Talk:Exclamation mark

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Harry Potter/Fullmetal Alchemist references[edit]

The references to Fullmetal Alchemist and Harry Potter are useless to those not familiar with the show. We should replace them with something more generic or well known. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:40, 12 November 2010 (UTC)

Old text[edit]

What other Exclamation marks are there other than the punctuation variety? Where is the ambiguity? --maveric149

Dunno. I wondered the same thing as I was staggering along through that list under punctuation.

What is the approved way of killing off something like this? I usually take the "wrong" entry and make it a redirect to the "right" entry. That way I don't necessarily have to edit every link to it. But I recognize that as a pretty weinie approach. Ortolan88

Nothing "weinie" about it, so long as the article ends up in the right place. Do you wish to move/redirect these or should I? --maveric149

Asian languages?[edit]

Nowadays asian languages such as chinese and japanese also use the western exclamation and question marks. Is it known when they started using it, and what it replaced? - (talk) 23:41, 6 January 2008 (UTC)

Question marks with exclamations[edit]

What's considered more proper out of these ways to end a sentence? "What?!" or "What!?"

Ending sentences?[edit]

Exclamation mark... it doesn't always end a sentence, especially in older forms of English (and possibly other languages) than are mostly used today. For instance (off the top of my head): "They looked up and lo! the sun shone brightly." Obviously not a great example, and I've not read any holy texts in a long time, but I'm sure that these marks were once used just as mid-sentence exclamations, even if I'm the only person around who uses them that way still.

Can anyone support this, or refute it?

Also, in at least one language today where ‘¿’ and ‘¡’ is used I have seen something like “¡Yes!, of course.” I don’t remember what that language was, though. Rafał Pocztarski 23:26, 5 Sep 2004 (UTC)
That happens often in Spanish. For example, a sentence like "But what's happened?" could be written "¿Pero qué ha pasado?", but "Pero, ¿qué ha pasado?" would be regarded as more precise.
Yes, you use them for the interrogative or exclaimatory clause, not sentence.

See Abiezer Coppe's a Fiery Flying Roll from 1649: "And now (my dearest ones!) every one under the Sun..."

In English, they are no more acceptable mid-sentence than are question-marks. They can only be used at the ends of sentences. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:51, 18 September 2008 (UTC)

Computer warning image[edit]

The computer warning image is pretty lame. A little too generic, don't you think? I'd replace it with a more exemplary sample but I'd first like to clear up whether an exclamation mark is a Win32-specific warning icon. The only other desktop GUIs I'm familiar with are a variety of X Window System widgets and atrocities. Any Mac people care to chime in? mordemur 13:37, 11 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Multiple exclamation marks!!![edit]

This article should mention the temptation to use multiple exclamation marks to emphasise the importance of a sentence!!! But it should also mention that this practice is discouraged in formal or professional writing!!!!!! Perhaps it should also include a reference to the "!!!!1111!!!oneoneone" phenomenon in leet!!!!!!!!!

However, there's a brand of wine whose official name is Est! Est!! Est!!!. That's certainly a creative use of typography. JIP | Talk 1 July 2005 11:53 (UTC)

For fun, you could also refer to Terry Pratchett here, a well known fantasy writer who really hates the use of multiple exclamation marks, and has some funny quotes about them in his books:

"'And all those exclamation marks, you notice? Five? A sure sign of someone who wears his underpants on his head.'" 
(in Maskerade)
"'Multiple exclamation marks,' he went on, shaking his head, 'are a 
sure sign of a diseased mind.'"
(in Eric)
"Five exclamation marks, the sure sign of an insane mind."
(Terry Pratchett in "Reaper Man")

I also recall a line from Joseph Heller's Catch 22 that went like this:


I am also eager to find out, if this occurs in Spanish language as well. For example, is the following sentence correct? ¡¿¿¡¿Qué?!??!

-- 15:42, 22 January 2006 (UTC)

I remember one, bu can't find who said it, or the exact wording.

