Interjection

Hi! That’s an interjection.đŸ™‚

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.

The table below shows 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 heped.”
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 “Let’s go, 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?”

Notes: interjections like er and um are also known as “hesitation devices”. They are extremely common in English. People use them when they don’t know what to say, or to indicate that they are thinking about what to say. You should learn to recognize them when you hear them and realize that they have no real meaning.

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