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Interjections call a time-out from everything happening in the story, interrupting for an important announcement, often with a shout. They can stand alone, without subject or verb, terminated with a period or exclamation mark. Or they can be one or more words within a sentence, set off with commas.

  • Exclaim with Words.

When writers try to turn up the volume with exclamation marks, they miss the importance of letting the words do the talking instead of the punctuation. An exclamation mark is not a part of speech. It’s a mark at the end of the words, saying, By the way, those words you just read—those were supposed to be louder, so please back up and adjust your perception.

 

Limit your use of exclamation marks to one-word shouts when a period seems unacceptable.

  1. Wow! I can’t believe he did that!!! that. (Never use more than one exclamation mark.)
  2. Oh no! no, I’ve locked my keys in the car.
  3. I enjoy my swimming pool but, good grief! grief, a hundred degrees is still too hot.
  4. Well, good grits and gravy! gravy. I never expected to see you here.