Interjections in English Grammar

Interjections are fascinating elements of the English language that serve as expressive tools for conveying emotions, reactions, or sudden bursts of feelings.

They are unique because they don't fit neatly into the grammatical structure of sentences like other parts of speech such as nouns, verbs, or adverbs. Instead, they stand alone, often punctuated by exclamation marks, and express sentiments directly.

Common Interjections with Definitions

To give a clearer picture, let’s delve into examples of 30 interjections commonly used in English and their meanings:

  • Ah: Realisation or surprise.
  • Alas: Grief or pity.
  • Aha: Discovery or realization.
  • Bingo! Achieve success
  • Bravo: Praise or approval
  • Darn: Frustration or annoyance.
  • Eek: Fear or surprise.
  • Eh: Questioning or seeking confirmation.
  • Eww: Disgust.
  • Gee: Surprise or enthusiasm
  • Gosh: Mild surprise.
  • Ha: Laughter or discovery.
  • Hey: Attention.
  • Hmm: Thoughtfulness or hesitation.
  • Hooray: Celebration or joy.
  • Oops: Mistake or accident.
  • Ouch: Pain.
  • Phew: Relief.
  • Shh: Silence.
  • Uh-oh: Anticipated trouble.
  • Ugh: Disgust.
  • Umm: Hesitation.
  • Well: Beginning a statement.
  • Whoa: Surprise or astonishment.
  • Wow: Admiration or amazement.
  • Hooray: Happiness.
  • Yikes: Alarm or surprise.
  • Yippee: Excitement.
  • Yo: Greeting.
  • Zing: Sharp remark or humor.

Examples of Interjections in Sentences

  • Ah, I finally understand the problem.
  • Alas, we missed the deadline by just a few minutes.
  • Aha, I've figured out the solution!
  • Bingo! We finally found the solution.
  • Bravo! You've done an excellent job.
  • Darn, I forgot to bring my wallet.
  • Eek, there's a mouse in the kitchen!
  • Eh, do you really think that's a good idea?
  • Eww, this milk has gone bad.
  • Gee, I didn't expect to see you here!
  • Gosh, that was a close call.
  • Ha, I knew you were joking all along.
  • Hey, can you help me with this?
  • Hmm, I wonder what we should do next.
  • Hooray, we won the game!
  • Oops, I didn't mean to send that email.
  • Ouch, I just stubbed my toe.
  • Phew, I'm glad that's over.
  • Shh, the movie is about to start.
  • Uh-oh, I think we're lost.
  • Ugh, this traffic is unbearable.
  • Umm, can I ask you a question?
  • Well, I suppose we should get started.
  • Whoa, that's an amazing trick!
  • Wow, that fireworks display was incredible.
  • Yay, it's finally the weekend!
  • Yikes, that was a scary moment.
  • Yippee, we're going to the amusement park!
  • Yo, what's up?
  • Zing, that was a clever comeback.

It's worth noting that understanding the cultural context in which interjections are used is essential. Some interjections might have different connotations or frequency of use in various English-speaking regions.

For example, “cheers” is commonly used in British English as a form of thanks or goodbye, which might not be as prevalent in American English.

Types of Interjection

Interjections can be classified into different types based on their usage and the emotions they express. Understanding the types of interjections helps in utilising them accurately in various contexts. 


The first type of interjection is the primary interjection, which consists of standalone words that are used exclusively as interjections. Examples include:

  • wow
  • oops
  • ugh

These words serve no other grammatical purpose in the sentence apart from expressing a sudden emotion or reaction.


The second type is the secondary interjection, which involves words that belong to other parts of speech but can also function as interjections.

For instance, "well" can be used as an adverb in: 

  • "She sings well," 

But also as an interjection, it introduces a statement or a pause in thought, as in:

  • "Well, I never thought of that."

Types Based on Emotion

They can also be divided up in terms of the kind of emotion expressed.

Volitive Interjections

Volitive interjections express wishes or commands, such as:

  • "shh" for silence OR
  • "hey" to get attention.

They serve to direct actions or responses from the listener.

Emotive Interjections

Emotive interjections express emotions, feelings, or sentiments that are sudden and on the spot of the moment. This group includes:

  • "ugh" for disgust,
  • "wow" for amazement
  • "ouch" for pain

These interjections make conversations more colorful and expressive, granting the speaker a way to convey their inner emotional states vividly.

Cognitive Interjections

Cognitive interjections are used to convey thoughts, reflections, or realizations.

For example

  • "hmm" indicates pondering or hesitation
  • "aha" denotes realization or a sudden understanding

These interjections thus offer listeners insight into the speaker’s thought process.

Sentence Placement

It's also useful to note how interjections are commonly inserted into sentences. Typically, they are set off from the rest of the sentence by commas or exclamation points. For example

  • "Wow, that’s amazing!"
  • "Oops, I didn’t mean to do that."

The placement of interjections can vary, however. They may appear at the beginning, middle, or end of a sentence, depending on the desired emphasis and flow of conversation. For example:

  • I nearly handed my assignment in on time, but, alas, I was just too late.
  • I failed the assignment, but hey, who cares!

Summing Up

Learning to use interjections effectively is not just about memorizing words and their meanings. It also involves practicing their usage in real conversations. This helps in improving one’s fluency and making interactions more dynamic and relatable. For those engaged in learning English, incorporating interjections can enhance both written and spoken communication.

Interjections are a vital part of English grammar, enriching communication by adding emotional depth and immediate reactions. By studying examples, understanding the types of interjections, and practicing their use, you can greatly improve your mastery of English.

Embrace the world of interjections, and let your language skills shine with expressiveness and clarity!

Test yourself in this Interjections Quiz >>

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