Exclamation mark

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!
Exclamation mark
¡  ՜  ǃ
Inverted exclamation mark Armenian exclamation mark  Alveolar click sign
Punctuation
apostrophe   '
brackets [ ]  ( )  { }  ⟨ ⟩
colon :
comma ,  ،  
dash   –  —  ―
ellipsis   ...  . . .
exclamation mark !
full stop, period .
hyphen
hyphen-minus -
question mark ?
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Word dividers
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General typography
ampersand &
asterisk *
at sign @
backslash \
bullet
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dagger † ‡
degree °
ditto mark
inverted exclamation mark ¡
inverted question mark ¿
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numero sign
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ordinal indicator º ª
percent, per mil % ‰
plus and minus + −
basis point
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Intellectual property
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service mark
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Uncommon typography
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hedera
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interrobang
irony punctuation
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Related
In other scripts

The exclamation mark or exclamation point is a punctuation mark usually used after an interjection or exclamation to indicate strong feelings or high volume (shouting), and often marks the end of a sentence. Example: “Watch out!” Similarly, a bare exclamation mark (with nothing before or after) is often used in warning signs.

The mark can also be used at the beginning of a word instead of at the end. For example, several computer languages use "!" for logical negation; e.g. "!A" means "the logical negation of A", also called "not A". There are many other specialized uses of this mark, such as in mathematics where it denotes the factorial operation.

History[edit]

Graphically the exclamation mark is represented as a full stop point with a vertical line above. One theory of its origin is that it is derived from a Latin exclamation of joy (io). The modern graphical representation is believed to have been born in the Middle Ages. The Medieval copyists used to write at the end of a sentence the Latin word io to indicate joy. The word io meant hurray. Along time, the i moved above the o, and the o became smaller, becoming a point.[1][2]

The exclamation mark was first introduced into English printing in the 15th century to show emphasis, and was called the "sign of admiration or exclamation"[3] or the "note of admiration" until the mid-17th century;[4] admiration referred to its Latin sense of wonderment.

The exclamation mark did not have its own dedicated key on standard manual typewriters before the 1970s. Instead, one typed a period, backspaced, and typed an apostrophe.[5] In the 1950s, secretarial dictation and typesetting manuals in America referred to the mark as "bang,"[6][7] perhaps from comic books where the ! appeared in dialogue balloons to represent a gun being fired,[8] although the nickname probably emerged from letterpress printing.[9] This bang usage is behind the titles of the interrobang, an uncommon typographic character, and a shebang line, a feature of Unix computer systems.

Slang and other names for the exclamation mark[edit]

This punctuation mark is called, in the printing world, a screamer, a gasper, a slammer, or a startler.[10]

In hacker culture, the exclamation mark is called "bang", "shriek", or, in the British slang known as Commonwealth Hackish, "pling". For example, the password communicated in the spoken phrase "Your password is em-zero-pee-aitch-pling-en-three" is m0ph!n3.[citation needed]

Other slang names are dembanger and shout pole.[citation needed]

Languages[edit]

The exclamation mark is common to languages using the Latin alphabet, although usage varies slightly between languages. The exclamation mark was also adopted in languages written in other scripts, such as Greek, Russian, Arabic, Hebrew, Chinese, Korean and Japanese but it has never been found in Hindi.

American English[edit]

A sentence ending in an exclamation mark may be an exclamation (such as "Wow!", "Boo!"), or an imperative ("Stop!"), or may indicate astonishment: "They were the footprints of a gigantic duck!" Exclamation marks are occasionally placed mid-sentence with a function similar to a comma, for dramatic effect, although this usage is obsolescent: "On the walk, oh! there was a frightful noise."[11]

Informally, exclamation marks may be repeated for additional emphasis ("That's great!!!"), but this practice is generally considered unacceptable in formal prose.[12]

The exclamation mark is sometimes used in conjunction with the question mark. This can be in protest or astonishment ("Out of all places, the squatter-camp?!"); a few writers replace this with a single, nonstandard punctuation mark, the interrobang, which is the combination of a question mark and an exclamation point.[13] Again, this is informal.

