Common Interjections & Exclamations 12

Common Interjections & Exclamations in English

What’s the difference between an exclamation and an interjection?

There are 9 basic parts of speech:Exclamation

  1. Noun
  2. Article
  3. Adjective
  4. Verb
  5. Adverb
  6. Preposition
  7. Pronoun
  8. Conjunction
  9. Interjection

An interjection are all those words that you can just say by themselves and add an exclamation point to. “Wow!” “OY!” “D’oh!” Those are all interjections.

An exclamation includes that, but can be a complete sentence as well. “Get to work!”

So an interjection is a form of an exclamation in a single word. But not all exclamations are interjections.

“Hi!” That’s an interjection.

“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.

Here are 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 helped.”
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 (or reply) “Let’s go, eh?” (Pretty cold out, 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?”

ah / ahh
used in order to show your surprise, anger, pain, happiness, agreement etc.
Ah! There you are!

used to show that you are angry, disappointed, annoyed etc.:
Aargh, this thing is so heavy!

a word you say when you do a magic trick, which is supposed to make it successful.


used in order to show that you understand or realize something:
Aha! I knew you were trying to trick me!

a sound you make in your throat to attract someone’s attention when you want to speak to them, warn them etc.

used by sailors to get someone’s attention or greet them.

used to say hello or goodbye in Hawaii.

aw shucks
humorous interjection;
used in a joking way to show that you feel shy or embarrassed.

1- used to say that something happens quickly:

Just turn it on, and bam, you’re ready to go.

2- used to say that something has hit something else.
3- used to make a sound like a gun.

used to make a sound like a gun or explosion:

Then suddenly, bang! The engine just exploded.

said when you have just done something successfully or to tell someone that they have given the right answer.

Bingo! That’s the one I’ve been looking for.

bon appetit
said to someone before they start eating a meal, to tell them you hope they enjoy their food.


  1. A word you shout suddenly to someone as a joke, in order to frighten them.
  2. Said loudly to show that you do not like a person, performance, idea etc.
  3. Not say boo : spoken to not say anything at all in a situation when most people are talking.

He got to the party at eight, but didn’t say boo all evening.

boo hoo
used especially in children’s stories or as a joke to show that someone is crying.


1.also oh boy : used when you are excited or pleased about something.

Boy, that chicken was good!

2. oh boy : used when you are slightly annoyed or disappointed about something:

Oh boy! My computer crashed again.


said to show your approval when someone, especially a performer, has done something very well.

used to express annoyance or surprise.
Oh, brother – why is this happening now?

said when you are cold.

also bye-bye spoken goodbye.

used when you lift a glass of alcohol before drinking it, to say that you hope the people you are drinking with will be happy and have good health.

an expression used when you want someone to hurry.

used to say goodbye.

used to show that you are very angry or annoyed.

Oh dear : said when you are surprised, annoyed, or upset:
Oh dear, I can’t find it.

used to say that you have exactly the same opinion as someone else about something, or that something is also true for you:
“I find his classes really boring.” “Ditto.”

humorous , said when you have just realized that you did something stupid.

said in order to accept a deal that someone offers you :
“How about I give you $25 for it?” “Done!”

also no duh
used to say that what someone else has just said or asked is stupid or unnecessary because it is very easy to understand:
“You mean I can’t park there?” “Duh, that’s what the big sign says.”

an expression of sudden fear and surprise :
Eek! A mouse!

a sound you make when you pause to correct something you have just said, or when you do not know exactly what to say:
We’ll never forgive – er, forget – her accomplishments.

often humorous, used to show how happy you are that you have discovered the answer to a problem, found something etc.


used to express sudden pain.

▪ Ow! That hurt!

oi (also oy) (BrE, informal)

used to attract somebody’s attention, especially in an angry way:
▪ Oi, you! What do you think you’re doing?

Look out (or Watch out)

used to warn somebody to be careful, especially when there is danger.

▪ Look out! There’s a car coming.


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12 thoughts on “Common Interjections & Exclamations

  1. John Mar 18,2010 11:54 pm

    Thanks a million!

    It was really useful.
    Hope to see more from U about interjections!

