An interjection is one of the eight major parts of speech, along with verbs, nouns, pronouns, adjectives, adverbs, prepositions and conjunctions. Some grammarians believe that interjections are the least important part of speech. This is because interjections are not generally required in order for the meaning of a sentence to become clear.
An interjection is a word solely designed to convey emotion. It expresses meaning or feeling. It does not:
Instead, it simply conveys to the reader the way the author is feeling. Interjections are rarely used in academic or formal writing, but are common in fiction or artistic writing. They are usually, but not always, offset by an exclamation point (which is also used to show emotion).
When people think of interjections, they commonly think of them being used at the beginning of the sentence. Many also associate interjections with a punctuation mark designed to convey emotion: the exclamation point.
This is often true. Interjections can and do appear in the beginning of sentences. For example:
In both of these sentences the interjection - “yikes” and “oh no” appear at the beginning of the sentence. In addition, in both of the sentences, the emotion is a strong emotion and the sentence itself ends with an exclamation point.
Interjections do not always have to be at the beginning of a sentence. They can appear in the middle, at the end, or anyplace else where the author wants to interject a bit of feeling and emotion.
For example, in the sentence “So, it’s snowing again, huh?” the interjection is found at the end. Here, the interjection is designed to express confusion (or perhaps dismay) at the continued snow falling. In this sentence, the emotion wasn’t an emotion that necessitated an exclamation point--instead, the interjection ‘huh’ turned the sentence into a question.
The sentence “In my opinion, my gosh, this is just the smartest thing you have ever said” the interjection is found in the middle. It designed to express or convey the author’s emphasis on his opinion that the statement was smart. Again, no exclamation point is required.
An interjection can also be used by itself as a stand-alone sentence. For example, look at the two sentences: “Oh gosh! I can’t believe how late it is.” The interjection “oh gosh” is a stand-alone sentence. This is grammatically correct, although “Oh Gosh” does not contain a subject and action that is normally required for a complete thought to be expressed. The interjection--or the emotion felt--is the entire point of the sentence.
There are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of interjections in the English language. Most are designed to express strong emotions, such as love, hate, surprise, happiness, anger, enthusiasm, disgust, boredom, confusion or unhappiness. However, this is not always true. Some interjections can express either a mild emotion, or can be expressions, such as “Excuse me.”
A sample list of interjections includes words such as:
This is by no means an exhaustive list, but is representative of the types of interjections you may use on a daily basis. For more examples see Examples of Interjections.
Now that you’ve looked at a list of interjections, practice identifying them in these ten sentences:
Interjections are not commonly used in formal or academic writing. Because of the function that interjections serve, there is virtually no place for them in an academic paper that is designed to convey facts. By definition, facts should be devoid of emotion or opinion such as the emotions conveyed by interjections.
Interjections are used most often in speech. While people don’t necessarily pause to think about it, they use interjections all the time. This is even more true when you consider the fact that common words used in pauses, such as “uh,” and “um” are interjections.
Interjections can find their way into fictional pieces, most often in the form of dialogue. They can also be used in informal written communication between two people, such as letters or emails.