Overly frequent use of the exclamation mark is generally considered poor writing, for it distracts the reader and devalues the mark's significance.

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

Some authors, however, most notably Tom Wolfe and Madison Acampora, are known for unashamedly liberal use of the exclamation mark. In comic books, the very frequent use of exclamation mark is common—see Comics, below.

For information on the use of spaces after an exclamation mark, see the discussion of spacing after a full stop.

Several studies have shown that women use exclamation marks more than men do, and one study suggests that, in addition to other usage, exclamation points may also function as markers of friendly interaction, for example, by making "Hi!" or "Good luck!" seem friendlier than simply "Hi." or "Good luck." (with periods).[14]

English[edit]

In British English writing and often subtitles, a (!) symbol (an exclamation point within parentheses) implies that a character has made an obviously sarcastic comment e.g.: "Ooh, a sarcasm detector. That's a really useful invention(!)"[15]

French[edit]

In French, next to marking exclamations or indicating astonishment, the exclamation mark is also commonly used to mark orders or requests: Viens ici ! (English: "Come here!"). A space (« espace fine ») is used between the last word and the exclamation mark.

German[edit]

In German, the exclamation mark has several specific uses for which English employs other forms of punctuation:

  • In the salutation line of a letter, for which English uses a comma: Lieber Hans! (English: "Dear Hans,") In this case, the first word of the following sentence begins with a capital letter. However, usage of a comma, as in English, is both acceptable and far more common.
  • On signs, not just those warning of danger as discussed below, the exclamation mark is used to emphasize the sign's content: Betreten verboten! (English: "No trespassing")
  • At the end of an imperative sentence: Ruf mich morgen an! (English: "Call me tomorrow.")

Spanish[edit]

In Spanish, a sentence or clause ending in an exclamation mark must also begin with an inverted exclamation mark (the same also applies to the question mark):

¿Estás loco? ¡Casi la mataste! – "Are you crazy? You almost killed her!"

For informal written online communications, however, usage of inverted question and exclamation marks has become less common.

As in British English, a bracketed exclamation mark may be used to indicate irony or surprise at a statement:

Dice que esta noche no va a salir de fiesta (!). – "He said that he's not going to a party tonight(!)."

Such use is not matched by an inverted opening exclamation mark.

Turkish[edit]

In Turkish, an exclamation mark is used after a sentence or phrase for emphasis, and is common following both commands and the addressees of such commands. For example, in Ordular! İlk hedefiniz Akdenizdir, ileri! ("Armies! Your first target is the Mediterranean") order by Atatürk, ordular (the armies) constitute the addressee. It is further used in parentheses "(!)" after a sentence or phrase to indicate irony or sarcasm: Çok iyi bir iş yaptın (!) ("You've done a very good job – Not!").

Phonetics[edit]

In Khoisan languages, and the International Phonetic Alphabet, the exclamation mark is used as a letter to indicate the postalveolar click sound (represented as q in Zulu orthography). In Unicode, this letter is properly coded as U+01C3 ǃ latin letter retroflex click and distinguished from the common punctuation symbol U+0021 ! exclamation mark to allow software to deal properly with word breaks.

The exclamation point has sometimes been used as a phonetic symbol to indicate that a consonant is ejective. More commonly this is represented by an apostrophe, or a superscript glottal stop symbol (U+02C0 ˀ modifier letter glottal stop).

Interrobang[edit]

Main article: Interrobang

There is a non–standard punctuation mark intended to combine the functions of a question mark and an exclamation mark in English called interrobang, which resembles those marks superimposed over one another ("") but it is seldom seen outside Wikipedia articles or Unicode documentation[citation needed] - the sequence of "?!" or "!?" is used almost exclusively.

