Psst! Interjection Words in English to Sound Like a Native

Tori Torn6 min
Created: March 21st, 2023Last updated: April 12th, 2023
Exclamation words

Gosh, what are the chances that some English grammar can actually be easy? Chilax, we are kidding. But you can relate to what we feel, right? And that is only because of the word "gosh" at the beginning of the first sentence. This small thing just helped us to express our feelings and emotions through the text, which might be challenging. Nonetheless, you can't really define that word. Is that even a noun or an adjective? Uh-uh, that is a perfect example of interjection. And that is what we will learn about today. Ta-da!

Definition and Function of Interjection Words

An interjection is an unmodified word or phrase that expresses feelings or emotions in an inarticulate or nonsensical way. Interjections are a part of speech but are not precisely words from a linguistic point. They are seen more as a lower form of the word. Grammatically, interjections are the least important part of speech, which can be excluded from the sentence without drastically changing its meaning. However, they are still used in spoken speech to express and show the emotional side of the person's attitude towards something or someone. 

The primary function of interjection words is to express feelings and emotions most intuitively and authentically without further ado. In addition, interjections might become a signature feature of some people's speeches. For instance, Homer Simpson from the tv series The Simpsons is well-known for his catchphrase "D'oh!" His son Bart Simpson also has his own exclamation, "Cowabunga!"

When to Use Exclamation Words And Interjections

Exclamation words and interjections are not something you will notice in professional written communication when discussing business. However, even the most professional CEO might say "hmm…" when they hear something they don't like. That means that we can't eliminate exclamation phrases or interjections entirely, no matter how hard we try when it comes to live communication. 

However, written communication is totally different. When you have time to type or write something down, you intentionally put every word in your speech. For instance, writers place interjections to express the character's feelings. The screenwriters do the same to direct actors regarding their feeling in the scene. Knowing what English interjections are really about will help you better understand people when communicating with them. Informal speech is the best place for integrating interjections. Using interjections wisely and reasonably can really complement your English and demonstrate extra proficiency in the language. For instance, "Hurray!" will help you correctly express joy in English. 

Nonetheless, you need to understand the contexts and timing for using interjections. It's not always a time and place to say something like "Zoinks!" as Shaggy from Scooby Doo. You must learn to feel the language to tap into exclamation words and interjections correctly. 

Speaking about when to use this part of speech, we can't forget to discuss their place in the sentence. Interjections are so universal that they can sit at the beginning, middle, or end of the sentence. Also, they can be used independently, ending with an exclamation mark, question mark, period, or ellipsis. 

For example:

  • Oh, I can't wait!
  • I think, wow, I'm too drunk.
  • So you've forgotten about our plans for tonight, huh?
  • Aw! (When you see a cute puppy)

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List of Exclamation Words And Interjections To Memorize

Linguists can divide interjections by linguistic categories. As language learners, we will find it easier to distinguish English interjections by the emotions and feelings we tend to express with them. There are funny exclamations, cognitive interjections, happy exclamations, relief interjections, etc. That is why we suggest you overview the most common interjection words categorized by emotions and feelings. Oh yes!

Interjections of Relief

  • Ah 
  • Oh
  • Oof 
  • Phew 
  • Whew 

Example: We've made it on time, phew!

Interjections of Triumph

  • Aha 
  • Boo-yah 
  • Ho-ho 
  • Hurray
  • Olé
  • Rah
  • Ta-da 

Example: I knew I would pass this test! Boo-yah!

Interjections of Enthusiasm and Excitement 

  • Phoar 
  • Va-va-voom
  • Whee 
  • Whoopee 
  • Woo
  • Woo-hoo
  • Yay 
  • Yee-haw 
  • Yeet
  • Yippee 
  • Yo-ho-ho 
  • Yoow(za) 

Example: Yay, Alice got a promotion!

Interjections of Surprise

  • Eep 
  • Golly 
  • Ha
  • Huh 
  • Whoa 
  • Wow
  • Yikes 
  • Zoinks 
  • Zowie 

Example: Yikes! I didn't expect to see you at home at this hour. You've really scared me. 

Interjections of Mockery

  • Hardy-har-har 
  • Ooh-la-la 
  • Boo-hoo 
  • Bwah-hah-hah 
  • Duh 
  • Lah-de-dah 
  • Nana na nana na 
  • Neener-neener i
  • Sis boom dah 
  • Whoop-de-doo 

Example: Are you gonna cry about that? Boo-hoo. 

Interjections of Confirmation

  • Mh-hmm 
  • Uh-huh 
  • Yep

Example: Mh-hmm… I'm on the phone right now. 

Interjections of Winning time

  • Er 
  • Uh
  • Ummm
  • Hmm

Example: Hmm, we need to consider that offer, if you don't mind. 

