
10 There’s a full moon tonight.

Sometimes an exclamation mark might have worked on some of the other sentences, for example if #7 was in the middle of an argument!

✅ Here are some of the exclamation marks you could have used in the text above about Simone Biles, the famous American gymnast. There are other ways to do it too, so just see if it looks and sounds right.

Simone Biles is the most successful female athlete in the world- and she was only born in 1997! You would think she would have had a perfect family life, but she didn’t. Her mother had huge problems with drug and alcohol abuse. Fortunately she was adopted by her grandparents, who looked after her properly. She didn’t plan to be a gymnast though. One day a school trip to a farm got cancelled because of a heatwave, and the school went to a gym instead. Simone got spotted by a coach and the rest is history! She was just six at the time. She now has a total of 19 Olympic and World Championship medals- which is amazing!

🚦Time for more?

Although good for making the sentence stand out as having something really important to tell the reader, it’s easy to over-do them and include too many. While this is often done in texting and other social media, it’s best to keep it simple in more formal English and only use them when you need to, e.g. when you want to emphasise something, give an event a bit of drama, or show that someone is shouting an instruction or saying something controversial or hurtful, or revealing a surprise.

 

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