An interjection is a kind of exclamation inserted into regular speech. Actually, it is a brief and abrupt pause in speech for expressing emotions.
Interjections are unique and have some interesting features:
- They are highly context-sensitive.
- They usually cannot be modified or inflected.
- They do not have to have a relation to the other parts of the sentence.
- Interjections don’t have a grammatical function in the sentence construction.
In spoken language, interjections are the words we instantly use to show our reaction to something which influences our emotion. They are the initial reaction and sometimes do not even make sense. However, for formal speech or writing, using interjections is not appropriate.
Interjections mainly have four roles:
Rule 1: Interjections express sudden mood, emotions, and feeling with emphasis. There are also many taboo words that are usually used in everyday conversation but not in formal aspects. These words fall into the category of interjections.
- Aw, I did not want him to come.
- What? You never told me that!
- Wow! That’s an amazing scene.
Rule 2: Some interjections interrupt a conversation or a thought or hold someone’s attention for a moment. These are just sounds, not words because these sounds do not make any sense.
- Your, um, shirt has a stain on the back.
- I want to, uh, ask you out on a date.
Rule 3: Some interjections express only yes or no.
- Yes! I will most definitely do it.
- Nah, we are not going.
Rule 4: Some interjections are used to get someone’s attention.
- Yo, Alex! Get in the car!
- Hey! Will you give me that ball?
- Yoo-hoo! Is there anyone?
This part of a speech refers to words which express emotions. Since interjections are commonly used to convey strong emotions, they are usually followed by an exclamation point.
Examples of Interjections:
→ Ouch! That must have hurt.
→ Hurray, we won!
→ Hey! I said enough!
The bold words attached to the main sentences above are some examples of interjections.
- Oh! I didn’t know that!”
- “Er, that is just aggravating.”
- “Mmm, that smells so good.”
- “Holy guano, Batman! The Joker is back in Gotham!”
- “Hey! I’m over here!”
Anytime you are writing dialog you can throw in interjections to help express what that character is feeling at that moment.
- Wow! Holy guano! Hey! Oh., Good grief! No way! Well.
- Mmmmmm, Ah, Er, Indeed, Yes, No.
A: Hey! Have you ever seen the cartoon, The Simpsons?
B: Duh! Everyone has seen The Simpsons!
A: What does Homer Simpson say when he makes a mistake?
B He says “d’oh“!
D’oh is an example of an interjection. Homer says d’oh when he commits a mistake or something does not happen in the way he had planned.
Hey and Duh are also interjections. Hey is commonly used to attract attention:
- Hey you! Be careful, there’s a car coming!
Duh is used in response to someone you think has made a foolish or stupid statement:
- Where are glasses?
Duh – you are already wearing them!
Used to show you are feeling cold!
- Brrr! It’s freezing in here. Turn the heater on.
Used to express fear or shock.
- Eek! There’s a mouse in the kitchen!
Used to show dissatisfaction, annoyance, mild surprise.
- Geez! There’s no need to get angry with me, I was only asking a question.
We say huh when we are confused or did not understand something.
- Huh? What did he say? I didn’t understand anything he said.
Ouch is used for something painful. We either hurt ourselves or we see someone get hurt.
- Ouch! I just closed the door on my finger.
When you make a mistake or are clumsy, we say oops.
- Oops! I just spilled coffee on the floor.
Phew is used most commonly used to express relief.
- Phew! We managed to get on the train just before it left. I’m glad me didn’t miss it.
Well like er, um and hmm can all be used when we are thinking about something.
- Um…well, I think we should paint the wall red instead of purple.
Wow shows our surprise, amazement or great pleasure.
- Wow! This cake tastes amazing.
When we are disgusted by something, we say yuck.
- Yuck! There’s hair in my soup!