"Don't use exclamation marks. Exclamation marks are like laughing at your own jokes"

The (conservative) magazine National Review once printed a brief style guide for prospective writers. It said that exclamation marks were correct only in speech, and only if the speaker had been recently disembowelled. WHPratt (talk) 15:13, 15 March 2010 (UTC)

Exclamation mark in Germanic languages[edit]

I've been seeing the exclamation mark used in places one wouldn't normally expect in German, Swedish and the like - example, the first line of the Lord's Prayer in Swedish, "Fader vår som är i himmelen!" or the first line of Silent Night in German, "Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht!" Anyone know what the significance of this is? Or am I just being a moron? Idekii 03:02, 8 December 2005 (UTC)

Well, it's because they are exclamations! As opposed to "proper" full sentences of the sort this one isn't. In English we have perhaps tended to use the exclamation mark less nowadays for its original purpose (as opposed to using it to mark an emotion like surprise, anger or humour, as I did above), but some languages are more conservative about these things. Flapdragon 03:10, 8 December 2005 (UTC)

As a native german speaker (and writer) I'd like to note that the exclamation mark is no longer used in letter introductions like "Lieber Hans". Instead we use the comma like in English. The norm DIM 5008 does not state any rule on this as far as I know, but all the examples use a comma.


Maybe this is just a question to Lubaf, but why did my edit for the fandom section get reverted? Granted, it's speculation, but it's only as speculative as the theory about the TMNT figurines, and it's quite a bit more fleshed out. To me, if I had to decide, I'd choose the one that was removed. Occam's Razor and all that, plus it seems more plausible linguistically.

But that's not the point--both theories could have been left up, since they're both out there. I was willing to leave both up, and honestly I find the TMNT idea interesting enough. Frankly, all that either theory has going for it (objectively speaking) is discussions on internet message boards. If one's going to go up, so should the other, since the sources for them are basically the same. Since both sides of the debate exist, it's in Wikipedia's interest to present them both, right?

It didn't have a link, is the thing. While the older version is (still) in need of cleanup, it has a cite in the comments. Can you provide an outside cite of any sort for your theory? Thanks, Luc "Somethingorother" French 05:24, 22 December 2005 (UTC)
A link it has, sure. But the content of that link is merely "I think I heard this on some other website once". It just seems kind of arbitrary, you know? The link doesn't validate it at all. Who's to say that anyone in the link cited for the existence of the TMNT theory other than the person who said it actually believes that? I could just as well say "I heard my aunt say once that her friend Mildred thinks XYZ" as evidence of the existence of XYZ. It's just not very satisfying. If that's the only 'source' available, why give a source at all? Takehome message: Wikipedia should be verifiable, but that's not the same as "It's valid iff it has a URL."
The Fandom section was very difficult to read and didn't make a lot of sense to me. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 01:39, 26 April 2007 (UTC).

Computer Usage[edit]

If anyone is interested...

In the George III operating system running on ICl 1900 series in the early 1970s, ! was available as the name of a file that was not entered into any folder, it would be deleted as soon as you logged out.

In the computer language Forth, "!" is used instead of "=" to store a value in a variable. There is a good reason for this, but too complicated to go into here.CharlesTheBold (talk) 04:47, 7 December 2009 (UTC)

Moving groups[edit]

I'm going to move the groups that are all basically "uses in different fields" to one section (and make them subsections) if everyone's all right with that. In other words, the sections from "Warning" to "Chess" will each get an extra "=" on the sides. Um, the countdown is... three days. I'm changing it on Friday Morning if no one objects here or at my talkpage. --Lenoxus 20:27, 14 March 2006 (UTC)

Er, I take that back. There's a lot more mess here than I noticed the first time around, especially the "Natural languages" section, which seems to be a bit of a ramble -- interesting and important facts, but rambling nonetheless. I'll do some serious thinking about this and turn here if I have any "non-minor" ideas. --Lenoxus 01:15, 22 January 2007 (UTC)
Aaannd... it seems to have been done anyway. I take to credit. --Lenoxus 19:14, 20 February 2007 (UTC)

or shriek or dog's cock[edit]

