What is Exclamation? 8 Examples in Literature

What is the Exclamation?

When from sudden and intense emotion, we give utterance to some abrupt or inverted expression; this is called Exclamation. Strong feeling is naturally expressed in exclamations, and so far, intense emotion in the figure of Exclamation is employed. It is a common figure of speech. For example, “He is running fast” is a prosaic literal statement: “How he runs!” expresses the same thought, with the addition of startled surprise. Similarly, when we say, “He has earned a lot of money!” this is a simple statement; however, when one says, “How he earned a lot of money,” the statement not only surprises us but makes us enable to think about it.

The important thing to remember here is that it is not the exclamation point that makes the Exclamation. “He is running fast!” is not a figure of speech; it is simply the same old plain statement, and your punctuation mark is wrong. The Exclamation must be in the way of expressing the through. As Nesfield has defined it:

“Exclamation is the strong expression of feeling”.

Common Examples of Exclamation:

i. How he won the game!
ii. Hurrah! We achieved our goal.
iii. How this young man is lifting the heavy stone!
iv. Alas! We have lost our money.
v. How did you find this notebook!
vi. What a beautiful weather it is!
vii. What an excellent achievement it is!
viii. How could you go there!
ix. I just won the game!
x. I don’t know what happened to him!

Synonyms for Exclamation:

Brilliant! Awesome! Ouch! Amazing! Bravo! Fantastic! Tremendous! Sheesh! Geronimo! Eureka, Hooray! Gosh!

Exclamation Examples in Literature


The Echo Song From Tennyson’s Princess

O hark, O hear! ‘how thin and clear,
And thinner, clearer, farther going;
O sweet and far, from cliff and scar
The horns of Elfland faintly blowing.”

The speaker instructs us to “hark” or listen to the bugle horn’s “clear” sounds. The term “thin” indicates that the note is high-pitched and that the bugle player isn’t utilizing a lot of creative vibratos, just a single, clear tone. The speaker imagines that the bugle notes he hears are coming from “Elfland,” which is—you guessed it—the land of elves. According to the speaker, the bugle notes are coming from “far” away and are reverberating from a “scar.” How is it possible for a mountain to have a “scar”?


Romans 11:33

O the depth of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgment and His ways past finding out!

The words ‘depth’, ‘wisdom’ and ‘knowledge’ have been used forcefully in exclamatory tune. The word ‘unsearchable’ is indicating the mechanism of judgment which is creating wonder. The second part of the line further emphasizes that purposes and plans of the God are far beyond of human comprehension and investigation.


“Break, Break, Break” by Lord Tennyson

But O for the touch of a vanished hand,
And the sound of a voice that is still!”

It speaks to the life of the sailor on the sea. It refers to those who have lost their battle with the sea and died. The poet is in a painful condition and is remembering his friends who are no more with them. The first line indicates that the poet is missing the persons, his friends who are no more with him, and they either ruined or left him. The second line shows the panicked condition of the poet, and he feels that his friends’ voices are only with him.


“Hamlet” by William Shakespeare

O woe is me,
To have seen what I have seen, see what I see!

Here the overhead lines were taken from the monologue of Ophelia when she was thinking about Hamlet. Although she considered herself noble and pious, she thought he had lost himself. The exclamatory tune is noted in the speech of Ophelia when she cares about her beloved Hamlet, who, according to her, has lost his mind.


“A Lament” by P.B. Shelly”

O World; O Life! O Time!
On whose last steps I climb,

Trembling at that where I had stood before;
When will return the glory of your prime?
No more—Oh, never more!

It is a short lyric iambic rhyme poem written by Shelly. The poet is grieved from life and is asking a question about when his past days will come again. From the start of the poem, although it is difficult to assess why the poet is feeling pain, in the last line, “no more. Oh, never more!” he replies that the past time will never come again.

The words ‘world’, ‘life,’ and ‘time’ differ. All of these have different in their meaning. The second line, ‘on whose last steps I climb,’ creates wonder about which thing the poet climbed. In the third line, the word ‘trembling’ again creates suspicion about what thing the poet is quivering. However, in the last sentence, the poet discloses his mind that he is talking about the past time.


“Julius Caesar” by Shakespeare

O what a fall was there, my countrymen!
Then I and you and all of us fell down,
Whilst bloody treason flourished over us.

The above lines have been taken from Antonio’s speech, who wants to realize the people to become mourn the death of Caesar. He wants to show how brutally Brutus has stabbed Caesar. He first displayed Caesar’s court to develop pity in the mob and then showed the dead body of Caesar.

The first sentence creates wonder’ O what a fall was there, my countrymen!” about the death of Caesar. Antonio wants people to feel the pain of the death of Caesar as he felt at the time when Brutus stabbed him.


“The Task” by William Cowper

Oh for a lodge in some vast wilderness!”
“How sweet the merry linnet’s tune,
How blithe the blackbird’s lay!

The above line shows an allusion to the poet. The writer is in trouble and fearful because of the wilderness. His fear of its repetition lies in his desire for shelter. He has created a sense of insecurity and shows that his thoughts have become shattered like himself.


“Home thoughts, from Abroad” by Robert Browning

O to be in England, now that April is there!”
And whoever wakes in England
Sees, some morning, unaware,

The poem is about the poet’s reaction to the springtime in England. In this stanza, the poet praises England and the weather in April. He remembers the morning charms when he was in England. He wishes to enjoy the same feelings as he felt in his country.

Related Terms


Hyperbole is intentional exaggeration for emphasis or effect. For example, “I’ve told you a million times to clean your room!” The speaker doesn’t literally mean they have told the person to clean their room a million times, but rather that they have had to repeat this request very often. The exaggeration stresses how frequently it has been communicated through the use of an improbably large number.


Apostrophe is when a speaker addresses someone or something that is not present, often a personified abstract quality, idea, or dead/absent entity. For example, “O Liberty, what horrors are committed in thy name!” Here the speaker is anthropomorphizing the concept of liberty and apostrophizing it, crying out in exclamation at the terrible things done to uphold liberty. The apostrophe gives human attributes allowing the speaker to directly appeal to the idea in an exclamatory manner.

Exclamation Examples in Literature
Exclamation Examples in Literature

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