1. Education
Send to a Friend via Email

exclamatory question

By

exclamatory question

An example of an exclamatory question

Definition:

A question that has the meaning and force of an exclamatory statement ("Isn't she a big girl!").

See also:

Examples and Observations:

  • "How on earth are you ever going to explain in terms of chemistry and physics so important a biological phenomenon as first love?"
    (attributed to Albert Einstein)


  • "What other dungeon is so dark as one's own heart! What jailer so inexorable as one's self!"
    (Nathaniel Hawthorne, The House of the Seven Gables, 1851)


  • "'And look,' Andreas continued in his gentlest voice, 'see the modifiers skipping around and nodding cheerily to each other: My! isn't this fun!"
    (Alexandra Marshall, Gus in Bronze. Mariner Books, 1999)


  • "[Mrs. Kitson's] astonishment found vent in the exclamatory question: 'What the deuce do you want here?'

    "To which question the clerical visitor answered by solemnly asking another:

    "'Woman, are you saved?'

    "'What business is it of yours? Anyway, I want to be saved from you.'"
    (Dick Donovan, Deacon Brodie, or Behind the Mask. Chatto and Windus, 1901)


  • Tim Sullivan: Either a piece a cake or a slice a life, you notice that?
    Bobby Gold: Yeah, I've remarked that, ain't that the truth?
    (Homicide, 1991)


  • "I live with bread like you, feel want, taste grief,
    Need friends: Subjected thus,
    How can you say to me--I am a king?"
    (King Richard in William Shakespeare's King Richard II)


  • "Statement, question, exclamation and directive are . . . semantic categories. Exclamation is in fact somewhat different in kind from the other three in that it involves an emotive element of meaning that can be overlaid on a statement, a question or a directive, as in:
    i. What a rogue he was!
    ii. How on earth did you do it so quickly?
    iii. Take that bloody grin off your face!
    That is, these would characteristically be used to make an exclamatory statement, put an exclamatory question and issue an exclamatory directive respectively. Syntactically, only (i) is exclamative--(ii) is interrogative and (iii) imperative."
    (Rodney D. Huddleston, Introduction to the Grammar of English. Cambridge Univ. Press, 1984)
Also Known As: exclamatory interrogative, emotional question
  1. About.com
  2. Education
  3. Grammar & Composition
  4. Grammar & Rhetoric Glossary
  5. Echo Question - Eye Dialect
  6. exclamatory question - definition and examples of exclamatory questions

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.