Psst! Hey! Over here!
Now that I have your attention, let me introduce today’s grammar topic. We’re going to look at one of the three parts of speech most people can’t remember when asked to recite all eight off the top of their head — which are prepositions, conjunctions and interjections. Today we’re talking about interjections.
As you might have already guessed, an interjection is a word, phrase or clause added to a sentence to communicate emotion (interjections are in bold).
- Ouch! Igor yelled when he touched the live wire.
Interjections don’t usually interact with the other parts of speech, preferring to stand alone — or interrupt, as their name suggests. This independence allows us to use more or less any part of speech as an interjection, as evidenced in the title of this post and the following examples:
- Hideous! (adjective)
- Fiend! (noun)
- Help! (verb)
While interjections often appear as exclamations followed by an exclamation mark, it is not always the case. An interjection does not always require an exclamation mark and it can appear at the beginning of a sentence or as an aside mid-sentence, as in the following examples:
- Oh no, Doctor, I think we put in the wrong brain!
- Doctor Frankenstein, ahem, I think it’s alive.
An interjection is something that occurs naturally when we speak. They often reflect the colloquialisms of modern language.
- OMG! I can’t believe it worked!
It’s common to use interjections in many forms of writing, especially dialogue and poetry, but you should exercise caution when dealing with more formal writing. For example, if you are writing an essay on how to genetically engineer a monster from “salvaged” body parts, you probably shouldn’t say:
- When setting up your secret laboratory, for the love of God, do not disclose the location to anyone that is not on your research team.
It would be better to leave the interjection out when the writing style requires more formality.
Finally, while almost any word can serve as an interjection, there are some words that only ever serve as interjections, such as ouch, phew, ugh, and oops.
- Oops, the monster has escaped!