Exclamations

Exclamations are often constructed with how and what or with so and such. Negative question forms are also common.

Exclamations with how

Form: how + adjective/adverb + subject + verb

  • How cold it is! (NOT How it is cold!)
  • How beautifully she sings!

The structure how + subject + verb is also possible.

  • How you have grown!

Exclamations with what

Form: what a/an (+ adjective) + singular countable noun

  • What a lovely song! (NOT What lovely song!)
  • What a surprise! (NOT What surprise!)

We use what + adjective before an uncountable or plural noun.

  • What lovely flowers! (NOT What a lovely flowers!)
  • What fools! (NOT What a fools!)
  • What beautiful weather! (NOT What a beautiful weather!)

What + object + subject + verb

  • What a beautiful smile you have! (NOT What a beautiful smile have you!)
Exclamations with so and such

Different structures are possible.

Form: so + adjective

  • You are so sweet!

Form: such a/an (+ adjective) + singular countable noun

  • He is such a nice boy!

Form: such (+ adjective) + uncountable/plural noun

  • They are such kind people!
  • They talk such rubbish!

Common mistakes in the use of exclamations

Incorrect: What a fun!
Correct: What fun!

Incorrect: What rude man!
Correct: What a rude man!

Incorrect: What surprise!
Correct: What a surprise!

In exclamations we use what a/an before a singular countable noun. Articles are not used before uncountable and plural nouns. Note the word order:

What + a/an + (adjective) + singular countable noun
What + (adjective) + uncountable / plural noun

Incorrect: How it is sweet!
Correct: How sweet it is!

Incorrect: How she sings beautifully!
Correct: How beautifully she sings!

The correct pattern is: how + adjective / adverb + subject + verb

Incorrect: She is such pretty girl!
Correct: She is such a pretty girl!

Incorrect: They are such a kind people!
Correct: They are such kind people!

In exclamations, such a/an is used before singular countable nouns. Articles are not used before uncountable or plural nouns. Note the word order:

Such a/an + (adjective) + singular countable noun
Such + (adjective) + uncountable / plural noun

Incorrect: What a beautiful smile has she!
Correct: What a beautiful smile she has!

Note the word order: what + object + subject + verb

image_pdfimage_print

Manjusha Nambiar

Hi, I am Manjusha. This is my blog where I give English grammar lessons and worksheets.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *