The exclamation in English grammar
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The exclamation is often made with what, so, such and how.
With How and So
How and so are followed by an adjective or adverb:
- How ludicrous it was!
- She is so nice! She has so many friends!
⚠️ don’t confuse How old are you? (= What’s your age?) and How old you are! (= You are really old!)
The structure how + subject + verb is also possible:
- How you have grown!
- How he loves you!
We often use how followed only by an adjective:
- How sweet!
- How beautiful!
In informal style, we can also use How + adjective + verb + subject (especially in American English):
- How clever am I!
- How crazy is that!
Finally, keep in mind that How can cover an entire statement:
- How she loves him!
With Such and What
What and such are followed by a name. There are several possible structures:
- What an amazing car!
- They’re such nice people!
- Such delicious cooking!
Such is not necessarily used in an exclamation:
- such situations…
Remember to put a or an in front of countable names:
- She is such a lovely girl! (NOT She is a such lovely girl!)
- What a beautiful flower! (NOT What beautiful flower!)
Some uncountables are preceded by a in fixed exclamations:
- What a pity!
- What a shame!
- What a mess!
- What a relief!
Be careful not to invert the verb at the end: What + object + subject + verb:
- What a beautiful smile you have! (NOT What a beautiful smile have you!)
- What a beautiful day it is! (NOT What a beautiful day is it!)
Here are some common expressions used in English for exclamation:
- That’s insane!
- No way!
- That’s amazing!
- That’s unbelievable!
- Get out!
- Look out!