What is Interjection: A Quick Guide in Mastering Interjection
What is interjection? Is it really important? Let us discuss this topic further.
As people, we are bound to inject words to express how we feel into our daily conversations. If we feel angry, we might say ‘Argh!’ or ‘Grrr!’. When we’re happy, we would say something like ‘Cheers!’ or ‘Yahoo!’, and when we’re sad, we might insert an ‘Alas!’ or a ‘Boo-hoo!’. These words that help us with our emotions are called interjections.
What is interjection? Interjections (not to be mistaken with exclamations) are words or phrases that are used to express emotion. It is a major part of speech, along with nouns, pronouns, adjectives, verbs, adverbs, prepositions, and conjunctions. Unlike the other major parts of speech, interjections are not necessarily required for a sentence to convey a clear meaning.
Now let’s delve a little deeper and learn more about ‘what is interjection’.
Why do we use interjection?
Now that we know what interjections are, next question is why we use them. We use interjections when we want to convey a strong emotion such as anger, disgust, denial, enthusiasm, frustration, happiness, or sorrow. It is used to express feeling. In writing, interjections are used to make expressive sentences without the need for more descriptive words. Consider the two sentences below.
- “This sunset makes my heart burst with happiness and awe, the same way I felt when I first saw the sunset in Paris years ago.”
- “Wow! What a marvelous sunset!”
The meaning of both sentences is clear. Both are talking about an amazing sunset, however, the first sentence tries to do a lot more than just express how the speaker is feeling. It tries to evoke an experience unique to the person that is speaking by bringing up an image of a sunset in Paris. Unlike the second one which is more straight to the point and universal, thanks to the single interjection: ‘Wow!’
Here is another one:
- “The scent of the jasmine blooms on the windowsill brings you back to me, though you are miles away, a part of you still remains. I will think of you, until you return.”
- “Oh! My love, I shall wait for you faithfully until you return.”
Interjections do not just express an emotion; it also helps convey a shared experience between people. In writing, this is between the author and the reader, and in speech, this is between the speaker and the audience.
When should we use interjection?
Another thing you must know aside from what is interjection, is when to use an interjection. Use interjections whenever you want to express a strong emotion. Interjections are common in speech as they allow for a colorful rhetoric, but when it comes to writing, it is recommended to use interjections sparingly as they could easily overwhelm the readers. Take a look at this:
Yahoo! I finally saw the musical “Once On This Island” last night and it was, OMG! Amazing! The actors all had such amazing voices, like, wow! I couldn’t believe people could sing that well! Damn! I couldn’t tear my eyes away. Then when the lead actor finally appeared, mamma mia! Oh my, he was so handsome I swear, the world disappeared around me as all I saw was him. Dang!
It’s easy to picture listening to an excited teenager say this as he fangirls over her favorite show, but reading something like this can make a literary editor cringe. So once again, you can use interjections as much as you like in your speech, but in writing, it is better to keep them at a minimum. However, that doesn’t mean you have to avoid interjections completely in your writings. Remember, you are still writing for people, and what better way to tell stories than through the expression of real human emotions?
How do we use interjection?
Next, you now know what is interjection, why we use interjection, and when to use interjection. Here comes the complicated part—how to use interjection. An interjection functions as itself. That means, they are unrelated to any other words in the sentence. As a result, they are usually set off from the rest of the sentence by a comma or an exclamation point, and in some cases, by parentheses. The following are where interjections are usually placed.
What is Interjection: At the beginning of a sentence
The most common placement of an interjection is at the beginning of a sentence. These interjections are always followed by a comma.
- Yikes, I forgot to study for the Chemistry test!
- Oh no, my dog just chewed on my favorite boots!
What is Interjection: At the middle of a sentence
Interjections may also be placed in the middle of a sentence. In writing, for example, an author may choose to add an interjection in the middle of character dialogue in order to convey a bit of emotion without having to resort to using more words.
Interjections that are placed within a sentence usually follow and are followed by a comma.
- Sally rushed to the child lying unconscious on the street. “Somebody help, gosh, his head is bleeding!” she called to the crowd.
- If all I need to become a professor is a post-graduate degree then, hey, who am I to argue?
