Exclamation Mark

Almost every sentence ends with one of three punctuation marks. Periods,  exclamation marks, and question marks are called final, or terminal, punctuation marks.

We use an exclamation mark after an exclamatory sentence (a sentence showing strong emotion).

It was a man-eating shark!
Someone gave me $100!
Come quickly! It's snowing outside!

Sometimes a word or phrase shows strong emotion. We call this an interjection.

Ouch! That hurt!
Wow! That's amazing!
Whoa! Slow down, Tiger!

Careful writers limit their use of exclamations. Think of it as shouting. Sometimes shouting is appropriate, but one who shouts all the time is soon ignored. Use these marks sparingly.

With Quotation Marks

When using terminal marks with quotation marks, we must decide whether to place the final punctuation mark inside or outside the quotation marks. We do this by determining whether the final punctuation mark punctuates the whole sentence or just the part in quotation marks.

Examples 1

Rewrite sentences 1-6, inserting punctuation marks as needed.

  1. What a surprise
  2. He exclaimed, "There you are"
  3. I can't believe you guessed it
  4. Hey There goes a shooting star
  5. You're so brilliant
  6. Incredible He trained such famous lawyers as John Marshall, James Monroe, and Henry Clay


1. What a surprise! (exclamatory sentence)

2. The final punctuation mark goes inside the quotation marks because it punctuates only the direct quotation. 

He exclaimed, "There you are!"

3. I can't believe you guessed it! (exclamatory sentence)

4. Hey! There goes a shooting star! (interjection and exclamatory sentence)

5. You're so brilliant! (exclamatory sentence)

6. Incredible! He trained such famous lawyers as John Marshall, James Monroe, and Henry Clay!

Examples 2

Rewrite the following sentences, inserting punctuation marks as needed.

  1. Penny screamed, Oh, no It's a man-eating shark
  2. This is perfect Dan exclaimed
  3. Ouch That skillet is so hot
  4. Surprise shouted the guests
  5. Hooray We won
  6. The coach yells, Well done


  1. Penny screamed, "Oh, no! It's a man-eating shark!"
  2. "This is perfect!" Dan exclaimed.
  3. Ouch! That skillet is so hot!
  4. "Surprise!" shouted the guests.
  5. Hooray! We won!
  6. The coach yells, "Well done!"