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- Interjection Examples
What is an Interjection?
An interjection is a word or short expression that normally lacks a grammatical connection to larger patterns of speech. It is expressed as an utterance that stands by itself, one that can be emotional, directive, or exclamatory in nature.
An interjection is an exclamatory word or phrase used to express a weak, mild, or strong feeling or emotion. It is a part of speech in English grammar.
Interjections are normally defined by their short duration (usually single or double-word phrases) and reactive, or spontaneous, use. Examples include exclamatory phrases (“Oh!”, or “Ooh!”), swear words (“Damn!”, or “Dang!”), hesitation markers (“um”, or “er”), and responsive particles (“Yes!”, or “Ok”).
Additional interjections can include greetings (“Hey!” or “Hi there”), expressions of dismay (“Oh no!”, or “Aw, man”), and imperative/directive phrases (“Look!”, or “Do it!”).
Interjections can overlap with what are considered discourse markers (words that can manage the flow of discourse, i.e. “you know”, “well”, “I mean”, “then”), linguistic fillers (words to indicate a pause in thinking without completion of speech, i.e. “uh”, “um”) and profanities.
Types of Interjections
Interjections are typically divided into three categories: emotive, volitive, and cognitive.
- Emotive – express the feelings of a speaker, like anger, fear, surprise, and disgust (“Rats!”, or “Oh!”, or “Huh?”, or “Blech!”, respectively),
- Cognitive – express the understanding of information by the speaker, or internal reaction to information (“Ohh”, “I see”, “Aha!”, and “Wow”), and
- Volitive – are used as imperative or directive speech, meant to instruct or command others to do something (“Look!”, “Listen”, “Shh!”, “Look out!”).
Examples of Interjections
- “Oops! I did it again!”
- “Ooh, what a lovely dress!”
- “Yahoo, we did it!”
- “Shh, I can’t hear what he’s saying.”
- “We’ve done it! Hurrah!”
- “Bravo, Rena! You’re right.”
- “Well, so Steve got the job?”
- “Oh, how wonderful!”
- “Meh, there’s nothing great about it.”
- “A seven-layer wedding cake? Ooh-la-la!”
When To Use Interjections
Using an interjection is a great way to bring life to a conversation. The interjection can be anything from a greeting to a curse or an exclamation. They can be used as independent sentences in response to a comment or situation and are great for making you sound like a native English speaker.
Interjections are commonly accepted in speech, despite differing social situations. The distinction, however, is the type of social settings and the expected interjections for different types of social situations.
Formal conversations (and settings) call for less interjection use overall. There is an emphasis on listening, discussion, and the completion of thought in full phrases. Socially suitable interjections (“Oh”, “My word!”, “Yes”, and “Quite”, for example) are considered acceptable in formal settings.
Casual conversations tend to allow more interjection use. More emotive interjections (“Darn!”, “Eww”, “Yes!”), volitive interjections (“Do it!”, “Watch out!”), and more casual cognitive interjections (“Got it!”, “Whoa…”) are accepted in casual speech, as are profane and discourse-marking interjections.
In texting, interjections can be used with varying degrees of frequency — depending on relationship types and context.
Interjections would be more common in texts among friends, romantic partners, or casual acquaintances, but this can also depend on the type of relationship between those texting.
A short “Ok”, for example, might be appropriate in texting for one situation (say, during the day-of correspondence in planning a party) but may seem rude if given during a heart-to-heart discussion.
A degree of familiarity may be needed before interjections are more frequently used in texts. Among friends, interjections in texts may follow the conventions of discussions with these friends in-person.
If there is work correspondence or texting to superiors, limited, more formal interjection use is recommended — though this may vary, as well.
In writing, interjections can be used as speech patterns in fictional prose (‘”Wow!”, she exclaimed.’), as quoted speech in non-fiction news articles (‘”Got it!”, the union workers shouted’), in poetry, personal essays, biographies, or in advertising (“Save!”, “Look!”).
Interjections are generally not acceptable in non-fiction, informational, technical, academic, or scientific writing.
