Caleb S.
Caleb S.

What’s an Interjection? Definition, Types, and Usage With Examples

10 min read

Published on: Jun 11, 2024

Last updated on: Jun 20, 2024

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Ever banged your elbow on a door and let out an involuntary "ouch!" or been pleasantly surprised with a spontaneous "wow!"? 

Those are interjections! They're the words or phrases that express strong emotions such as surprise, anger, and realization. They are often spontaneous and can stand alone as utterances without needing to be attached to other parts of speech

Here is an interjection definition and some examples for more clarity:

“An interjection is a word or phrase that is grammatically independent of the words around it and mainly expresses feeling rather than meaning.”

Examples:

  • Wow! That bird is huge.
  • Uh-oh. I forgot to get gas.
  • We’re not lost. We just need to go, um, this way.
  • Psst, what’s the answer to number four?

Keep reading to further explore interjections and their types:

Types of Interjections

Interjections come in various forms, each serving a specific purpose in expressing emotions, reactions, or states of mind. Let's explore the common type of interjections:

Primary Interjections

Primary interjections are the purest form of interjections, representing raw emotions or reactions without any added context. They often stand alone and are universally understood across languages. Here are some primary interjection words:

  • Wow, that sunset is breathtaking!
  • Ouch! I just stubbed my toe on the chair.
  • Yay, we won the game!

Secondary Interjections

Secondary interjections are derived from other words but have evolved to become standalone expressions of emotions or reactions. They may have originated as words with specific meanings but are now primarily used as interjections. Examples include:

  • Gee, I didn't expect you to be here!
  • Gosh, I can't believe it's already midnight!
  • Phew! That was a close call.

Cognition Interjections

Cognition interjections express sudden realizations, thoughts, or ideas. They often convey a sense of understanding or enlightenment, such as:

  • Ah, I finally understand how it works!
  • Oh, I forgot to turn off the stove!
  • Aha! I've found the missing piece.

Emotive Interjections

Emotive interjections express emotions or feelings, conveying the speaker's state of mind. They can range from joy to sadness, anger to surprise. Examples include:

  • Yikes! There's a spider crawling on the wall.
  • Aww, look at the cute puppy!
  • Boo, that movie was so boring!

Volitive Interjections

Volitive interjections express a desire, wish, or intention. They often convey a sense of urgency or determination. Here are some interjection sentence examples:

  • Hurry, we're going to be late for the bus!
  • Shh! Quiet down, the baby's sleeping.
  • Giddyup, let's get moving and finish this hike!

Using Interjections

Interjections can be used in various ways to convey emotions, reactions, or sentiments in communication. Interjections are commonly avoided in formal writing. 

Let's explore their usage:

Standalone Interjections

Standalone interjections are those that stand alone as utterances without being attached to other parts of speech. They are often used to express immediate emotions or reactions in a conversation. For example:

"Wow!"

"Ouch!"

"Yay!"

These interjections serve as spontaneous expressions of astonishment, pain, joy, or other emotions, adding color and emotion to communication.

Interjections in a Sentence

Interjections can also be integrated into sentences to convey emotions or reactions within a broader context. They can appear at the beginning, middle, or end of a sentence, depending on the desired emphasis. For example:

“I was lost in thought, and then, aha, I remembered where I left my keys.”

“He told me he was going to, uh, London or Paris, I think.”

“So that’s all that happened, eh?”

In these sentences, the interjections "Wow," "Ouch," and "Yay" enhance the emotions or reactions expressed in the respective contexts, contributing to the overall tone and meaning of the sentence.

Interjections and Punctuation

When using interjections in English, it's essential to consider punctuation to convey the appropriate tone and expression. Standalone interjections may not always need punctuation. 

However, interjections used within sentences need to be punctuated. These can include exclamation marks or commas. They serve to indicate the intensity or placement of the interjection.

For example:

"Wow, I can't believe it!"

"Ouch! That hurt!"

"Yay, we did it!"

The exclamation points in these examples emphasize the emotions or reactions conveyed by the interjections, adding clarity and emphasis to the communication.

Examples of Interjection

Interjections are versatile linguistic tools that add emotion, emphasis, and spontaneity to communication. Here is a list of interjections for different emotions:

Joy or Happiness

  • "Yay! We won the game!"
  • "Wow, that's amazing!"
  • "Hooray! It's my birthday!"

Surprise or Shock

  • "Oh my goodness! I can't believe it!"
  • "Whoa! That was unexpected!"
  • "Oh no! I forgot about the meeting!"

Pain or Discomfort

  • "Ouch! That hurts!"
  • "Ow! I stubbed my toe!"
  • "Yikes! Be careful, it's hot!"

Greeting or Farewell

  • "Hi there! How are you doing?"
  • "Hey! Good to see you again!"
  • "Goodbye! Take care!"

Agreement or Disagreement

  • "Yes! That's exactly what I think!"
  • "No way! I don't agree with that."
  • "Absolutely! I couldn't agree more."

Approval or Disapproval

  • "Bravo! That was a fantastic performance!"
  • "Boo! That movie was terrible!"
  • "Well done! You nailed it!"

In conclusion, you now have a solid understanding of interjections and their role in language. From primary to volitive interjections, you've explored their types, usage in sentences, and punctuation. 

But if you're ever unsure about your grammar skills, don't fret. Utilize our grammar checker tool for assistance. And if you find yourself stuck with writing essays or any other content, our AI essay writer free no sign up for students is here to lend a helping hand. 

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Caleb S.

WRITTEN BY

Caleb S. (Mass Literature and Linguistics, Masters)

Caleb S. is an accomplished author with over five years of experience and a Master's degree from Oxford University. He excels in various writing forms, including articles, press releases, blog posts, and whitepapers. As a valued author at MyEssayWriter.ai, Caleb assists students and professionals by providing practical tips on research, citation, sentence structure, and style enhancement.

Caleb S. is an accomplished author with over five years of experience and a Master's degree from Oxford University. He excels in various writing forms, including articles, press releases, blog posts, and whitepapers. As a valued author at MyEssayWriter.ai, Caleb assists students and professionals by providing practical tips on research, citation, sentence structure, and style enhancement.

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