In grammar, an interjection or exclamation is a word used to express an emotion or sentiment on the part of the speaker (although most interjections have clear definitions). Filled pauses such as uh, er, um are also considered interjections. Interjections are typically placed at the beginning of a sentence.
An interjection is sometimes expressed as a single word or non-sentence phrase, followed by a punctuation mark. The isolated usage of an interjection does not represent a complete sentence in conventional English writing. Thus, in formal writing, the interjection will be incorporated into a larger sentence clause. It also can be a reply to a question or statement.
Examples in English
Conventions like Hi, Bye and Goodbye are interjections, as are exclamations like Cheers! and Hooray!. In fact, like a noun or a pronoun, they are very often characterized by exclamation marks depending on the stress of the attitude or the force of the emotion they are expressing. Well (a short form of "that is well") can also be used as an interjection: "Well! That's great!" or "Well, don't worry." Much profanity takes the form of interjections. Some linguists consider the pro-sentences yes, no, amen and okay as interjections, since they have no syntactical connection with other words and rather work as sentences themselves. Expressions "Excuse me!", "Sorry!", and similar ones often serve as interjections. Interjections can be phrases or even sentences, as well as words, such as "Oh!" or "Wow!".
Several English interjections contain sounds that do not, or very rarely, exist in regular English phonological inventory. For example:
- Ahem [əʔəm], [ʔəʔəm], [əɦəm], or [ʔəhəm], ("attention!") may contain a glottal stop [ʔ] or a [ɦ] in any dialect of English; the glottal stop is common in American English, some British dialects, and in other languages, such as German.
- Shh [ʃːː] ("quiet!") is an entirely consonantal syllable.
- Ps [psː] ("here!"), also spelled psst, is another entirely consonantal syllable-word, and its consonant cluster does not occur initially in regular English words.
- Tut-tut [ǀ ǀ] ("shame..."), also spelled tsk-tsk, is made up entirely of clicks, which are an active part of regular speech in several African languages. This particular click is dental. (This also has the spelling pronunciation [tʌt tʌt].)
- Ugh [ʌx] ("disgusting!") ends with a velar fricative consonant, which otherwise does not exist in English, though is common in languages like Spanish, German, and Gaelic .
- Whew or phew [ɸɪu] ("what a relief!"), also spelled shew, may start with a bilabial fricative, a sound pronounced with a strong puff of air through the lips. This sound is a common phoneme in such languages as Suki (a language of New Guinea) and Ewe and Logba (both spoken in Ghana).
- Gah ("Gah, there's nothing to do!") ends with [h], which does not occur with regular English words.
- Yeah [jæ] ("yes") ends, in some dialects, with the short vowel [æ], which is not found at the end of any regular English words.
- Ejaculation (grammar)
- Discourse marker
- Filler (linguistics)
- Words without vowels
- List of interjections by language at Wiktionary.
- Re, bre, moré (with many variants)
- Ekh (expression)
- Parts of speech
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