ACT English 4.10 Passage Drill
ACT English: Passage Drill Drill 4, Problem 10. Should the writer change the exclamation mark into a period in the previous sentence?
|ACT English||Passage Drill|
|Handwriting, Capitalization, Punctuation||Punctuation Marks|
|Product Type||ACT English|
The author is right to be wary of the exclamation mark.
Exclamation marks should only be used if we have something astounding to say;
they should be reserved for when we want to put some extra oomph behind a sentence.
Overuse maxes out the volume on every sentence, making it impossible to emphasize the thing
we really want people to hear.
With that in mind, let’s go through the answer options to see if we can find a reason
to get rid of the exclamation mark in this question.
Option (B) isn’t a good reason to nix an exclamation mark; they have nothing to do
with whether a sentence is closely related to the topic at hand.
We want to cut things that are irrelevant, right?
Why would we want to broadcast them to the world?
Choice (A) give us no valid reason to cut the exclamation mark either. It doesn’t
matter if one has been previously used in the passage.
As we said before, exclamation marks do their jobs best when there aren’t many of them.
They’re a tool to help a writer make a particular sentence stand out from the crowd.
We’re gonna say no to choice (D) as well.
The language in the passage is far from academic or dense.
In fact, it’s pretty casual and easy-going.
Anyway, if we were trying to write something super academic, we wouldn’t want to throw
in an exclamation mark simply to lighten things up.
It would feel random, and then people would see through how smart we were trying to sound.
(C) is the right answer because it correctly identifies the tone of the passage and the
role of the sentence within it.
This passage is informal, so it can totally get away with an exclamation mark.
After all, 8,000 cookies is a lot for one machine to make in an hour!
Did you hear that exclamation mark we just used?