In English grammar, an exclamatory sentence is a type of main clause that expresses strong feelings by making an exclamation. It also called an exclamative or an exclamative clause.
Exclamatory sentences rarely appear in academic writing, except when they’re part of quoted material.
With the appropriate intonation, other sentence types (especially declarative sentences) can be used to form exclamatives.
We can define them based on their function, and we can define them based on their form.
1. Exclamatory in function
The most common way of defining exclamatory sentences is by function (purpose). From this perspective, an exclamatory sentence usually ends with an exclamation point (!). It expresses strong emotion.
- I am angry!
- You did a great job!
- You won the price!
- That is a huge whale!
2. Exclamatory in form
To be an exclamatory sentence in form, sentences must begin with “what” or “how”, be non-interrogative, and contain a shift in the typical word order.
“What” in exclamatory sentence
Use what a before a singular noun.
- What a nice house you buy!
- What a gorgeous room!
Before an abstract noun or a plural noun, use what without “a”.
- What beautiful weather!
“How” in exclamatory sentences
Use how before a modifying adjective, an adverb or a verb.
- How interesting this film is!
- How well she sings!
“So” and “Such” in exclamatory sentences
Form: So + adjective.
- The meal was so good!
Form: Such a/an + adjective + singular countable noun.
- She’s such a quiet girl.
Form: Such + adjective + uncountable / plural noun.
- They are such kind people!