Interjections belong to a part of speech that is often seen as minor and unimportant, but still a functional aspect of language. Grammatically, they do not relate to other units in a structure, i.e. they do not affect how a noun, verb, etc. are used; hence, they are not usually used in formal writing.
Interjections are used to show emotions or sentiments, which are not sometimes visible in expressions. They express surprise, anger, joy, disgust, emotional pause, etc. Unlike other parts of speech, interjections don’t modify or are modified by any other word in the sentence—they just sit back and show emotions.
An interjection can be a single word, a phrase, or even a short clause.
Popular interjections are: whew, oh, argh, ugh, uh-oh, hmm, ouch, damn, etc.
- Whew! That was close!
- Oh, I left the watch at home.
An exclamation mark is commonly used with an interjection to convey stronger emotion, but you can also use a comma, a question mark, or a full stop.
- Hooray! I got the job!
- Oh well, what’s the essence of talking to her after the fight?
- What? We’re fasting today?
- Hmm. I need to see him before I make any comments.
Adjectives as interjections
You can use adjectives as interjections.
- That was what I was talking about. Great!
- Splendid! We got the contract for the food supply.
Nouns as interjections
Nouns and noun phrases can be used.
- My goodness! You just bought a car for me?
- Heaven! I’m in love.
Phrasal verbs as interjections
You can use an action phrase (phrasal verb).
- Look out!
- Give way!
However, this doesn’t mean whichever word starts a sentence and has an exclamation mark is an interjection, e.g. Kenneth! Don’t be silly.
Kenneth is a noun and that’s what it remains in the above sentence. It’s not an emotional word, it’s just used to call the attention of the person whose name it is.
Now you know what interjections are!