Exclamatory Sentences: What Are Exclamatory Sentences? Definition and Examples

By Carly Forsaith, updated on June 2, 2023

If you want to know what exclamatory sentences are and how to use them, you've come to the right place. This article will teach you everything you need to know.

In short:

Exclamatory sentences allow you to express your emotions and feelings. They end with an exclamation mark.

This guide is part of our free online Grammar Book.

What Are Exclamatory Sentences?

According to the Cambridge Dictionary, 'exclamatory' means:

"expressing surprise, emotion, or pain by means of an exclamation or exclamations "

This pretty much sums up the role of an exclamatory sentence. You can use it to express emotions like surprise, anger, disgust, pain, and so on.

Exclamatory sentences are one of four types of sentences, with the other three being interrogative, declarative, and imperative. In fact, they resemble declarative sentences a lot in that they make a statement. But the difference is that they also convey an emotion. What's more, they often end with a question mark, which conveys the emotion even more strongly.

Here are some examples of exclamatory sentences:

What a surprise!

Ouch, that hurts!

I can't believe it!

Exclamatory sentences end with an exclamation mark.

We're going to look at the structure of an exclamatory sentence so you know how to make your own. But before we do, I just want you to be wary of using exclamatory sentences too often.

  • These types of sentences are used in order to convey emotion, which is easy to overuse.

Think about it:

  • If you know someone who gets angry a lot, their anger has less and less impact on you over time.
  • Similarly, if somebody is always dancing around excitedly, you might just start to ignore them after a while.

The same goes with your sentences: if you are always adding in emotion, your readers or listeners will eventually become numb to them. So use exclamatory sentences wisely!

Structure of an Exclamatory Sentence

If you want to make an exclamatory sentence, there are several ways you can go about it. You can use interjections or not. You can use exclamatory pronouns or not. And you can choose from various punctuation options.

Interjections in an Exclamatory Sentence

Interjections are short, single words used to express various emotions and expressions or make a request. They can either be made-up words (primary interjections) or real words (secondary interjections).

Here are some examples of both these types of interjections:

If you want to use these interjections in your sentences, what you need to know is that they can either stand-alone with an exclamation, or you can follow them with a comma and continue on with the rest of the sentence.

There isn't one way that's better than the other - it's completely up to you!

Case in point:

Wow! That's a big boat.
Wow, that's a big boat!

Great! Let's go then.
Great, let's go then!

Jeepers creepers, I wouldn't like to live in that haunted house!
Jeepers creepers! I wouldn't like to live in that haunted house.

The advantage of having your interjection stand-alone is that it gives you the freedom to follow it up with a different type of sentence. Whereas if you follow your interjection with a comma and connect it to the rest of the sentence, you have to follow it with an exclamatory sentence.

Let me illustrate:

Wow, you have beautiful eyes!

Wow! Are you those your eyes?

Using Exclamatory Pronouns

There are two exclamatory pronouns in English: 'what' and 'how.' While these are usually used to begin a question, in this case, they can also be used to begin an exclamatory sentence.

Let's see what that looks like in a sentence:

What a beautiful coat that is!

How amazing that you've been accepted onto the program

What a wonderful world we live in!

You might have noticed that the word order seems a little abnormal in some of these sentences. This is called an anastrophe: you deliberately shake up the usual order of the words in a sentence for dramatic effect. 

You can combine exclamatory pronouns with the interjections we talked about in the previous section.

For example:

Wow, what a goal!

Examples of Exclamatory Sentences

Now that we've covered the basics around exclamatory sentences and how to use them, let's take a look at some examples of exclamatory sentences.

Oh, grandma, what big eyes you've got!

I can't believe it! My tooth is loose!

You had no right to do that!

I know you're the one who took my lunch!

Ew, this milk has curdled!

Concluding Thoughts on Exclamatory Sentences

That concludes this article on exclamatory sentences. I can't believe how quickly that went by!

Did you notice I just used an exclamatory sentence? The truth is, they're everywhere. And now you know more about them, you'll see them everywhere.

Now let's summarize what we've learned:

  • Exclamatory sentences convey emotion.
  • They always end with an exclamation mark.
  • Interjections and exclamatory pronouns allow you to take your sentences to the next level.
  • Don't overuse them.

If you enjoyed this article, check out our Grammar Book, a free online database full of articles that cover various grammatical concepts. Great if you're looking to take your grammar to the next level.

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Written By:
Carly Forsaith
Carly Forsaith is one of the lead freelance writers for WritingTips.org. Carly is a copywriter who has been writing about the English language for over 3 years. Before that, she was a teacher in Thailand, helping people learn English as a second language. She is a total grammar nerd and spends her time spotting language errors on signs and on the internet.

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