Proper names[edit]

Although exclamation marks are, as a standard, part of a complete sentence and not the spelling of individual words, they appear in many proper names, especially in commercial advertising. Prominent examples include the Web service Yahoo!, and Joomla! the game show Jeopardy! and the '60s musical TV show Shindig!. The titles of the musicals Oklahoma!, Oliver! and Oh! Calcutta! and the movies Airplane! and Moulin Rouge! also contain exclamation points. Writer Elliot S! Maggin and cartoonist Scott Shaw! include exclamation marks in their names.

Place names[edit]

The English town of Westward Ho!, named after the novel by Charles Kingsley, is the only place name in the United Kingdom that officially contains an exclamation mark. There is a town in Quebec called Saint-Louis-du-Ha! Ha!, which is spelled with two exclamation marks. The city of Hamilton, Ohio, changed its name to Hamilton! in 1986.[16] The city of Ostrava, Czech Republic, changed its logotype to Ostrava!!! in 2008.[17]

Warnings[edit]

Warning signs are often an exclamation point enclosed within a triangle

Exclamation marks are used to emphasize a precautionary statement.

On warning signs, an exclamation mark is often used to draw attention to a warning of danger, hazards, and the unexpected. These signs are common in hazardous environments or on potentially dangerous equipment. A common type of this warning is a yellow triangle with a black exclamation mark, but a white triangle with a red border is common on European road warning signs.

Unicode[edit]

The mark is encoded as U+0021 ! exclamation mark (HTML: !).

Related forms are encoded:

  • U+01C3 ǃ latin letter retroflex click (HTML: ǃ) (In IPA: alveolar click)
  • U+203C double exclamation mark (HTML: ‼) (for use in vertical text)
  • U+2048 question exclamation mark (HTML: ⁈) (for use in vertical text)
  • U+2049 exclamation question mark (HTML: ⁉) (for use in vertical text)
  • U+2755 white exclamation mark ornament (HTML: ❕) (in Unicode lingo, “white” means “hollow”)
  • U+2757 heavy exclamation mark symbol (HTML: ❗)
  • U+2762 heavy exclamation mark ornament (HTML: ❢)
  • U+2763 heavy heart exclamation mark ornament (HTML: ❣)
  • U+A71D modifier letter raised exclamation mark (HTML: ꜝ)
  • U+A71E modifier letter raised inverted exclamation mark (HTML: ꜞ)
  • U+A71F modifier letter low inverted exclamation mark (HTML: ꜟ)
  • U+FE57 small exclamation mark (HTML: ﹗) (for special applications within CJK text)
  • U+FF01 fullwidth exclamation mark (HTML: !) (for special applications within CJK text)
  • U+E0021 tag exclamation mark (HTML: 󠀡)

Some scripts have their own exclamation mark:

Use in various fields[edit]

Mathematics[edit]

In mathematics, the symbol represents the factorial operation. The expression n! means "the product of the integers from 1 to n". For example, 4! (read four factorial) is 4 × 3 × 2 × 1 = 24. (0! is defined as 1, which is a neutral element in multiplication, not multiplied by anything.) It also can represent uniqueness.

Computers[edit]

In computing, the exclamation mark (sometimes called a "bang")[18] corresponds to ASCII character 33 (21 in hexadecimal). It is therefore found in Unicode at U+0021 ! exclamation mark. The inverted exclamation mark is found in ISO-8859-1, 9 and 15 at position 161 (A1HEX) and in Unicode at U+00A1 ¡ inverted exclamation mark.

The name given to "!" by programmers varies according to their background. In the UK the term pling was popular in the earlier days of computing, whilst in the USA the term shriek was used. It is claimed that these word usages were invented in the US and shriek is from Stanford or MIT; however, shriek for the ! sign is found in the Oxford English Dictionary dating from the 1860s.

