What is an Interjection?

Brad Smith


I'm the creator of this site (Grammar Gang). I'm also the founder of Codeless, a long-form content creation company that's been featured in The New York Times, Business Insider, The Next Web, and hundreds more.

We produce around ~100 long, in-depth articles each month. So we're relying on these tools on a daily basis. Here, I break down the good, bad, and uuuuuuggggllllyyyy.
Brad Smith

An interjection is any word that is used to express the emotions of the speaker or writer. These are generally one or two words that show anger, happiness, shock, wonder, sorrow, love, and any other emotions a human can go through.

A few notable examples could be ‘wow’, ‘argh’, ‘geez’, ‘oh’, ‘yay’, ‘whoa’, ‘hurray’, etc.

Surprisingly, these words don’t affect the sentence in any way. They don’t modify, join, or replace other parts of speech.

Even their presence or absence in a sentence don’t change anything in terms of meaning. That’s why interjections are not given as much grammatical importance as the other parts of speech.

For example, a sentence like “That’s a great news” is as correct as writing “Wow! That’s great news”. The only difference between the two sentences is the latter one is expressing the emotions of the speaker more vividly than the former one. That’s it.

Meaning-wise, both sentences are similar.

Interjection Examples

I’ve already mentioned a few commonly used interjections at the beginning of this post, let’s see how they look in a full-fledged sentence:

Geez! That looks gross”.

Whoa, you surprised me”.

Oh, I forgot to buy lunch for my wife”.

“Can you believe that, huh?

Alas! His mother passed away”.

Aww, that’s cute”.

All the bold and italicized words in the above sentences are interjections. And as you can see, they usually come either at the beginning of a sentence or at the very end.

And even if you strip the sentences off of their respective interjections, their meanings will still be intact.

Apart from the words mentioned above, a few other words that can be counted as interjections are awesome, terrific, fabulous, congratulations, holy cow, damn, phew, yikes, ugh, oops, yuck, etc.

How to use and punctuate interjections correctly

See, since interjections don’t impact the sentence in any way – whether grammatically or meaning wise – there’s no right or wrong way to use interjections.

You’re free to use it the way you want (as long as it looks rational and fits the sentence).

You can either use it at the beginning of the sentence as it usually happens or put at the end of a sentence. Like this:

Oops, I’m sorry”.

Holy cow! That fish is so big”.

“A $1000 shirt! Are you serious?

“Do you think she cares about the rules, huh?

Phew, we finally reached the station.

Though it may sound a little peculiar, interjections can also be placed at the middle of a sentence. But be careful while doing that. For example, consider the following sentence:

“His shooting skills, my gosh! is just exceptional”.

The word ‘my gosh’ fits in the sentence like a glove so unless the interjection word you’re using sounds good while reading, avoid using interjections in the middle of a sentence.

Now, you know where to use interjections in your sentences. And that was quite easy, right?

However, that was only half the work; the other part is to know how to punctuate interjections.

An interjection is always followed by either a comma, exclamation mark, or question mark.

A comma is used when the emotion is mild. For example:

“Oh, I didn’t know that”.

“Yuck, that tastes bad”.

An exclamation mark is placed after an interjection when the emotions are intense.

“Whoa! That was the best hip-hop performance I’ve ever seen”.

“Holy cow! How did he do that?

Some words like ‘really’, ‘huh’, and ‘serious’ can be punctuated with a question mark. For example:

“Oh really? That’s what he said”.

“They’re filing for a divorce. Are you serious?

Common errors while using interjections

Since there are no specific rules regarding interjections, the only mistake I’ve seen people often make is to tag every word as an interjection that ends with an exclamation mark.

For example, take this sentence “Wait! What are you doing? Or this one, “Lisa! You’re disgusting”.

Many people can misinterpret “wait”, and “Lisa” are interjections, but on the contrary, they’re just a ‘verb’ and ‘noun’ respectively.

Why?

Because ‘Lisa’ is a name and ‘wait’ is an action, but they don’t express emotions, and if they don’t signify emotions, they’re not interjections.

However, some adjectives like ‘great’, ‘terrific’, ‘awesome’, and ‘fabulous’ could be used as an interjection when they’re showing excitement. For instance:

Awesome! Let’s go ahead with this idea”.

Great! Where did you find it?

And with that, we have come to an end of today’s interjection class.

In this article, we learned what interjection is, how to punctuate them correctly, and how to identify an interjection.

Yes, this post was way shorter than most of the parts of speech post I’ve written, but that’s all you needed to know about interjections.