What is an Interjection?

    “an interjection is not a part of speech, since it has no grammatical connection with any word or words in a sentence.”

    J.C. Nesfield.

Interjection, according to the erudite grammarian, J.C. NesfieldOpens in new window—quoted above, is merely an exclamatory sound, thrown into a sentence to denote some strong feeling or emotion.

Accordingly, interjection is said to be a word added to a sentence to convey emotion. It is not grammatically related to any other part of the sentence.

In the following sentences, the words marked in bold are interjections:

  • Ouch, that hurt!
  • Oh no, I forgot that the appointment was today.
  • Hey! Put that down!
  • I heard one guy say to another guy, “He has a new car, eh?
  • I don’t know about you but, good lord, I think taxes are too high!

The word interjection is derived from inter, (between), and jectus, (thrown); and is a brief exclamation to express some passion or sudden emotion of the writer or speaker.

Being the last part of speech after conjunctionOpens in new window, interjection is also important like other parts of speechOpens in new window in English grammar.

Although only used in informal context, interjection helps speakers of English grammar to express feelings of excitement, shock, disappointment or any outburst of emotional expression.

The following is true of exclamations:
  • in writing, it is usually followed by a mark of exclamation, to signify such words as exclamation; as, Hush! Oh!
  • verbs, adjective, and other parts of speech become interjections, when uttered as exclamations.
  • the interjections govern no case, with the exception of O! and Ah! which sometimes govern the nominative and sometimes the objective.
  • the interjection O should always be written with a capital; as, O me!

The following is a list of the principal interjections; with the type of mood specified to the right:

ExclamationsMood Signified
Ha! Hey!Signifying joy
O! oh! ah! alas!Signifying grief
Fudge! pshaw! tut!Signifying contempt
Heigh! really! strange!Signifying wonder
Welcome! hail! all hail!Signifying salutation
Lo! behold! look!Signifying the calling of attention
Hush! hist! mum!Signifying the call to be silent
Foh! fie! away!Signifying aversion
Ha! ha! ha!Signifying laughter
Oho! huzza! hurrah!Signifying exultation
Important Hints! 
  • We sometimes find the interjections O and oh improperly used in writing. When we address a person, place, or thing, the interjection O ought to be used; but, if a painful emotion of the mind be expressed, without any noun following, the interjection oh should be employed; as, “O my country!” “OH! how I pity thee!
  • The interjections “O” and “oh” require the objective of a pronoun when in the first person; as, “OH me! ” “O unhappy us! ” If the pronoun be of the second person, the above interjections requires the nominative; as, “O thou persecutor!
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