Several computer languages use "!" for various meanings, most importantly for logical negation; e.g. A != B means "A is not equal to B", and !A means "the logical negation of A" (also called "not A"). In the UK, BBC BASIC used pling as an indirection operator, equivalent to PEEK and POKE of four bytes at once.[19]

Plings are also used in Acorn RISC OS to denote an application directory: a folder that when double clicked executes a program file inside called !Run. Other files in the appfolder generally contain resources the application needs to run. The appfolder can be viewed as a normal folder by double-clicking with the shift key held down. In addition, other special resource files such as !Boot (executed the first time the application containing it comes into view of the filer), !Sprites (an icon file containing icon definitions loaded if !Boot cannot be found) and !Help (a text, HTML or other executable file listed in the filer menu for the application) also start with a pling.

Early e-mail systems also used the exclamation mark as a separator character between hostnames for routing information, usually referred to as "bang path" notation.

In the IRC protocol, a user's nickname and ident are separated by an exclamation point in the hostmask assigned to him or her by the server.

In the Geek Code version 3, "!" is used before a letter to denote that the geek refuses to participate in the topic at hand. In some cases, it has an alternate meaning, such as G! denoting a geek of no qualifications, !d denoting not wearing any clothes, P! denoting not being allowed to use Perl, and so on. They all share some negative connotations however.

When computer programs display messages that alert the user, an exclamation mark may be shown alongside it to indicate that the message is important and should be read. This often happens when an error is made, or to obtain user consent for hazardous operations such as deleting data.

In UNIX scripting (typically for UNIX shell or Perl), "!" is usually used after a "#" in the first line of a script, the interpreter directive, to tell the OS what program to use to run the script. The "#!" is usually called a "hash-bang" or shebang.

An exclamation mark starts history expansions in many Unix shells such as bash and tcsh where !! executes the previous command and !* refers to all of the arguments from the previous command.

In the ML programming language (including Standard ML and OCaml), "!" is the operator to get the value out of a "reference" data structure.

In the Haskell programming language, "!" is used to express strictness.

In the Scheme and Ruby programming languages, "!" is conventionally the suffix for functions and special forms which mutate their input.

In the Swift programming language, a type followed by "!" denotes an "implicitly unwrapped optional", an option type where the compiler does not enforce safe unwrapping. The "!" operator "force unwraps" an option type, causing an error if it is nil.

Video games[edit]

In the Metal Gear series of stealth games, a red exclamation point (!) appears above an enemy's head with a short loud noise if the enemy sees the player. When this happens, the enemy will try to attack the player.

In the Pokémon series, an exclamation points appear above the heads of other trainers when they spot the main character's trainer. In certain versions of the game, an exclamation point also appears on the main character's head when he hooks a fish on one of the game's three rods (Old Rod, Good Rod and Super Rod).

In the Paper Mario series, an exclamation point appear over an enemy's heads if the enemy notices Mario, Luigi, Peach, or Bowser.

In the Warcraft series, NPC's having available quests for players are represented with a yellow exclamation point floating over their heads. If the quest is repeatable it is represented with a blue exclamation point. Flight masters, used to travel players from location to location, are represented with a green exclamation mark floating over their heads if they have not yet been discovered.

In the Counter-Strike games, a green exclamation point appears above a player's head if the player uses a radio command.

Internet culture[edit]

In recent Internet culture, especially where leet is used, multiple exclamation marks may be affixed with the numeral "1" as in !!!!!!111. The notation originates from a common error: when typing multiple exclamation points quickly, the typist may fail to hold the Shift1 combination which produces the exclamation mark on many keyboard layouts. This error, first used intentionally as a joke in the leet linguistic community, is now an accepted form of exclamation in leet and derivative dialects such as Lolspeak.[20] Some utterances include further substitutions, for example "!!!111oneeleven".[21]

In fandom and fanfiction, ! is used to signify a defining quality in a character, usually signifying an alternative interpretation of a character from a canonical work. Examples of this would be "Romantic!Draco" or "Vampire!Harry" from Harry Potter fandom. It is also used to clarify the current persona of a character with multiple identities or appearances, such as to distinguish "Armor!Al" from "Human!Al" in a work based on Fullmetal Alchemist. The origin of this usage is unknown, although it is hypothesized to have originated with certain Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles action figures, for example, "Football Player! Leonardo", "Rockstar! Raphael", and "Breakdancer! Michelangelo".[citation needed]

Comics[edit]

This Action Comics cover from 1959 ends every sentence with an exclamation point or question mark. Often, few or no periods would be used in the entire book.

