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English interjections Posted by on May 24, 2016 in English Grammar, English Vocabulary

Interjections are short words or sounds that are used to express feelings or emotion. What interjection do you think this baby would make if it could? I think he is about to say “Yikes!”

Image by marabuchi on Flickr.com licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Image by marabuchi on Flickr.com licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Interjections are words that convey emotion. They do not have a grammatical relationship to other parts of a sentence. They stand alone in a way. Interjections are a part of speech, like verbs or nouns, but because they do not convey grammatical information some people think they are the least important parts of speech. To that I say, ‘No way!’. Interjects are just as important as any other word.

Often interjections are used at the beginning of a sentence. They are also often, but not always, accompanied by an exclamation mark (!), which is a punctuation mark that also expresses emotion. Here are some examples of interjections at the beginning of sentences.

Help, I need help!”
Oh no, I forgot to bring my wallet with me.”

Interjections can also be found in the middle or at the end of sentences – remember these are just words that insert emotion or feelings into a sentence. When we speak we frequently insert interjections into what we say, at the beginning, middle, and end of sentences. When we write though interjections are most commonly found at the beginning or end of a sentence. Here are examples with interjections in the middle and at the end of sentences.

“That is what you are going to wear, huh?”
“It is so exciting, oh my gosh, I just can’t believe it.

Sometimes interjections stand alone as a one-word sentence too.

No way!
Uh-oh.

See if you can find the interjections in these sentences, then read below for more on what each of the interjections in these sentences mean.
1.    Wow! That was a great meal.
2.    Oh my! I can’t believe I forgot your birthday again.
3.    Well, gee, that is a generous gift.
4.    Yikes!
5.    Whoops, I almost dropped my plate.
6.    You are really going to believe that, huh?
7.    Yay! I am all done. Let’s go celebrate.
8.    I guess I didn’t make the team, oh well.
9.    Uh-oh, I lost my house key.
10.     Oh my goodness, that is the most amazing dress I’ve ever seen.

What these interjections mean:

wow – This is used to express that you are very impressed.

oh my  or oh – This can mean any number of emotions from surprise, anger, disappointment, or joy; it all depends on the circumstances.

gee – This is an expression of mild enthusiasm, sometimes it is used to express sympathy, but not in the example above.

yikes – This is an expression of shock or alarm.

whoops – This is an expression of mild embarrassment and is often used as a casual apology.

huh – This is generally an expression of disbelief, it is often used in a questioning manner.

yay – This interjection expresses triumph and encouragement.

oh well – This is an expression of resignation or reluctant acceptance.

uh-oh – This is an expression used when you realize something is wrong.

Answers:

1. wow, 2. oh my, 3. gee, 4. yikes, 5. woops, 6. huh, 7. yay, 8. oh well, 9 uh-oh, 10. oh my goodness

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About the Author:Gabriele

Hi there! I am one of Transparent Language's ESL bloggers. I am a 32-year-old native English speaker who was born and raised in the United States. I am living in Washington, DC now, but I have lived all over the US and also spent many years living and working abroad. I started teaching English as a second language in 2005 after completing a Master's in Applied Linguists and a Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults' (CELTA). Since that time I have taught ESL in the United States at the community college and university level. I have also gone on to pursue my doctorate in psychology and now I also teach courses in psychology. I like to stay connected to ESL learners around the world through Transparent Languages ESL Blog. Please ask questions and leave comments on the blog and I will be sure to answer them.