Next, interjections that are placed within a sentence may also be placed inside parentheses.
- We saw a man get rejected by the woman he proposed to (ouch) in the park yesterday.
- He finally got it right (hallelujah!) after repeating it a hundred times!
What is Interjection: At the end of a sentence
Another common placement of interjections is at the end of a sentence. Interjections placed at the end of a sentence often follow a comma. In writing, this is the least used placement of interjections.
- I guess we’re never going to see each other again, huh?
- I told you not to undercook the chicken, my goodness!
What is Interjection: As a stand-alone
Finally, some interjections can also function independently of a sentence. That is, they can stand alone as a complete sentence. These types of interjections are often punctuated by an exclamation point. Because of this, stand-alone interjections are the most common type of interjections.
- Uh-oh! I think the baby soiled his diaper again.
- Alas! The mighty warrior has finally met his bane.
What is Interjection: How to Properly Punctuate an Interjection
So, by now, you already have a solid idea on what is interjection. Naturally, you should know about how to properly punctuate an interjection. First of all, an important thing to remember is that an interjection must always be followed by a punctuation mark if it is used at the beginning of a sentence. Lastly, it must always follow a punctuation mark if it is used in the middle or in the end.
At the beginning of a sentence
INCORRECT: Sigh why can’t I live like the heroine in my favorite book?
CORRECT: Sigh, why can’t I live like the heroine in my favorite book?
At the middle of a sentence
INCORRECT: The rain is pouring hard good grief it’s starting to flood!
CORRECT: The rain is pouring hard, good grief, it’s starting to flood!
At the end of a sentence
INCORRECT: Did you think I wasn’t aware that you planted the evidence in my locker hmmm?
CORRECT: Did you think I wasn’t aware that you planted the evidence in my locker, hmmm?
What is Interjection: Different Examples of Interjections
Now that you know how to use interjections, here is a list of some interjections you may use to help express yourself both in writing and in everyday speech.
Meaning: Used to convey anger or frustration.
- Argh! I hate you!
- This Rubik’s cube is giving me a headache, argh!
Interjection: Aah/ Aaah
Meaning: Used to convey extreme fear, surprise, or shock.
- Aaah! I’m never riding this roller coaster again! Aaah!
- Aah! You scared me. Don’t just jump out on people like that!
Interjection: Ahem/ Ehem
Meaning: Used to denote someone’s presence; it is the sound one makes by clearing their throat.
- Ahem, may I have everyone’s attention please.
- This cough has been killing me. Ehem! Ehem!
Interjection: Ah/ Ahh
Meaning: Used to show a feeling of relaxation or contentment; may also be used to convey enlightenment (as in having a ‘light-bulb’ moment).
- Ahh, this bed is so soft it feels like lying on a thousand feathers.
- Ah, so that’s how you solve a quadratic equation.
Meaning: Used to surprise-scare someone (as in a person pretending to be a ghost); used to show annoyance or displeasure.
- I am the ghost of Christmas Past, boo!
- Boo! Get that referee off the field!
Meaning: A fake sob; used to show annoyance over someone who being overly sensitive; also a form of sarcastic mockery.
- Oh boo-hoo! We get it, your father took back your car as punishment for you not getting a perfect score on your test.
- You’re upset because you found a piece of shrimp in your chicken salad? Boo-hoo, sucks for you.
Interjection: Boy/ Oh boy
Meaning: Usually said to show excitement over something that is about to happen.
- Boy, oh boy! I do hope the telescope I ordered last week finally arrives today!
- I can’t wait to see my sister’s face when I tell her I finally have tickets for the show, boy, she’s gonna love it.
Interjection: Booya/ Booyeah
Meaning: Used to express a sense of victory or triumph.
- I told you France was gonna win the world cup, booyeah!
- Eliza finally agreed to go on a date with me, booya!
Meaning: Used to express good will or ‘thank you’; used as a parting remark; may also be used just before having a drink
- I’m looking forward to seeing you again. Cheers!
- Cheers, to all of the successful graduates of the school year.
Interjection: Dear me/ Oh dear
Meaning: Used to express intense worry.