Some comic books, especially superhero comics of the mid-20th century, routinely use the exclamation point instead of the period, which means the character has just realized something; unlike when the question mark appears instead, which means the character is confused, surprised or he does not know what is happening. This tends to lead to exaggerated speech, in line with the other hyperboles common in comic books. A portion of the motivation, however, was simply that a period might disappear in the printing process used at the time, whereas an exclamation point would likely remain recognizable even if there was a printing glitch. For a short period Stan Lee, as Editor-in-Chief of Marvel Comics, attempted to curb their overuse by a short-lived ban on exclamation points altogether, which led to an inadvertent lack of ending punctuation on many sentences.[22]

Comic book writer Elliot S! Maggin once accidentally signed his name with an exclamation due to the habit of using them when writing comic scripts; it became his professional name from then on.[23][24] Similarly, comic artist Scott Shaw! has used the exclamation point after his name throughout his career.

In comic books and comics in general, a large exclamation point is often used near or over a character's head to indicate surprise. A question mark can similarly be used to indicate confusion. This practice also appears in some video games.

Chess[edit]

Main article: Punctuation (chess)

In chess notation "!" denotes a good move, "!!" denotes an excellent move, "?!" denotes a dubious move, and "!?" denotes an interesting, risky move. In some chess variants such as large-board Shogi variants, "!" is used to record pieces capturing by stationary feeding or burning.

Scrabble[edit]

In Scrabble, an exclamation mark written after a word is used to indicate its presence in the Official Tournament and Club Word List but its absence from the Official Scrabble Players Dictionary, usually because the word has been judged offensive.

Baseball[edit]

Exclamation points or asterisks can be used on scorecards to denote a "great defensive play".[25]

Popular music[edit]

The band "!!!" (pronounced "Chk Chk Chk") uses exclamation points as its name.[26]

In 2008, the pop punk band Panic! At the Disco dropped the exclamation point in its name; this became the "most-discussed topic on [fan] message boards around the world".[27] In 2009, the exclamation mark was re-inserted following the band's split.[28]

The band Bomb the Music Industry! utilizes an exclamation mark in its name, as well as several album and song titles and promotional material. Examples include their songs "(Shut) Up The Punx!!!" and the album Adults!!!: Smart!!! Shithammered!!! And Excited by Nothing!!!!!!!.

American musician Pink is known to use an exclamation point in her stage name, (P!nk),[29] as well as three in the subtitle of her Greatest Hits album, So Far!!!, which was released in 2010.[30]

Television[edit]

The exclamation mark was the subject of a bitter argument between Elaine Benes and her boyfriend, Jake Jarmel, in the Seinfeld episode, “The Sniffing Accountant”. Elaine got upset with Jake for not putting an exclamation mark at the end of a message about a friend having a baby. Jake took extreme exception to the trivial criticism and broke up with Elaine, putting an exclamation mark after his parting words: “I’M LEAVING!”

