Last modified on 4 October 2012, at 16:17

Saylor.org's English Composition/Exclamation Points and Question Marks

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Exclamation MarksEdit

The American writer F. Scott Fitzgerald had some choice words on the use of exclamation marks

"Cut out all those exclamation points. An exclamation point is like laughing at your own joke"---F. Scott Fitzgerald

An exclamation point (!) is a punctuation mark intended to emphasize strong feelings or high volume or delivery (as if one would shout this fact). Generally, in academic writing, exclamation points are not only unnecessary, they are inappropriate, unless they are originally included in text that you are quoting. Even if you, the author, find a particular fact exciting, noteworthy or interesting, using exclamation marks in academic writing is unnecessary. If academic writing is strong enough, it is apparent to readers what facts should be considered the most important.

Question MarksEdit

The use of question marks (?) is fairly straightforward. If you write a question (rhetorical or otherwise), you should include a question mark at the end. At the same time, don't add question marks to sentences that answer questions.

Does F. Scott Fitzgerald dislike exclamation marks.

should be revised as:

Does F. Scott Fitzgerald dislike exclamation marks?