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Exclamatory sentences


§ 22. The main distinctive feature of this communicative type of sentence is a specific intonation; structurally it is variable.


You do look a picture of health! (statement)

Hurry up! (command)


The most common pattern of an exclamatory sentence opens with one of the pronominal words what and how. What refers to a noun, how to an adjective or an adverb. An exclamatory sentence has a subject-predicate structure; the order of the subject and the predicate verb (or the operator) is not inverted. An exclamation has a falling tone in speaking and an exclamation mark in writing.

What a funny story she told us!

What valuable advice you’ve given us!

How beautiful her voice is!

How beautifully she sings!


Exclamatory sentences can be reduced to the word or phrase immediately following the exclamatory signals what or how.

What a situation!

What a terrible noise!

How kind of you to let me in!


Besides these patterns an exclamation as a communicative sentence type often follows the pattern of other sentence types. Thus it may be formed on the pattern of the following structures:


1. Statements:

You do look a picture of health!

2. Commands:

Hurry up!


3. Questions. These are “yes-no” questions functioning as exclamations owing to the falling tone in speaking and an exclamation mark in writing. The most common pattern has a negative question form with the operator heavily stressed.

Isn’t it funny! (How funny it is!)

Wasn’t it a funny story! (What a funny story it was!)

Doesn’t she sing beautifully! (How beautifully she sings!)


A positive “yes-no” question has not only the falling tone but also stress on both the operator and the subject.


He said he had to talk. Did he surprise me! (How he surprised me!) Am I fired! (I am very tired)


4. Pseudo-subordinate clauses introduced by the conjunctions if and that.

If only I were young again!

That this should be the result!


5. One-member sentences conveying signals of alarm such as Fire! Bandits! and highly emotional infinitive or nominal one-member sentences followed by a clause.


To think that she should have said so!

The idea that they should have behaved like this!


Date: 2015-01-12; view: 2826

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