Casual e-mail correspondence — a back-and-forth among work colleagues or friends, for example — may be more conducive to interjection use than e-mails between employees and superiors.
Advertising and marketing e-mails may use volitive interjections to attract customers.
Interjections vs. Exclamations
Interjections may include types of exclamations (“Oh!”, “My word!”) but not all interjections are exclamations (“Oh?”, “I see…”).
Exclamations are longer, more meaningful phrases (“What a wonderful day it is!”, or “This is incredible!”) whereas interjections tend to be one or two-word phrases with simpler expressive meanings (“Oooh!”, “Argh!”, or “Oh, no…”).
If you use interjections in texts or e-mails, exclamation point (“!”) use is strongly discouraged. This is because expressive meaning is often implied with the interjection itself.
This can, however, vary depending on casual business use (“Thanks!”) or strong emphasis among casual friends (“Darn!”).
In writing (fiction or non-fiction articles) for an audience, the exclamation point is necessary to show interjection as a part of speech.
Interjections vs. Emoticons vs. Emoji
Emoticons (“emotion icons”) are representations of facial expressions using characters (usually typed) to convey emotions. These can include the smiley face 🙂 or the frowning face :-(, among others.
Emojis (Japanese for “picture characters”) are small digital illustrations that can express facial expressions as well as objects, plants, and animals. Unlike emoticons, they are not comprised of typeface characters, but actual stylized illustrations.
In casual text slang messages among friends, emoticons and emojis are relatively common. They are, however, strongly discouraged for use in professional or formal emails and texts.
In this sense, interjections may actually be more common in formal/business e-mails or texts (such as in “Thanks!” or “Yes”) but limited use of interjections in these situations is still recommended.
Interjections vs. Onomatopeia
Onomatopeia is the construction of words that phonetically imitate existing sounds, such as animal sounds (“Moo”, “Meow”, “Woof”) or other sounds (“Bang”, “Boom”, “Zoom”).
Interjections differ from onomatopoeia in that they are often singular words that have a determined meaning but do not imitate sounds. Interjections are exclamatory or can evoke emotion, while onomatopoeia is not meant to evoke meaning — only words that replicate an existing sound effect.
In casual conversation and storytelling, onomatopoeia, like interjections, can be frequently used. This is not the case in more formal/professional conversations, where onomatopoeia use is strongly discouraged, and interjection use is limited to certain interactions.
Examples of Using Interjections in Sentences
In this section, we are going to be looking at a variety of interjections and learning how we can use them in our day-to-day conversations.
Aah meaning and Aah interjection examples:
- Expressing pleasure: “Aah, that’s great!”
- Expressing realization: “Aah, now I see what you mean.”
- Expressing resignation: “Aah, I give up!”
- Expressing surprise/shock: “Aah! It’s eating my leg!”
Ah meaning and Ah interjection examples:
- Expressing pleasure: “Ah, this coffee is good.”
- Expressing realization: “Ah, now I understand.”
- Expressing resignation: “Ah!Well, I’ll have to come back tomorrow.”
- Expressing surprise: “Ah! There you are!”
Aha meaning: Understanding, triumph
“Aha! So you planned all this, did you?”
Ahem meaning: The sound of clearing one’s throat. Used to get someone’s attention, especially if they don’t know (or apparently forgot) that you’re there.
“Ahem! Can I make a suggestion?”
Alas meaning: Expressing grief or pity
“Alas, my love, I must leave now.”
Argh meaning: Expressing annoyance, anger or frustration
“Argh, get that cat off the table!”
Aw, Aww meaning and examples:
- Expressing mild disappointment or protest: “Aw, come on, Andy!”
- Shows sentimental approval: “Aww! Just look at that kitten.”
- Feeling sorry or pity for someone: “Aww, that’s so sad, he hasn’t yet learned to ride a bike.”
Bah meaning: Expressing dismissive or annoyed
“Bah, I never liked him anyways.”
Behold meaning: Expressing attention
“Behold! The bride comes.”
Bingo meaning: Acknowledge something as right
“Bingo! That’s the one I’ve been looking for.”
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