Is there a source for this? KillerChihuahua?!? 21:33, 16 July 2006 (UTC)

Dog's Cock: "Eats, Shoots and Leaves" by Lynne Truss, section on the exclamation mark. Also's%20cock
"Shriek" is in Henry Alford's A Plea for the Queen's English (1863); it was still a pretty unusual typographical symbol at the time of writing, and he ran through a couple of alternate names for it. I forget the others, though Shimgray | talk | 14:24, 21 August 2006 (UTC)
Aha - here's a copy I made of the passage.
128. While I am upon stops, a word is necessary concerning notes of admiration. A note of admiration consists, as we know, of a point with an upright line suspended over it, strongly suggestive of a gentleman jumping off the ground with amazement. These shrieks, as they have been called, are scattered up and down the page by compositors without mercy. If one has written the words "O sir," as they ought to be written, and are written in Genesis xliii. 20, viz., with the plain capital "O" and no stop, and then a comma after "Sir," our friend the compositor is sure to write "Oh" with a shriek (!) and to put another shriek after "Sir." Use, in writing, as few as possible of these nuisances. They always make the sense weaker, where you can possibly do without them. The only case I know of where they are really necessary, is where the language is pure exclamation, as in "How beautiful is night!" or "O that I might find him!"
Note that he doesn't use "exclamation mark". The OED cites "A note of Exclamation or Admiration, thus noted!" (1657) and "Exclamation..a note by which a pathetical sentence is marked thus!" (Dr. Johnson, 1755). "Exclamation point" or "exclamation" seems to be the normal term from then, with "exclamation mark" only really appearing in the c20th. The first OED cite for "shriek" is the one quoted above, and it appears into the 1970s. Shimgray | talk | 14:30, 21 August 2006 (UTC)

Alternative origin[edit]

The main page refers to 'io' as possible origin. Any credence in the alternative that it is derived from 'Lo' - an expression of surprise?

It's not "Lo," that should be (lowercase) Greek ιω meaning "io." -- 16:02, 29 September 2006 (UTC)

It is not Greek it is Latin.RichardBond (talk) 18:42, 23 December 2009 (UTC)

There is another explanation - that the exclamation mark represents the anus and vagina together, giving this form of punctuation its shock value ... (talk) 07:30, 21 May 2010 (UTC)

I just saw an curved exclamtion point used in Arabic script for the first time and thought "That looks just like a scimtar", and realized that the European version looks like a straight sword. Is there any possibility that the mark is derived from a sort of danger sign that looks like a weapon? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:40, 9 January 2015 (UTC)

Rumored origin of using "bang" for the exclamation mark[edit]

I remember seeing references that the origin of the using the word "bang" for the exclamation point came from typesetting (I believe the early monotype machines where the individual letters were punched out of cold strips of metal (see the first part of the history in Monotype machine). Supposedly the sound made by the "!" character was a bang.

Does anyone have any verification to this origin?

CheyenneWills 15:12, 4 October 2006 (UTC)

Other uses of ! in advertising, marketing[edit]

I added a reference to Panic! at the Disco in the section talking about advertising. I figured since Yahoo! and the musicals were there, it might be a good addition to note. 16:57, 5 October 2006 (UTC)

Invalid link in the German section (2.5)[edit]

I'd edit it myself, but I don't have the authority.

"At the end of an imperative sentence: Ruf mich morgen an! (English: "Call me tomorrow.")"

The link to the 'imperative mood' ("") is invalid, and should be replaced by: "". —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Bowser128 (talkcontribs) 15:19, 29 January 2007 (UTC).

Comic books[edit]

Some comic books, especially superhero comics of the mid-20th century, routinely use the exclamation mark instead of the period, as periods tended to disappear due to cheap printing processes. As printing improved, this technique fell out of favor, but is still sometimes used to invoke a retro feel.

