Exclamatory sentences: verb patterns

Exclamatory sentences are often constructed with what and how or with so and such. Negative question forms are also used.

Exclamations with what

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

  • What a beautiful girl! (NOT What beautiful girl!)
  • What a lovely song!
  • What a rude man!
  • What a pleasant surprise!

What + a/an + (adjective) + noun + subject + verb

  • What a fool you are! (NOT What a fool are you!)
  • What a charming girl she is! (NOT What a charming girl is she!)
  • What a beautiful smile you have! (NOT What a beautiful smile have you!)

What + adjective + uncountable / plural noun

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

Exclamations with how

How + adjective / adverb + subject + verb

  • How tall you have grown! (NOT How you have grown tall!)
  • How cold it is!
  • How clever she is!
  • How beautifully she dances!
  • How quickly he speaks!

Exclamations with so and such

So + adjective

  • You are so sweet!
  • She is so tall!

Such a/an + adjective + singular countable noun

  • She is such a lovely girl. (NOT She is a such lovely girl!)

Such + adjective + uncountable / plural noun

  • They are such kind people! (NOT They are so kind people!)
  • They are so kind!. (NOT They are such kind!)
  • He talks such rubbish! (NOT He talks such a rubbish!)

Negative question forms

British speakers often use negative question forms in exclamations.

  • Hasn’t she grown!

Americans often use non-negative question forms in exclamations.

  • Boy, did I make a mistake! (US)
  • Boy, didn’t I make a mistake! (GB)