September 3, 2015

What are Interjections – And How Do You Use Them?

3 minute read


What’s an interjection?

Well, it turns out that they’re a really special part of the English language. They’re quite different to anything else you might have learned about English grammar – but they’re just as important to know about!

So let’s take a closer look at them.

What are interjections?

Interjections are words that you can use to express a strong sense of emotion or feeling. An interjection is usually just a single word – and unlike any other part of English grammar, it doesn’t influence the grammar of a sentence in any way.

It doesn’t matter what tense the sentence is, who or what the subject is, what verbs you are using, or anything else. You can use interjections at any time, to add an extra touch of meaning.

Lots of different kinds of words can act as an interjection, from words like “yes” or “no”, to more emotive words such as “ouch”, “hurray”, or “hey”.

Different interjections can be used to express different kinds of emotions or feelings – from anger, happiness, surprise, to enthusiasm, boredom and more.

Let’s take a look at some examples:

“Ouch! That really hurt.”

“Wow, that’s so beautiful!”

“Yuck, that tastes really disgusting.”

Interjections aren’t just for strong or extreme emotions though. They can also be used more mild or polite expressions of emotion. For example:

“Oh no, he’s back again.”

“Excuse me, may I leave?”

“Oh, I’m not feeling very well.”

Using interjections

In the examples we’ve looked at so far, interjections have been placed at the start of the sentence. This is one of the most common ways to use them, as by putting them right at the start, you can add an emotional impact to your sentence very easily.

When the interjection is right at the start, you might also want to add an exclamation mark at the end of the sentence, to add extra emphasis, for example:

“Hurray – we’re finally here!”

 But interjections don’t always have to be at the start of the sentence. While they don’t have any grammatical influence, you can still use them in different parts of the sentence, to express different kinds of feelings and tones.

For example, using an interjection at the end of a sentence can turn it into a question, or a rhetorical question that emphasises different kinds of feelings. Let’s look at some examples!

“This is a really interesting film, hmm?”

Putting the interjection at the end of the sentence makes it into a question, which might invite someone else to share their opinion with you, or ask them if they agree with you.

“Hmm! This is a really interesting film!”

Placing the interjection at the start instead makes it more of a statement, which is less likely to invite someone else to share their thoughts with you.

You could also put an interjection in the middle of a sentence, for a different kind of expression of feeling. For example:

“This is a really, hmm, interesting film.”

In this sentence, putting the interjection in the middle helps to convey a feeling of uncertainty or doubt instead.

Your turn

The three examples above show how one interjection can be used in a lot of different ways to convey all kinds of feelings!

With hundreds of interjections out there, they are a really great way of adding richness to your language. Why not get practicing with a few of them in your everyday use of English, and see how they can add different levels of meaning to what you have to say?