Exclamation Mark (!)
Exclamation marks are best used in fictional dialogue, not in narrative.
Note: Related punctuation is included before the ellipsis.
!End the sentence with an exclamation mark when the speaker needs to display strong emotion, excitement, or emphasis.
- “Don’t do that!”
- “I could never do that again, nor would I want to!”
When the words spoken are an exclamation, but the sentence is not; the exclamation mark goes inside the closing quotation mark.
- They don’t ever remember scolding him, “You can’t do that!”
- Just before the car hit the tree, the passenger yelled, “Stop! Now!”
When the sentence is an exclamation, but the words spoken are not, the exclamation mark goes outside the closing quotation mark.
- They were so excited when they heard the announcement, “The Dodgers lost”!
- I couldn’t believe it when he told me, “Here’s your shovel”!
When both the sentence and the spoken words are exclamations, the exclamation mark (only one) goes inside the closing quotation mark.
- Their mother yelled at them, “Clean up that mess! Right now!”
- She was absolutely terrified when the ghost shouted, “Boo!”