This explanation feels a little dubious to me. I think if the problem were that periods tended to disappear, the letterer would simply draw slightly larger periods. And why would they disappear, anyway, even on a cheap press? I could be wrong, but at the least a source for these statements would be good. Myself, I would guess that exclamation points were used so much simply as a part of the whole hyperbole that always was a big part of superhero comics. Just as superheroes have exaggerated muscles and exaggerated poses, and they get involved in exaggerated plotlines, so they speak in an exaggerated fashion. (I myself used exclamation points in this fashion when I was a child.) In time, this started to look cheesy, so they did it less often. The extra legibility of an exclamation point might be a factor, but I'm not sure it'd be the primary one. - furrykef (Talk at me) 16:20, 6 February 2007 (UTC)

I havn't been able to find any evidence to support the fact that it was due to poor printing techniques. If this were the case, then the exclamation mark would not have such extensive use in the large titles and other large text featured in these comics. Another point to make is the extensive use of ellipses in comics of this time. Composed of 3 periods, why do these not also suffer from the same printing problems?
It is far more probable, as hypothesised above, that the exlamation mark is used to exaggerate the speech and add "excitement" to the plot. I would consider adding this as the explaination for the use of the mark in comics instead.
Marmite disaster 20:04, 4 November 2007 (UTC)


I have lived in the UK all my life and I have never heard it called an 'exclamation point,' except in products that have been imported from the USA. 'Exclamation mark' is definitely the most common term in England. Are you sure the article has it the right way around? RobbieG 21:08, 17 February 2007 (UTC)

Yeah, it's the wrong way round. The OED gives 'Exclamation mark' as the primary entry and 'Exclamation point' as a N. Amer. variation. Apparently both are in use in American English. Moogsi 17:33, 24 February 2007 (UTC)
That's incorrect. The OED gives no preference to either mark or point, but in its textual history, notes that "point" was used first, in 1841. Therefore, it should be point, not mark. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:45, 27 September 2010 (UTC)
Nevertheless, exclamation mark is the standard name for the punctuation in the UK, where point is now almost unknown. It was originally note of exclamation from 1656. Dbfirs 22:46, 30 January 2012 (UTC)

Internet culture[edit]

I have found that the ! has often been referred to as the GTFO symbol.

GTFO = Get the f*** out/off. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:15, 8 November 2007 (UTC)

Geek code[edit]

The geek code doesn't deserve its mention here; this is just the standard computer usage of ! for negation. (talk) 19:08, 25 June 2008 (UTC)


The indication of (at least intended) humour is one of the most widespread uses of screamers in English orthography, yet the article does not seem to mention it. The word does not appear in it.

Same As A Question Mark?[edit]

>> However, exclamation marks can also be placed mid-sentence and function like a comma ("There was a loud bang! at the door.")

A comma in place of the exclamation mark would be improperly placed, which proves the falsehood of this statement. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:27, 16 December 2008 (UTC)

The cite shows that it is so used by one (presumably respectable) writer, but I agree that this usage is probably considered non-standard by some. I've adjusted the claim and removed the tag. Dbfirs 23:41, 30 January 2012 (UTC)

"Fandom" ?[edit]

Is it just me, or does that section not make any sense at all? Futuremyst (talk) 19:12, 7 February 2009 (UTC)

Double exclamation mark[edit]

I feel that this article should address the double exclamation mark ("‼"). While a short description is available in the "‼" disambiguous page, it seems more appropriate for this article and could use a better deeper exploration of its usage. DKqwerty (talk) 21:26, 6 July 2009 (UTC)

Possibly Chess Notation has influemced this. A move notation followed by !! is being called an excellent move. ?? is a terrible blunder, !? is interesting and ?! is of dubious quality. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:29, 21 June 2012 (UTC)


Why is the interrobang featured multiple times in this article? The Wikipedia article on interrobang even says, "The interrobang failed to amount to much more than a fad, however. It has not become a standard punctuation mark." —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:22, 4 June 2010 (UTC)


I feel like having the two sections "Usage" and "Use in various fields" to be redundant. The "Usage" portion applies it only to language and literature, yet the article proceeds to outline "Languages" and "Use in various fields" in entirely different sections. I guess I am proposing that the segments be reorganized better, to avoid such redundancies. (talk) 22:49, 31 January 2011 (UTC)

