I am currently writing a research essay for my English twelve class, and we are not allowed any exclaimation points whatsoever. But this one sentence is something I feel absolutely requires it! HELP: How was it not the same way when our parents were kids? Because while the population of stranger-danger between now and the eighties may be the same, but media accentuates that number, sensationalizing cases, transforming the stranger-danger issue into a ferocious epidemic. Even as children, our parents had free reign over the entirety of the cities or towns in which they lived. We can't even go next door anymore!

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    "It is somewhat astonishing to note that ..." – Hot Licks Apr 25 '16 at 18:39
  • Are you allowed to italicize or embolden the statement for emphasis? For that particular statement, in the context of a research paper, I would recommend phrasing it in a way that adds emphasis, as Hot Licks said. – Alex W Apr 25 '16 at 18:43
  • thank you so much for the thought! I'll check and see if I can – Kendra Yagomi Mccarthy Apr 25 '16 at 18:51
  • I think if you change the exclamation mark to a period, you will have made your point quite well. – laugh salutes Monica C Apr 25 '16 at 19:13

In academic prose, exclamation marks are rarely used, if at all, and in newspapers they are virtually nonexistent.

An exclamation mark is used for interjections, exclamations, and many commands:

Wow! That was close. What a wonderful show! My car is gone! Run!

Do not use an exclamation mark for declaratives:

She said that was a wonderful show. He just found out his car was stolen.

From the Associated Press Stylebook: “Use the mark to express a high degree of surprise, incredulity or other strong emotion. Avoid overuse: Use a comma after mild interjections. End mildly exclamatory sentences with a period.”

From The Chicago Manual of Style: “An exclamation point (which should be used sparingly to be effective) marks an outcry or an emphatic or ironic comment.”

Elmore Leonard: “Keep your exclamation points under control. You are allowed no more than two or three per 100,000 words of prose.”

In my view, you can make a case for putting an exclamation point where you have indicated, but IMO it does not need one. And if your assignment is that you not use any exclamation points, why would you? I don't know what the assignment is exactly, but an exclamation point can be construed as an editorial comment on your part, and perhaps your teachers want you to be as dispassionate as possible--to report, not to react. Many writers besides Elmore hate exclamations points as well [F. Scott Fitzgerald: “Cut out all those exclamation marks. An exclamation mark is like laughing at your own jokes”], so it's not like your teachers are making some rule up out of left field.


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