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Writing Exclamations at KS1 - A Practical Guide to Support Moderation

By Shareen Mayers, Experienced Primary Teacher and Primary English Specialist


According to the DfE, what makes an exclamation as a type of sentence?



Noun/noun phrase


Subject (noun or pronoun)





Exclamation mark






big teeth










Subject (noun or pronoun)


Exclamation mark










N.B: The syntax varies in the examples given below because they can include other elements but this gives a rough guide.

Note: words like ‘is,’ ‘am,’ ‘are,’ ‘was’ etc are all verbs. Pupils need to learn about these types of verbs in KS1.


Other uses of exclamation marks

Exclamation marks can be also used for different types of sentences to express a mood or feeling but an exclamation as a type of sentence, must start with ‘what’ or ‘how’ and include a verb. In the KS1 writing exemplification materials, Charlie writes lots of exclamative phrases (e.g. How funny!) but does not write an exclamation as a type of sentence with a verb. Therefore, the statement for exclamations cannot be ticked as achieved. This is an important aspect to be aware of when moderating writing.


Examples of using exclamation marks

You are my best friend!

(Statement with an exclamation mark)

Get out of my house!

(Command with an exclamation mark)


(Interjection with an exclamation mark. Note that interjections are not mentioned in the National Curriculum)


Practical examples used in the KS1 Writing Exemplification Materials

Sam – Expected Standard

Ali – Greater Depth Standard

Piece A: 
How funny they look!


Piece A: 
“What a lucky escape that was!”


Piece E: 
What a nightmare it was!


Piece B:
How I wished you were there!



Piece F: 
How shiny she looks!


Piece E:
What a great book that was!

N:B Exclamations are not needed for every single piece of work.


What type of writing can exclamations be applied to?

-       Letters (How I wish you were here!)

-       Traditional stories and fairy tales (What big teeth you have!)

-       Narrative writing (What a lucky escape that was!)

-       Book reviews (How amazing this is!)

-       Character description (How shiny she looks!)

-       Recounts (What a wonderful day we had!)


Some useful links:

KS1 writing exemplification materials

Clarification: key stage 1 and 2 teacher assessment and moderation guidance


Want to brush up on exclamation marks?

Try our Ready, Steady, Practise! Grammar and Punctuation titles