The two sections are different topics, and should remain distinct. The section"Usage" refers to usage in the grammatical sense, as a punctuation mark. The section "Use in various fields" is about non-punctuation use of the character as a symbol or as an element of notation. The sections could perhaps be better named to avoid the appearance of redundancy. TJRC (talk) 23:14, 31 January 2011 (UTC)

Pling & Shriek[edit]

I have used 'pling' for "!" in a computing context since about 1982. It was popular in Britain. The article gave no explanation for it, I added a brief mention, but can anyone add more detail?

Widely used in BBC BASIC as a 32-bit PEEK and POKE, then in Acorn RiscOS. Dbfirs 22:48, 30 January 2012 (UTC)


"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."

While many typewriters indeed lacked an exclamation mark key, it seems worthwile examining to what extent this was actually a standard.

These German typewriters of 1964, 1941 and 1920 had the exclamation mark:

This Italian Olivetti typewriter of the 50s also had it, though on a different position:
--Liberatus (talk) 13:00, 29 December 2012 (UTC)

F. Scott Fitzgerald[edit]

I have seen the Fitzgerald quote in this article several places, but I have been unable to find any source. When did he actually say or write that? I am finding online articles (Boston Globe, BBC, Guardian, etc.) written only in the last few years. (Are they using Wikipedia as a source?) Slow Graffiti (talk) 21:04, 23 December 2014 (UTC)

Australian Evidence[edit]

I stated that exclamation marks are generally considered unacceptable in formal prose especially in Australia—usually in the case of making an e-mail work effective, accroding to Effective use of email from E-strategy guide of Government of Australia, Dept. of Broadband. But stated "no evidence that repeated use of the exclamation mark is particularly criticised in Australia". I believe that there is such an evidence, swear.

Anyway, I saw that this article has been rated as B-Class on the quality scale and has been rated as High-importance on the importance scale. Sadly yet, B-Class is not enough—it should be S-Class instead. Muhammadrizkya (talk) 23:05, 17 February 2015 (UTC)

Musical names?[edit]

Hey User:Sangchaud do you have any source on that Musical titles thing? It sounds like some made-up notion, and without a source I'm inclined to remove it. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Battling McGook (talkcontribs) 17:46, 8 October 2015 (UTC)

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Greek use section implies incorrect English grammar[edit]

The section on Greek usage we have this:

Ōch, xéchasa to máti tīs kouzínas anoichtó!, "Oops! I left the stove on."

I know that is common to see in English but from what I've been able to tell it is wrong. The correct English grammar is the same as the Greek "Oops, I left the stove on!". Something like "Expletive! I left the stove on." would be correct (depending on the expletive a comma might also be correct with the exclamation mark at the end), and so when people put an interjection that actually belongs in the sentence they use an exclamation mark incorrectly. This isn't mentioned in the bit about English usage either.

I am not qualified to correct the article except as an English speaker.


Also it should be noted that exclamation marks are not used in English formal writing such as reports (with a few very specific exceptions). Indeed the UK government recently issued schools advice that all uses of exclamation marks that did not begin with 'how' or 'what' were wrong (though as an example of how fluid language is, they didn't stipulate that they were talking about formal writing and much hilarity ensued). (talk) 13:48, 6 March 2016 (UTC)

"Oops" works just fine as an interjection and therefore as a separate sentence, so I think "Oops! I left the stove on." is perfectly correct. But even if it is not an interjection or separate sentence, there are still some sources that say it's ok, and certainly in 18th and 19th century usage mid-sentence exclamation marks were not uncommon. Battling McGook (talk) 16:50, 9 March 2016 (UTC)

UK Department of Education and exclamation marks[edit]

Should a mention of the fiat the department wishes to impose about the use of the symbol be made?

As is said in various newspaper letters columns the proposal is flawed ('Never.' and 'Never!' and 'Never again.' and 'Never Again!' mean quite different things.) (talk) 15:00, 10 March 2016 (UTC)