Exclamation mark (!), also called exclamation point
Do not use exclamation marks in formal/non-fiction writing. They should be used sparingly in fiction, primarily in dialogue.
To show strong emotion, excitement, or emphasis in an exclamation, end it with an exclamation mark.
- Don’t hit him!
- That test was nearly impossible!
- Stop that!
In simple sentences, exclamations marks usually go inside quotation marks.
- “Don’t hit him!”
- “That test was nearly impossible!”
- “Stop that!”
If the sentence is an exclamation, but the spoken words are not, the exclamation mark follows the exclamation outside the closing quotation mark.
- I’ve told you a thousand times, “I don’t like peas”!
- My child spoke her first words today! She said, “Mommy”!
- I can’t believe that he can’t pronounce “aluminum”!
However, if both are exclamations, the exclamation mark goes inside the closing quotation mark.
- I’ve told you a thousand times, “Turn right here!”
- Even the teacher was shouting, “School’s out!”
- “Quit yelling, ‘Stop!’ ”
It is acceptable to put a space between a single quotation mark and a double mark for readability.