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Exclamatory Words


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Growing up as a child, I've had quite a bit of trouble understanding how one word that ends in an exclamation point can be considered a sentence. Our teachers always explained to us that they are called "action sentences". I am currently taking a refresher course in English and it is only lately that it dawned on me that these sentences can also be called "Exclamatory Words". When put that way, it actually started to make sense. Exclamatory words are used to solicit strong emotional responses, and below is a list I have put together off the top of my head.

Run!

Brilliant!

Fantastic!

Go!

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That's interesting to learn, and I can agree. An action word, otherwise known as a verb, works well enough by itself because it needs no further explanation. Someone might tell you "Take it!" or "Go!". I think these actually work in your brain in another way than regular speech, sort of assigned a higher priority.

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The other common usage of exclamation marks is to show surprise or emphasise unexpected information: "I went a date with the guy and he brought his sister with him!"

They are also commonly used to emphasise feelings: "Very annoying!" or "I was so upset!"

Marketing copy over-uses exclamations as a method of attracting attention to whatever it is they're trying to say.

(And I just saw this thread, where my remarks would have been more appropriate... oops!)

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Awesome! I'm so glad to hear that exclamatory words are beginning to make sense to you. Some other examples of exclamatory words would be: Awesome! Ouch! Hooray! Unbelievable!

Exclamatory words that can stand alone as a sentence while expressing emotions or reactions are called interjections. Interjections don’t require a subject or verb to express a thought. However, they can be inserted in a sentence by using commas.

For example: Brilliant, you solved the puzzle! Ouch, that really hurts! Awesome, you got the job!

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Good points. I use exclamatory words quite often. My friends use them a lot too. I think that people who become parents probably use them more than anyone else. These are just a few of the ones that are typically used when adults are telling children to hurry along, stop loitering, go out the door and get to school on time and so on.

"Come here!"

"Run!"

"Go!"

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The other common usage of exclamation marks is to show surprise or emphasise unexpected information: "I went a date with the guy and he brought his sister with him!"

This is the context I was taught about using exclamation marks.

Also agree that sales copy has abused of them in a call to action attempt, but used wisely, exclamation marks can empower a sentence or simply differentiate one concept from another.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Very interesting, I've never thought of this before. I'm not sure if this could be counted into this category, but I think the current lingo people are using contains some of these words too, such as "epic" and "omg". I think you'd rarely say those words/phrases alone without the use of an exclamation.

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  • 3 weeks later...

This is the context I was taught about using exclamation marks.

Also agree that sales copy has abused of them in a call to action attempt, but used wisely, exclamation marks can empower a sentence or simply differentiate one concept from another.

I too thought of words of surprise like "Oh!" when I was reading this.  I am glad because I really didn't think about the "action part" of so many uses.  As to advertising, I always see words like "wow" "save" and "great deals" often followed by exclamation points and do agree they are rather overused.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I think one way to make the use of explanatory words as sentences is to remember that it is a command, and when a sentence is a command it often doesn't have a subject as "you" is understood. As in "take the dog for a walk" or "bring the basket over here". The subject in both of these sentences is "you", as in the person the speaker is speaking to. Because it is not said, it is understood. Therefore a sentence such as "run!" would be a full sentence because it contains the verb, run, and an understood subject, which are the most basic requirements for a sentence.

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Interesting thoughts on the exclamation mark here, haha. I'm probably guilty of over using it too. I often use it to show excitement...probably the same way sales people intend to use them :/

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Exclamatory words are usually interjections. Interjections are included in your basic Parts of Speech. This is what Wikipedia says: In grammar, an interjection or exclamation may be a word used to express an emotion or sentiment on the part of the speaker. An interjection is sometimes expressed as a single word or non-sentence phrase, followed by a punctuation mark. The isolated usage of an interjection does not represent a complete sentence in conventional English writing. Thus, in formal writing, the interjection will be incorporated into a larger sentence clause. Interjection as a figure of speech refers to the use of one word.

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