Interjections of Asking for Silence

  • Ahem 
  • Hist 
  • Psst 
  • Shh 

Example: Shh! You are in the theater, so keep it quiet. 

Interjections of Disgust

  • Ack 
  • Bah 
  • Ew 
  • Gak 
  • Ick 
  • Ugh
  • Yuck, yech or yeck
  • Ooh 
  • Phooey or 'pfui' 
  • Pooh 

Example: Ew, are these the sneakers you want to buy? 

Interjections of Disappointment

  • Aw 
  • D'oh
  • Drats
  • Feh
  • Shucks

Example: O lost the bet, d'oh!

Interjections of Irritation

  • Argh 
  • Dang 
  • Egads 
  • Gee or jeez 
  • Gosh 
  • Oy
  • Pshaw 
  • Sheesh 
  • Tchah 
  • Hmph 

Example: Gosh, can you shut up for a second? I need to think. 

Interjections of Laugh

  • Ha-ha
  • Haha
  • Hee-hee 
  • Hehe 

Example: Hahaha, I can't stop laughing!

Interjections of Miscellaneous

  • Yum emphasizes something tasty.  
  • Boo scares someone.
  • Oops, whoopsie, or whoops, is said when a person does something accidentally.
  • Ouch is said when someone gets hurt.
  • Shoo can be used to scare away animals.
  • Uh-uh emphasizes a denial to do something.

Example: Yum, I love authentic Italian gelato. 

Hmm… How to Learn English Interjections with Promova

If you've been learning English for several years now and learned about interjection words just now, it's your wake-up call. You need to change your English learning routine completely. And the language learning platform Promova can definitely help you with that. 

Promova is a one-stop multitool for learning languages in a fun and interactive way. Our principal asset is a personalized approach to every student that matches their level of English proficiency, needs, strengths, and weaknesses. We can prove that even English grammar can be fun and easy to learn with well-chosen learning materials and methods. 

Promova offers to learn English through English with bite-sized lessons on the mobile app, meticulously planned individual and group lessons with certified tutors, fun speaking classes in the free Conversation Club, educational articles in our blog, and content on social media. Sign up for individual tutoring and choose an English grammar tutor who will tell you everything and even more about interjections in English. We aim to give our students the best language learning experience to make their journey stress-free and exciting. So sign up today and get the first trial lesson for free. 

Conclusion

Every English learner has their point of growth. When you reach a certain level of English proficiency, it might seem like you are a pro, and nothing can surprise you. But then… Boo! You hear one of the popular English interjection words and start questioning what the person meant. You can start panicking that you missed a word during the conversation when in reality, it wasn't even a complete word. But after reading this article, you should be fine with recognizing English interjections. We gave you enough examples of exclamation words and interjections to memorize and use in different situations. So grab it and run to practice English!

FAQ

What is the difference between exclamation words and interjection words?

Many English learners assume that exclamations and interjections are interchangeable and don't see the difference between them. To be fair, the difference is minor for non-linguists, so no wonder this topic might be confusing for average language learners. The thing is that all interjections are exclamations, but not all exclamations are interjections. Any word or phrase with an exclamation mark at the end is an exclamation. However, some interjections can end with a question mark or a period. So, the bottom line is that exclamations and interjections do differ:

  1. Interjections are a part of speech in English grammar when exclamations are clauses or phrases.
  2. Interjections don't have a grammatical function when exclamations can come as sentences with an exclamation mark at the end.
  3. Interjections should not be tapped into official writing when exclamations aren't necessarily excluded from it.

The common feature is that they both are used to express strong emotions. 

Why do interjections differ in every language?

As a language learner, you've probably noticed that interjections and exclamation phrases vary in different languages. It might seem like a bizarre thing since interjections are not actual words. They are just compilations of sounds that help us to express emotions. And emotions don't differ depending on the language. They are universal. At first glance, it might seem that interjections have nothing to do with language. But that is just a misconception. Interjections are linguistically encoded even though they lack linguistic meaning. Every language has different sounds. And that is the main reason why interjections vary in different languages.  

Do the interjections vary in different variants of English?

In most cases, the interjections remain similar in different variants of English. Nonetheless, they vary between national varieties. Some are more frequently used in American English, others – in British English. For instance, according to Cambridge University Press, "aha" are used four times more often in British conversations than in American. 


 

Can English interjections be replaced with emojis?

Not using emojis in text messages clearly indicates your age or not belonging to the modern world. People tap into emojis to express their emotions which are hard to read through the cold screen of your gadget. Simple "okay" can be misinterpreted if you leave it plain with no emojis at the end. That is why Gen Z can't stop using those yellow faces when texting. Emojis replace different interjections that a person would use in real-life communication. For instance, instead of the "hmm" interjection, you can put a Thinking Face emoji 🤔. 


 

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