This article was written by Dr. Ehsan Shams
What’s the difference between an exclamation and an interjection?
There are 9 basic parts of speech:
An exclamation includes that, but can be a complete sentence as well. “Get to work!”
So an interjection is a form of an exclamation in a single word. But not all exclamations are interjections.
“Hi!” That’s an interjection.
“Interjection” is a big name for a little word. Interjections are short exclamations like Oh!, Um or Ah! They have no real grammatical value but we use them quite often, usually more in speaking than in writing. When interjections are inserted into a sentence, they have no grammatical connection to the sentence. An interjection is sometimes followed by an exclamation mark (!) when written.
Here are some interjections with examples:
interjection meaning example
ah expressing pleasure “Ah, that feels good.”
expressing realization “Ah, now I understand.”
expressing resignation “Ah well, it can’t be helped.”
expressing surprise “Ah! I’ve won!”
alas expressing grief or pity “Alas, she’s dead now.”
dear expressing pity “Oh dear! Does it hurt?”
expressing surprise “Dear me! That’s a surprise!”
eh asking for repetition “It’s hot today.” “Eh?” “I said it’s hot today.”
expressing enquiry “What do you think of that, eh?”
expressing surprise “Eh! Really?”
inviting agreement (or reply) “Let’s go, eh?” (Pretty cold out, eh?)
er expressing hesitation “Lima is the capital of…er…Peru.”
hello, hullo expressing greeting “Hello John. How are you today?”
expressing surprise “Hello! My car’s gone!”
hey calling attention “Hey! look at that!”
expressing surprise, joy etc “Hey! What a good idea!”
hi expressing greeting “Hi! What’s new?”
hmm expressing hesitation, doubt or disagreement “Hmm. I’m not so sure.”
oh, o expressing surprise “Oh! You’re here!”
expressing pain “Oh! I’ve got a toothache.”
expressing pleading “Oh, please say ‘yes’!”
ouch expressing pain “Ouch! That hurts!”
uh expressing hesitation “Uh…I don’t know the answer to that.”
uh-huh expressing agreement “Shall we go?” “Uh-huh.”
um, umm expressing hesitation “85 divided by 5 is…um…17.”
well expressing surprise “Well I never!”
introducing a remark “Well, what did he say?”
ah / ahh
used in order to show your surprise, anger, pain, happiness, agreement etc.
▪ Ah! There you are!
used to show that you are angry, disappointed, annoyed etc.:
▪ Aargh, this thing is so heavy!
a word you say when you do a magic trick, which is supposed to make it successful.
used in order to show that you understand or realize something:
▪ Aha! I knew you were trying to trick me!
a sound you make in your throat to attract someone’s attention when you want to speak to them, warn them etc.
used by sailors to get someone’s attention or greet them.
used to say hello or goodbye in Hawaii.
used in a joking way to show that you feel shy or embarrassed.
▪ Just turn it on, and bam, you’re ready to go.
2- used to say that something has hit something else.
3- used to make a sound like a gun.
used to make a sound like a gun or explosion:
▪ Then suddenly, bang! The engine just exploded.
said when you have just done something successfully or to tell someone that they have given the right answer.
▪ Bingo! That’s the one I’ve been looking for.
said to someone before they start eating a meal, to tell them you hope they enjoy their food.
A word you shout suddenly to someone as a joke, in order to frighten them.
Said loudly to show that you do not like a person, performance, idea etc.
Not say boo : spoken to not say anything at all in a situation when most people are talking.
▪ He got to the party at eight, but didn’t say boo all evening.
1. also oh boy : used when you are excited or pleased about something.
▪ Boy, that chicken was good!
2. oh boy : used when you are slightly annoyed or disappointed about something:
▪ Oh boy! My computer crashed again.
said to show your approval when someone, especially a performer, has done something very well.
used to express annoyance or surprise.
▪ Oh, brother – why is this happening now?
said when you are cold.
also bye-bye spoken goodbye.
used when you lift a glass of alcohol before drinking it, to say that you hope the people you are drinking with will be happy and have good health.
an expression used when you want someone to hurry.
used to say goodbye.
used to show that you are very angry or annoyed.
Oh dear : said when you are surprised, annoyed, or upset:
▪ Oh dear, I can’t find it.
used to say that you have exactly the same opinion as someone else about something, or that something is also true for you:
▪ “I find his classes really boring.” “Ditto.”
humorous , said when you have just realized that you did something stupid.
said in order to accept a deal that someone offers you :
▪ “How about I give you $25 for it?” “Done!”
also no duh
used to say that what someone else has just said or asked is stupid or unnecessary because it is very easy to understand:
▪ “You mean I can’t park there?” “Duh, that’s what the big sign says.”
an expression of sudden fear and surprise :
▪ Eek! A mouse!
a sound you make when you pause to correct something you have just said, or when you do not know exactly what to say:
▪ We’ll never forgive – er, forget – her accomplishments.
often humorous, used to show how happy you are that you have discovered the answer to a problem, found something etc.
used to express sudden pain.
▪ Ow! That hurt!
oi (also oy) (BrE, informal)
used to attract somebody’s attention, especially in an angry way:
▪ Oi, you! What do you think you’re doing?
Look out (or Watch out)
used to warn somebody to be careful, especially when there is danger.
▪ Look out! There’s a car coming.