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  3. emely ganzan Mar 19,2011 5:44 pm

    it 😳 😮 :mrgreen: 😆 😀 💡 👿 😥 8) ➡ 😕 ❓ ❗ 😉 😐 😡 😈 🙂 😯 🙁 🙄 😛 😳

  4. emely ganzan Mar 19,2011 5:45 pm

    ahm..are very easy to defined…that it………

  5. jdeepika Aug 8,2011 11:59 am

    nice bec it been good grammar

  6. Arash Khoshghadamnia Nov 3,2012 8:52 pm

    Hi, I am Khoshghadamnia MA in Linguistics from Tehran University (Applied, Syntax, Semantics, NLP, Statistical and Contrastive). Thanks for your list of interjections. nice work, but some of the items in the list are not interjections: Ciao ( is a foreign work meaning Goodbye used in farewell ) it is not an interjection. interjection is not considered a syntactic category per se and it doesn’t have its own constituency within syntactic tree, but it is often classified as AP. ” look out” and watch out are considered expressive sentences and fall within S category with their own syntactic tree and within X-bar analysis of syntactic tree.

  7. Arash Khoshghadamnia Nov 3,2012 9:16 pm

    interjections are not visually-phonologically identifiable as words if seen for the first time except for their cultural and contextual associations within a certain lingual culture. for instance “boohoo” is not considered a standard English word like other words we visually-phonologically identify as words, for instance, “W..O..R..D” which is an assemblage of irreducible atomic sound elements (as it is referred to in Linguistics ) . Interjections, thus, are not readily identifiable if someone has never heard or seen them before. our knowledge of interjections is semantically , not lexical-visually, culture-bound, so for example “bon appetit” which is a form of expression in French doesn’t belong to interjections. if seen for the first time, “boo” is not recognizable standard English word within the semantic analysis of irreducible atomic concepts that are digitally switched on and off to embody a certain conceptual or concrete nominal function within the realm of Semantics. They are understood because of meta-knowledge, so to speak and because they are exchanged within a purely cultural environ. A word like “table” is visually-phonologically recognizable readily although not understandable if not knowing its meaning but it is outright identifiable as belonging to NP constituent ( (D) (AP+) N (AP+) (PP+) ) because of its hierarchy within the constituency, but if an interjection in a foreign language, no matter what it might be ( Nahuatle, Hixkaryana, etc) is put forth, a linguist will have a hard time figuring out the syntactic category since they precede all the other constituents within the X-bar syntactic analysis unless it is heard exchanged within the same lingual culture within which it is expressed to get a certain message across

  8. Arash Khoshghadamnia Nov 3,2012 9:48 pm

    if you google around the web, of course, you will find a complete list of interjections

    it is true that included within the list are some sentences that are categorized as interjections and with which I have no issue since they are within expression department of messages ad hoc put across, but, to a linguist, they embody their syntactic constituents in constituency tree, thus, having said it all, I suggest you include a sort of clarification for each that is both considered a sentence on its own and an ad hoc interjection. It will be more informative lingually and less confusing in language acquisition literature. Thanks for your contribution to the acquisition ( not learning ) of English interjections.


  9. Arash Khoshghadamnia Nov 3,2012 10:07 pm

    And as a revision of the parts of speech you have mentioned. Syntactic categories in Linguistics ( a.k.a parts of speech (pos)) are exclusively:

    Noun (NP constituent )
    Determiner (DP constituent )
    Adjectives and adverbs (AP constituent )
    Verbs ( VP constituent)
    Propositions (PP)

    Syntax: a generative introduction/ Andrew Carnie/ P28
    ISBN 0-631-22543-9

    Articles are a subsidiary of determiner (DP) constituency ( D’ (D) N’ (NP (N))). Pronouns are considered NP ( N’ (NP (N))). interjections are not actual parts of speech, nor are conjunctions. the latter falls in constituency tree in this fashion:

    PSRs for conjunctions :

    XP –> XP conj XP
    X –> X conj X

    actual phrases:

    NP –> NP conj NP
    VP –> V conj V

    Syntax: a generative introduction/ Andrew Carnie/ P54

    This book is a fundamental Linguistics reference book in Linguistics departments around the world.

  10. saeed Nov 21,2012 12:11 am

    thank you,
    good job,
    do you have any stuff like that in farsi?

  11. Ellenfield Jan 9,2014 8:01 pm

    thank u so much ,so nice of you .i have been teaching english for 3 years. and i was unable to clear the difference between interjunction and exclamatory sentences.but your lecture really help me out.and you have written it in a very easy way that every one cant easly get the idea. so, keeping working ,your work bless us alot.thanks again sir.

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