Exclamatory Sentence: Definition & Examples

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  • 0:00 Background on Language…
  • 0:50 What Is an Exclamatory…
  • 2:18 Examples of…
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Angela Janovsky

Angela has taught middle and high school English, Business English and Speech for nine years. She has a bachelor's degree in psychology and has earned her teaching license.

In this lesson, you will learn how types of sentences express specific meanings. In particular, we'll learn about exclamatory sentences and go over examples to demonstrate their importance.

Background on Language & Sentences

Think about all living creatures on the planet. Humans have many things in common with all those creatures, but one thing sets humans apart from all other living things. That thing is language. All language is designed with a single purpose: to communicate. Many other species communicate, but none have the complex communication system of humans.

Specifically, there are many methods in our communication that add to the complexity of our language. One such method is the use of sentence, or a series of words that are grammatically linked. Sentences serve four main purposes: to make a statement, to ask a question, to make a demand, and to show strong feeling. The types of sentences that show strong feelings are called exclamatory sentences.

What is an Exclamatory Sentence?

Let's examine this pair of sentences:

Where are you going?
I don't want to go to the beach.

What is the difference in meaning between the two? You should see that the first is asking a question, implying that an answer is wanted in return. The second sentence is merely making a statement, or declaring a feeling or thought. Now, what is the difference in punctuation? Again, you should see that the question ends with a question mark and the statement ends with a period.

Exclamatory sentences are essentially statements, just like the second example in the pair of sentences we just discussed. However, there is one important difference: since exclamatory sentences express a strong feeling, the punctuation must reflect that emotion. Consider the following sentence:

I don't want to go to the beach!

In wording, it is exactly the same as the first version. But do you see the difference? This sentence now ends with an exclamation mark. All exclamatory sentences end with an exclamation mark. This punctuation shows the feeling is a strong one, and that this sentence is not just a statement. Read these two sentences out loud to yourself:

I don't want to go to the beach.
I don't want to go to the beach!

What was the difference in how each one was said? You should say the second one with more feeling, more emphasis, and maybe even at more of a yell. That is what the exclamation mark means. The feeling must be much stronger than a mere declaration.

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