Exclamation mark after words ending with "l" or "ll"

edited March 2013 in - Writing Problems
I've found that an exclamation mark after words ending with "l" or "ll" can be hard to read. In a story I'm working on I tried this:

"What the hell!"

because it was hard to see the "!" I put a space before it instead:

"What the hell !"

Is it wrong to use a space like this?

Comments

  • I think it all depends on the font used.

    A space looks more jarring to me.
  • I think the correct example looks fine, DB.

    I agree with b_r. To leave a space might make the writing look like the work of an amateur.
  • Just to be controversial, isn't "What the hell" a question, in which case it should be a question mark?
  • edited March 2013
    Not if you say, 'My boss will be mad at me if I leave early, but I don't care. What the hell! I'm off.'

    Also, when it is a question, it's rhetorical. Does someone who exclaims, 'What the hell?' expect an answer?

    I think it's used more as an expression of shock so it can get away with an exclamation mark, though I see your point, OLG (as I'm OCD about punctuation usually!!).

    (Edited to add final full stop)
  • I had the same problem last night, reading an excerpt on a website. I had to copy and paste the text into Word and enlarge it to check...!
  • [quote=Onlinegenie]Just to be controversial, isn't "What the hell" a question, in which case it should be a question mark?[/quote]

    At this point in the story it's more an exclamation rather than a question.
  • [quote=Tiny Nell]I think the correct example looks fine, DB.

    I agree with b_r. To leave a space might make the writing look like the work of an amateur. [/quote]

    Thanks. Have removed the space.
  • No space, DB - you have to be grammatically correct, no matter how awkward it looks on paper.
    'What the hell?' has an upward inflection, and is a question. 'Oh, what the hell' has a downward inflection and is a throwaway comment. You could add an exclamation mark, if it's the prelude to something dramatic. 'What the hell! Let's go for it!'
  • Leaving a space adds to your word count!
  • It doesn't; it adds to the character count. I think it's best to avoid exclamation marks if at all possible.
  • Yes, kado, but there are times when an exclamation mark is appropriate. At the end of an exclamation for example! ;-)

    Nb - my use of an exclamation mark at the end of the preceding sentence wasn't a deliberate illustration - it just seemed right.
  • Leave a space and editors will instantly recognise someone who doesn't pay enough attention to grammar. It's harsh, but it is a fact of writing life. It screams amateur at your potential editor or publisher. Where grammar is concerned, writers should stick to the rules to increase their chances of publication - presentation speaks volumes.
  • [quote=neil]Leaving a space adds to your word count![/quote]

    [quote=kado]It doesn't; it adds to the character count.[/quote]

    Quiet! = one word. Quiet ! = two words. Try it.
  • [quote=neil]Quiet! = one word. Quiet ! = two words. Try it.[/quote]

    He's right, you know!
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