- Oh dear, I shouldn’t have allowed your father to leave at this hour.
- Dear me, why did I ever think that I could finish this gown in just two days?
Meaning: Used to express annoyance in response to something obvious.
- “Maybe we should bathe the dog, he’s covered in mud.”
- They’re mad because I didn’t come with them to the club yesterday. Duh? How am I supposed to go dancing when my leg’s in a cast?
Interjection: Egad/ Yegad
Meaning: May be used to express anger or surprise.
- Egad! You bought a bag worth three month’s rent? How could you?
- Every summer, I am surrounded by, yegad, a band of rowdy teenagers.
Meaning: A noncommittal reaction towards something that was said; also used to express confusion or when prompting agreement.
- What about going to the movies tonight, eh?
- Eh? What did you say?
- “Maybe we should paint the baby’s room yellow. Yellow is a nice color.”
“Eh. Do whatever you want.”
Interjection: Er/ Uh/ Uhm/ Uhmm
Meaning: Used to indicate a pause.
- I was, er.. I was just reading about Plato.
- Uhm, would you mind if I listened to the radio at 2 a.m.?
Interjection: Geesh/ Sheesh
Meaning: Used to indicate annoyed fatigue at someone or something.
- Oh go on, just go ahead and spend the whole night with your friends. Geesh.
- Fine, I’ll change the curtains if that makes you happy. Sheesh.
Interjection: Golly/ Oh golly/ Gosh/ Oh gosh
Meaning: Used to express surprise; also used to express panic and happiness.
- Golly, I didn’t know you would be arriving today.
- This book is really good, oh gosh, I should recommend it to my book club!
Interjection: Good grief/ Good heavens
Meaning: Used to express frustration and annoyance. It is also used to express surprise.
- Good grief, you look like a hobo. Go get a shower now.
- Good heavens! I can’t do this. Whoever invented math was a sadist.
Interjection: Hmph/ Harumph
Meaning: A sound of disagreement, annoyance or indignation.
- How many times do I have to tell you, ‘No’? Hmph!
- Harumph! I wasn’t invited to the party.
Interjection: Humbug/ Bah, humbug
Meaning: Made famous by the character Ebenezer Scrooge; used to express indignation or disgust.
- Take a day off to celebrate Christmas? Bah, humbug! I would rather spend my day working.
- Humbug! I wouldn’t spend a dollar on that. It’s such a rip-off!
Interjection: Hurray/ Hurrah
Meaning: Used to express extreme happiness or excitement.
- Hurray! Hurray! Our team won the championship!
- The crowd shouted out a resounding ‘Hurrah!’ as they watched the goalie secure the team’s win.
Meaning: Used to express relief.
- Phew! I made it in time.
- I finally finished this sculpture. Phew, I actually thought I couldn’t do it, but I did.
Interjection: Yahoo/ Yehey/ Yippie/ Wahoo
Meaning: Used to express excitement or happiness.
- Yippie! We’re leaving for Paris tomorrow!
- My photograph won 1st place in the competition, yehey!
Interjection: Yuck/ Blech/ Eww
Meaning: Used to express disgust.
- The sewers? You expect me to retrieve your toy down in the sewers? Blech! Never!
- Red boots paired with a yellow dress? Yuck. She can never pull that look off.
Interjection: Whoa/ Woah
Meaning: Used to indicate that something is happening too fast and that it needs to slow down
- Whoa, whoa, whoa! You have to simmer down.
- We just started dating two weeks ago, now he wants to move-in? Woah.
Interjection: Whoops/ Woopsie/ Whoops-a-daisies
Meaning: A light-hearted acknowledgement of a person’s mistake
- Whoops, I didn’t know I had to shade the boxes instead of crossing them out.
- Grant tried to climb the wall, but his feet got stuck in a vine and he stumbled down. “Whoops-a-daisies. That could’ve gone better,” he said, grinning awkwardly as he picked himself up.
Even though some grammarians consider it as an unimportant part of speech (unlike verbs and nouns), it is still good to know what is interjection and how to use it. Therefore, it is still a great idea to learn about them. Do you know of any other interjection? Please feel free to share it with us in the comments.
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