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ White, Jan V. (1991). Graphic Idea Notebook. Allworth Press New York. ASIN 0935603646. 
  2. ^ Manunzio, Aldo (1531). Romani Institutionum grammaticarum libri IIII. 
  3. ^ MacKellar, Thomas (1885). The American Printer: A Manual of Typography, Containing Practical Directions for Managing all Departments of a Printing Office, As Well as Complete Instructions for Apprentices: With Several Useful Tables, Numerous Schemes for Imposing Forms in Every Variety, Hints to Authors, Etc. (Fifteenth - Revised and Enlarged ed.). Philadelphia: MacKellar, Smiths & Jordan. p. 65. 
  4. ^ Truss, Lynne (2004). Eats, Shoots & Leaves: the zero tolerance approach to punctuation. New York: Gotham Books. p. 137. ISBN 1-59240-087-6. 
  5. ^ Truss (2004), p. 135.
  6. ^ Wilkinson, Clyde (1955). Communicating through letters and reports. Richard Irwin. p. 651. ISBN 0-256-02270-4. 
  7. ^ Hendrickson, Robert (1982). The literary life and other curiosities. Penguin Books. p. 358. 
  8. ^ "ASCII Pronunciation Guide". 
  9. ^ Haley, Allan. "Punctuation". [dead link]
  10. ^ Truss, Lynn (2004). Eats, Shoot & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation. New York: Gotham Books. p. 136. ISBN 1-59240-087-6. 
  11. ^ The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe. "Villains!" I shrieked, "dissemble no more! I admit the deed! — tear up the planks! — here, here! — it is the beating of his hideous heart!"
  12. ^ "Effective use of email". E-strategy guide. Government of Australia, Dept. of Broadband. January 23, 2008. Retrieved 2013-08-25. 
  13. ^ Upside Down Exclamation Point
  14. ^ Carol Waseleski. "Gender and the Use of Exclamation Points in Computer-Mediated Communication: An Analysis of Exclamations Posted to Two Electronic Discussion Lists". Jcmc.indiana.edu. Retrieved 2012-10-12. 
  15. ^ "Being sarcastic". Learning English - How To. BBC World Service. Retrieved 2008-07-31. 
  16. ^ Kemme, Steve (September 21, 2001). "City's gimmick made a point". The Cincinnati Enquirer. Retrieved 2010-08-26.
  17. ^ "Logo of the City of Ostrava"
  18. ^ Raymond, Eric S. (1996). The New Hacker's Dictionary (3rd ed.). The MIT Press. p. 55. ISBN 978-0-262-68092-9. 
  19. ^ John Littler, John Maher (1989). Computers in the laboratory: a student guide to microprocessor interfacing. Longman. pp. 53, 54. Retrieved 30 Jan 2012. 
  20. ^ Gawne, L. & Vaughan, J. (2012). "I can haz language play: The construction of language and identity in LOLspeak.". Proceedings of the 42nd Australian Linguistic Society Conference - 2011: 97–122. 
  21. ^ Blashki, Katherine & Nichol, Sophie (2005). "Game Geek’s Goss: Linguistic Creativity In Young Males Within An Online University Forum (94/\/\3 933k’5 9055oneone)". Australian Journal of Emerging Technologies and Society 3 (2): 78. Retrieved 25 November 2012. 
  22. ^ Cronin, Brian (January 28, 2010). Comic Book Legends Revealed #245. Comic Book Resources. Retrieved 2010-08-26.
  23. ^ Adams, Eury, Swan (2006). The Krypton Companion. TwoMorrows Publishing. p. 141. ISBN 978-1-893905-61-0. Retrieved 2010-08-25.
  24. ^ Superman.nu[dead link] Elliot S! Maggin Fan page.
  25. ^ Holz, Sean. Scoring Baseball - Advanced Symbols Baseball-Almanac.com
  26. ^ Seabrook, Andrea (May 17, 2007). "The Musicians of !!!: Making Their Own 'Myths' " (Audio: Flash or MP3). All Things Considered. NPR. Retrieved 2010-08-26.
  27. ^ Montgomery, James; Elias, Matt (January 11, 2008). "Panic At The Disco Explain Excised Exclamation Point". Artist News. MTV News. Retrieved 2010-08-26.
  28. ^ Maura (July 10, 2009). "Panic! At The Disco Post New Music, Restore Their Exclamation Point". Retrieved 2009-07-16.
  29. ^ "P!nk's Biography | The Official P!nk Site". Pinkspage.com. Retrieved 2012-10-12. 
  30. ^ "P!nk Music: Greatest Hits... So Far!!! (Edited) | The Official P!nk Site". Pinkspage.com. Retrieved 2012-10-12. 

External links[edit]