Grammar-QuizzesAdverbialsAdverbials › Interjections

Interjections 

Express a short emotional response

Uh! Can't make up his mind.
 

 

Interjections

INTERJECTIONS

In speech, an interjection is a short emotional response or sentiment inserted before a sentence. An interjection may be a word, phrase or short sentence. It exists outside of the usually grammatical structure of a clause or sentence.

INTERJECTIONS

Uh. Which one should I eat?.  (pause)

Wow!   This tastes good.  (surprise)

Oops. I dropped it. (embarrassment)

EXCLAMATIONS

Hey!   What do you have there?

Ooh!   May I have that apple?

Excellent!   Thank you!

SOUNDS

Psst.   Pass this note to that guy.

Ugh!   I won't eat this.

Whew!  My boss nearly got me napping.

OTHER WORDING

In writing, the same sentiment is expressed grammatically within the structure of the clause or sentence, for example, with a verbal phrase, an adverb or some other expression which captures the meaning.                                 

IN OTHER WORDS

He pauses and asks which one he should eat.

He is surprised that it tastes good.

He embarrassedly admits to dropping it.

IN OTHER WORDS

He catches my attention and asks me what I had.

He really wanted to  have the apple.

He was pleased and thanked me.

IN OTHER WORDS

He got my attention and asked me to pass a note.

He firmly refused to eat the food.

He was relieved that his boss hadn't caught him.

 

An interjection my be followed by either a period or an exclamation mark.

(Huddleston 15 5.2)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interjections

A list of short responses

Ow! Angry Golpher
 

 

Interjections

AFFIRM ATION NEGATION

Yes!

Yeah! (informal)

Yep! (informal)

Indeed!

No!

Nah! 

Nope! 

Uh-huh

Certainly!

You bet!

Sure!

Unh Unh! 

As if!

No way!

Not a chance!

Correct.

Right.

Incorrect.

Wrong.

Maybe!

Perhaps!

Uh / Um (pause to consider)

Unlikely.

Not a clue!  (don't know)

Beats me!  (don't know)

Agreed.

OK / Okay

All right! / You got it!

Absolutely!

No deal!    (no agreement)

Nope!

Dream on!

Not happening!

ATTTENTION SURPRISE

Hi!

Hey!

Yo!

Hiya!

Ouch!  (pain)

Ow!

Oh!

Ha! / Ho!

Bye! 

Tata! 

Ciao!

So long!

Wow! / Whoa!

Gee!

Golly!

Yikes

Shh! (quiet)

Tsk tsk!  (too bad)

Aww!  (cute)

Ooh!

Hey!

Ahoy!

Yoohoo!

Oh my god!  

Holy smokes!

Jeez! (Jesus)

Ahem!  Say!

Psst!

Dude!

Hey man!

What! (disbelief)

Hunh!

Seriously!

Well!

 

An interjection my be followed by either a period or an exclamation mark.

 

 

 

DISAPPOINTMENT SUCCESS

Sorry!

Excuse me! 

Pardon me!

Great!

Awesome!

Yeow!

Darn!

Dang!

Dammit!

Hooray! 

Yay!

Yahoo!

Oops! / Uh oh!  (error!)

Shit! inf / Shoot!

Whoops!

Rats! / Drat!

Woohoo!

Woot!!

Nailed it!

Sweet!

Eh!  (disparaging)

Enh! (uninteresting)

Meh! (so-so)

Pretty good! (almost good)

Not bad!

Look out! (danger!)

Ouch! (pain)

Oof!

Aha! (discovery)

SOCIAL RESPONSES SLANG

Please!

Pretty please! 

Thanks!

Rad!   (approval)

Cool!  (approval)

Dope!  /  Sick!  (approval)

Hallelujah! (relief)

Amen!

Whew!  Phew!

Doh!  (frustration)

Arg!  / Argh! (frustration)

Ah! / Ack! (frustration)

Congratulations!

Good job!

Well done!

Way to go! inf

Duh!  (it's obvious)

Like duh! (it's obvious)

Well yeah! (it's obvious)

Uh hunh! (it's obvious)

No problem! 

My  pleasure!

Welcome!

Kidding! (not true; playing)

Joking!

Really! (not believable)

Mmm! (good–sensory)

Yum! / Yummy!

Aah! 

Eww! Ehew! (bad–sensory)

Ich! / Yuck!  (disapproving)

Ugh!  (disapproving)

 

inf. – informal

 

 

 

► Show Grammar Notes and Works Cited ▼ Hide Grammar Notes

Grammar Notes (Advanced)

Traditional and Linguistic Descriptions

 

 

 

Traditional vs. Linguistic Descriptions

TRADITIONAL DESCRIPTION

"Exclamations are often constructed with how and what or with so and such; negative question forms are also common."

How nice!; What a find!; You're so kind!  (Swan 195)

H. And Other Parts of Speech as an Interjection. Almost any word can serve as a variation: Excellent! (Adj); Fool! (N); Stop! (V); Quick! (Adv); You! (pronoun); As if! (conj.). 

Also called exclamation.   (Garner 382)

LINGUISTIC DESCRIPTION

"An interjection is a category of words that do not combine with other words in integrated syntactic constructions, and have expressive rather than propositional meaning."
ah, hey, oh, oops, ouch, sh, ugh, wow   (Huddleston 15 5.2.i )

Prefaces or prefactory words orient the listener to the following words. Types include discourse markers (well, right), interjections (oh, yeah, okay), stance adverbs (anyway) and linking adverbs (so, then).  (Biber 1074)

 

 

 

 

Works Cited

  • Biber, Douglas, and Stig Johansson, et al. Longman Grammar Of Spoken And Written English. Pearson Education, 1999.
  • Garner's Modern American Usage, Bryan A. Garner, 3rd ed., Oxford UP, 2009.
  • Huddleston, Rodney D., and Geoffrey K. Pullum. The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language. Cambridge UP, 2002.
  • Swan, Michael. Practical English Usage. 3rd ed., Oxford UP, 2005.

 

 

 

 

Practice 1

Reactions to Art

for sale
 

 

Decide which interjection fits the situation.

  1. Select your response from the list. 
  2. Compare your responses to the feedback by clicking the "Check" or "Check 1-10" button.

 

1.

2.

3.

4.
They kind of look like ostrich eggs. (eggs from very large birds)

5.
It's as if you could take a spoon, tap the top off and eat the inside.

6.
That's disgusting!

7.
I wonder how they got here. Did the artist just roll them here?

8.

9.

10.
I'm not the distructive type.  In fact, I rather like this sculpture.  The artist has a good sense of humor.

 

IMAGE

"Yin Yang" by Robert Arneson, 1992. Bronze with white patina located in Sue Bierman Park near the Embarcadero and Justin Herman Plaza, San Francisco, California, USA.