Exclamation Marks and the Power of Language

The Free Cozy Grammar Newsletter with Marie Rackham and Thomas Hitoshi Pruiksma

Do you remember the first time you discovered exclamation marks? How powerful they may have seemed! And how fun!

These marks can indeed be powerful, especially when used adeptly. But using them adeptly can take some practice. That's why we wanted to share two free excerpts this month from our Basic Cozy Punctuation Course on the use of exclamation marks.

We're also happy to announce a new treasure hunt in our Learning Treasure Trove as a way to win a free lifetime subscription to the Basic Cozy Punctuation Course.

Read on to learn more!

Exclamation Marks WITHIN a Sentence

If you've been following our newsletter recently, you may have seen the excerpt we shared about exclamation marks at the end of a sentence. (You can read the complete newsletter here.)

Most of the Basic Cozy Punctuation Course, however, focuses on punctuation within a sentence, which tends to be the more confusing kind of punctuation. Did you know that you can use exclamation marks within a sentence as well?

Take a peek at our first excerpt from Marie to learn how.

By the way, if you're wondering whether Marie gets to see any Orcas, sign up for our Basic Cozy Punctuation Course to watch the entire lesson.

Or try the treasure hunt below for a chance to win a free lifetime subscription!

How Many Exclamation Marks To Use?

When we first encounter exclamation marks, it can be tempting to use them everywhere, especially when we're excited or worked up about something.

However, as Marie points out in the Basic Cozy Punctuation Course, too many exclamation marks can actually make our writing weaker. Like a powerful seasoning, a little can go a very a long way.

The emotion must be strong to justify the use of this punctuation mark.
Overuse of the exclamation mark weakens its effectiveness.

That's why in the supplementary video we made for the study notes I explore the question of how many exclamation marks a piece of writing may need.

In this month's second free excerpt, I explore Dr. Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech and how few exclamation marks it actually needs.

By the way, if you'd like to watch the Dr. Martin Luther King's entire speech, something I would strongly recommend, here's a complete recording on YouTube.

A Creative Writing Activity for Exclamation Marks

Here's a creative writing activity you can try for discovering how to use exclamation marks skillfully and effectively:

Write a speech about something you feel passionate about.

The first time you write it, use as many exclamation marks as possible.

Then read your speech out loud and see how it sounds to your ear.

Ask yourself these questions: Does every exclamation mark help you? Do all the exclamation marks help make your point? Or does it end up just sounding like a lot of shouting? Is it pleasant to listen to a lot of shouting?

Then go through your speech again and see how many exclamation marks you can take out, leaving only the most essential ones in.

Now read that version out loud and see how it compares with the first.

I think you'll find that this will help you to see in your own direct experience how using the right number of exclamation marks can be the most powerful way to punctuate.

A Midsummer's Treasure Hunt

To continue introducing you to our Learning Treasure Trove, we've put together a midsummer's treasure hunt.

Our free Learning Treasure Trove gathers together in one place all of our free videos, tips, ideas, lessons, tricks, and creative writing activities. You can easily search for specific topics, such as adjectives, verbs, sentences, or gratitude, and explore specific ideas and themes, such as writing activities, imagination, or the grammar police.

Just as we did last month, we've hidden a surprise for you in the Treasure Trove. If you're the first person to find it, you'll receive a free lifetime subscription to our Basic Cozy Punctuation Course, either for yourself or to give to a friend.

You'll know you've found it if you see the words "A Learning Treasure Trove Surprise" and a contact form with which to tell us you've found the treasure.

And what is this treasure? Here are three clues:

  • It has something to do with writing.
  • It has something to do with creativity.
  • And it has something to do with raspberries.

Good luck!

If you have any questions about our treasure hunt, the Learning Treasure Trove, exclamation marks, or Cozy Grammar, please feel free to contact us.

Thank You!

Thanks for joining us this month. I hope this finds you and your family well, enjoying the gifts of summer while remaining healthy, happy, and safe.

Thomas Hitoshi Pruiksma



Marie's Language Consultant
The Cozy Grammar Series of Courses