You have to leave?
You have to leave.
You have to leave!
What better way to teach punctuation marks – especially exclamation and question marks – than this? The context would most likely be for a script [or internal monologue] and students are usually adept at writing their own plays, and enjoy this. They often have a remarkable ear for everyday speech, and enjoy using this as dialogue in their story writing – though often its overuse! Curbing that tendency is another important lesson, in a real writing context.
But the wonderful, differing emotive nuances in each of these three same lines, controlled entirely by the punctuation marks. This is exciting. And the teacher’s job is to help students appreciate that excitement. No one would/should claim it is an easy thing to do. But it makes so much more enriching sense than attempting to teach the use of punctuation through discrete, grammar-focused tasks.
There is the startled realisation of the first question, possibly a self-interrogative. A surprise. Then the resignation of that second declarative. One could explore the usefulness of adding speech tags to this, but also the power of leaving everything to the speech itself [as long as the accurate punctuation makes us hear it as intended]. Then the apocalyptic third exclamation. Is it joy? Is it despair? Is it urgency?
What if you swap the You for I?
I’m sure this idea would work well enough for longer statements, but that is for you to find out. What about these:
I love you?
I love you.
I love you!
Does it work as well if reversed? If not, why not? Isn’t this kind of learning fun?
Yes it is!