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What is an Interjection?

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  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 05 April 2014
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From thorough description to elaborate speech and diction, combinations of words and their placement in sentences can express a variety of emotions in any number of situations. One of the simplest but most effective techniques is the use of the interjection, which is a part of a sentence that is independent from the rest of the sentence grammatically.

An interjection is most often a short word or phrase placed in a sentence specifically to show emotion. For example, "Ouch!" expresses surprise and pain. "Hey!" is another term that can express a few different emotions, from surprise to disappointment, or even excitement. The word "uh" can express confusion or discomfort, or even imply stupidity.

This term is rooted in Latin, and closely translates to "thrown into the middle." Therefore, a reader will very often find an interjection in the middle of a sentence. It does not necessarily have to be just one word. Here are some examples:

I crossed the parking lot and — wouldn't you know it! — I forgot my keys inside the building.

The phrase "wouldn't you know it!" does not grammatically relate to the other parts of the sentence, but placed in the middle of that sentence, it expresses a sense of irony or even humor.

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Because the definition of interjection does not specifically cite any specific emotion, many linguists believe one word sentences such as "hello" or "yes" can be considered an element of this part of speech as well:

Hello. My name is Doctor Richards.

Yes. I did bring my prescription.

Yes! We won!

This latter example might be considered two interjections: the first, "Yes!" expresses a positive excitement, while "We won!" expresses excitement, positivity, and a specific reason for the excitement. These words are often followed by some sort of punctuation, such as a period to end the sentence or, in many cases, a comma to continue the sentence. Because the term is separated from the rest of the sentence, there must be some sort of punctuation to indicate a pause or stop. Words that act as interjections in some scenarios therefore may not fulfill the same role in other cases.

A simple hello would have sufficed.

While the word "hello" acted as an interjection in the earlier example, in this case, it is not separated from the rest of the sentence and therefore does not act as one.

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Discuss this Article

anon323710
Post 6

Interjections add flavour to my essays, so I love them more than the other parts of speech.

cloudel
Post 5

I tend to use a lot of interjections when texting and when posting on social media sites. With those types of communication, getting the emotion across is key, and the easiest way to do that is with interjections. They make my sentences look like an actual conversation.

orangey03
Post 4

I remember that my English professor told me not to use interjections in formal essays. He said that it cheapened the work.

I disagreed with him, but I had to oblige, since my grade was at stake. I was happy when I got to write an opinion piece a couple of months later, because I got the chance to use interjections. I was able to express my emotions and emphasize my points much more easily with them.

PinkLady4
Post 3

I love to read and write interjections. They are a good way to catch the reader's attention. Use of interjections are most common in more informal writing. Interjections are used often in conversation. So, imagine what you would say as you are talking to someone, and then write as you would talk.

SauteePan
Post 2

@Comfyshoes- I love the Schoolhouse Rock interjections song. It always made me remember that injections usually express emotion like sadness, happiness, or extreme enthusiasm. I think interjection examples like (Wow!) are probably the most widely used interjections.

But the emotion does not have to be as strong and can be punctuated with a period too.

comfyshoes
Post 1

I have to say that I love the Schoolhouse Rock injection examples. This program really makes it so easy to remember grammar rules with respect to injections because all of the rules are sung.

It is really entertaining to watch. My kids love the music and the animation. It really defines injections so well that every time my kids start to forget, I just pop in that DVD and they remember. I usually lend my School House Rock copy to the teachers and the class usually loves it.

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