Dialogue—exclamation points

Oh, goodness! Sara’s heart pounded in her chest. “Josephine! I didn’t even see you there!”

While just 10 years ago, books had tons of exclamation points all over the place, these days, most editors prefer limited use of exclamation points, especially in dialogue.

They typically suggest using them only if someone is screaming or shouting, rather than just a raised voice.

Some are nazis about it, some aren't. I would suggest getting rid of as many exclamation points as you can just in case you come across someone who's picky about it.


  1. omigosh!!!! you like totally hit a nerve for me here! when i was a teacher, like, i remember my students and how much they totally LOVED exclamation marks!!!!!! Often one exclamation mark just wasn't enough to express their overwhelming excitement about life!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    And have you ever seen Dora the Explorer? I think the script must have exclamation marks after every line!

  2. A writer, I don't remember which one, said that people should be limited to three exclamation points----in a lifetime.

    P.S. My students, like Mark's, LOVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!them.


Post a Comment