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The only time I use exclamation points is in dialogue, thought, or in describing a thought process or feeling that is not put into worded thought by the character. My narrator (3rd person limited) never uses an exclamation point. I don't think of my narrators as a personality, they do not get themselves excited, confused, or have any emotions. My ...


Here's a completely non-scientific random sampling based on a book I grabbed from my shelf, Honor of the Queen by David Weber. I opened random pages from around the middle third of the book (small paperback, 422 pages total): 1st random page: 1 exclamation point in dialogue 2nd random page: 0 exclamation points 3rd random page: 4 exclamation points in ...


Do not use adjectives and adverbs in dialogue tags, or anywhere else, to avoid exclamation points. Use them when they are needed. I've read many novels with more than two or three exclamation points in them. They never jar me when used reasonably. Semicolons, not exclamation points, are what one should almost never use.


user11233 is correct in their assessment of the grammar. You don't see colons or semicolons in dialogue in current fiction because they don't work for stylistic reasons. Thus, in the things you hate sentence, I would go with an m-dash. It's much cleaner. Dialogue doesn't have to be grammatically correct either. People talk in incomplete sentences all ...

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