1. xenophon
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    xenophon New Member

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    !Exclamation marks at the begginning of a sentance.

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by xenophon, Jul 13, 2010.

    Just a trifling question. Why are exclamation marks used at the end of a sentence? Does it make any sense to read a sentence normally and then find, at the end, that it should of been read with great emotion. Id be very happy If anyone can give me a reasonable answer to my question, if not i propose we start doing it the sensible way. Thanks for reading. BTW !You smell great.
     
  2. Halcyon
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    Halcyon Contributing Member Contributor

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    !!! Good question.

    Actually, exclamation marks also indicate where the sentence finishes, so there is logic to having them at the end.

    Besides, we can never fully appreciate the meaning of a sentence until we get to the end anyway, so it's really not a problem. :)
     
  3. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    It's English, not Spanish. Sentences are punctuated at the end in English, not at the beginning.

    People throw too many exclamation points around anyway. Careful - you'll put an eye out playing with them carelessly.
     
  4. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Coming from the side of the Latin world....

    In Spanish we do punctuate at the beginning of a sentence when it is a question or an emphatic statement. It leads to (or may come from) the need to be melodramatic. As a member of my culture I feel comfortable saying that we are a people prone to melodrama. Just watch a Spanish soap opera. All of our TV programing is just like a Spanish soap opera.

    Do you want the word melodrama attached to your writing?
     
  5. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    If it's really an exclamation then you'll see the exclamation mark as you start the sentence. If the sentence is too long for you to see the exclamation mark from the beginning then it's not an exclamation and the mark is misused. "Oh, gosh!" is fine. "I have heard from reliable sources that there are still some people, presumably in non-English-speaking countries, who have never heard of Shakespeare!" isn't.

    Oh, and if you are going to punctuate the Spanish way, with the mark at the beginning, it needs to be a different mark and you still need a mark at the end. ¡Simple! ¿Got that?
     
  6. lynca
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    lynca Member

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    Because we, as writers, are supposed to write enough emotion in our sentences, especially dialogue, that we shouldn't need crutches such as exclamation marks.
     
  7. Jane Beryl
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    Jane Beryl Member

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    I don't know about you, but I find Shakespeare uses exclamation marks sparingly. They didn't have a set state of grammar rules than either, at least if they did Shakespeare didn't learn them all.

    Here's an example "Boy is a noun."

    Shakespeare: "Some squeaking Cleopatra boy my greatness." (ll. Act V, Anthony and Cleopatra).

    Boy is now a verb.

    Anyways, my point is that in order to bend grammar you need to know the basics and you need to know the delivery. Writers are similar to comedians, put the emphasis in the wrong place and you get a bad joke. No laughing.

    Place those marks on the right sentences!
     
  8. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    "Boy" was already a verb when Shakespeare was, well, a boy. According to the OED the earliest written use of "boy" as a verb that we have is from 1573, and it will almost certainly have been used orally before that. You do realise that the same word can often act in many different gramattical roles, don't you?
     
  9. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Derail is eminent. Back on subject please.
     
  10. Michanist
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    Michanist New Member

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    If a sentence has great emotion into it you should use and emotional verb / emotional adjectives in the sentence. So the reader will immediately see it's emotional.
     
  11. Herl
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    Herl Member

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    I don't really think is -just- about melodrama. it's just about solving the question stated by the poster: how do you know a sentence should be read with emotion? well, like that, with two punctuations.

    I must say, though, that what people here are saying is quite true, there's no actual need for them if you can describe or transmit the emotion well enough as a writer. plus, as a Spanish writer let me tell you: having two punctuations for questions and exclamations is tiresome.
     

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