The main use of the exclamation mark is to end sentences that express:
- an exclamation:
Ow! That hurt!
Hello! How are you?
- direct speech that represents something shouted or spoken very loudly:
‘Look up there!’ she yelled.
- something that amuses the writer:
Included on the list of banned items was ‘crochet hooks’!
- An exclamation mark can also be used in brackets after a statement to show that the writer finds it funny or ironic:
She says she’s stopped feeling insecure (!) since she met him.
People tend to use a lot of exclamation marks in informal writing such as emails or text messages, but you should avoid using them in formal writing.