Top 10 Interjections in English

The Most Common Interjections in English

An interjection is a word or phrase that expresses a strong emotion like anger, joy, or surprise. Interjections are often used spontaneously in conversation. They are less common in writing, especially formal writing. There are approximately 40 common interjections in English, but that is too many for a learner. So, to help you prioritize teaching or learning interjections, here are the 10 most common ones:
  • (1) Wow.

    "Wow" expresses surprise, amazement, or admiration.

  • (2) Oh.

    "Oh" expresses a range of emotions, including surprise, disappointment, realization, and sympathy.

  • (3) Ah.

    "Ah" expresses realization or acceptance, and sometimes relief.

  • (4) Oops.

    "Oops" is used to recognize a small mistake or accident.

  • (5) Hey.

    "Hey" is used to attract attention or to greet someone casually.

  • (6) Ouch.

    "Ouch" expresses pain.

  • (7) Huh.

    "Huh" shows confusion or a request for clarification.

  • (8) Hooray.

    "Hooray" (often shortened to "Yay") expresses joy or celebration.

  • (9) Eh.

    "Eh" is used to ask for a repetition or to question the validity of a statement.

  • (10) Aha.

    "Aha" shows understanding, realization, or discovery.

Table of Contents

  • Example Sentences
  • Find the Best Interjection
  • Choosing the Punctuation after an Interjection
  • Punctuation with Mid-sentence Interjections
  • "No" and "Yes" as Interjections
  • Why Interjections Are Important
  • Key Points
  • Test Time!
the top 10 interjections in English

Example Sentences

Here are three example sentences for each of the 10 interjections. Notice that the punctuation that follows the interjection can be a comma, an exclamation mark, a question mark, or a period (full stop). (There is more about this point later in the lesson.)

Example Sentences for "Wow"

  • Wow! The view is breathtaking!
  • Wow! I'm on the team!
  • Wow. This lasagna is beautiful.

Example Sentences for "Oh"

  • Oh, it's nearly midday already.
  • Oh, I didn't expect that result.
  • Oh. I understand you now.

Example Sentences for "Ah"

  • Ah! That makes sense now!
  • Ah, this is the life.
  • Ah. My car keys are at work.

Example Sentences for "Oops"

  • Oops, I forgot to turn off the oven.
  • Oops! I didn't mean to send that email!
  • Oops. I forgot to buy milk.

Example Sentences for "Hey"

  • Hey, could you help please?
  • Hey! Get off the grass!
  • Hey. That's a fair result.

Example Sentences for "Ouch"

  • Ouch, I keep banging my shins on your plant pot.
  • Ouch! This pie is red hot!
  • Ouch. That will be hard decision to swallow.

Example Sentences for "Huh"

  • Huh, could you repeat that please?
  • Huh, I'm sure I left my phone on the table.
  • Huh. Are those fish actually flying?

Example Sentences for "Hooray"

  • Hooray, we've finished the project!
  • Hooray, the rain has stopped.
  • Hooray, they're getting married!

Example Sentences for "Eh"

  • Eh, explain that again.
  • Eh. I doubt that's accurate.
  • Eh? Is that what you really think?

Example Sentences for "Aha"

  • Aha! So that's how it works!
  • Aha! The whole process depends on the temperature!
  • Aha, I knew I'd find you here.

Find the Best Interjection

It's your go! Find the best interjection to fit in the sentence.

Choosing the Punctuation after an Interjection

There are possible four punctuation marks after an interjection that starts a sentence:

Comma.

A comma makes the interjection mild.

  • Oh, I didn't expect that.

Exclamation Mark.

An exclamation mark makes the interjection powerful. Usually, the words that follow also end with an exclamation mark.

  • Wow! That is outstanding!

Question Mark.

A question mark makes the interjection a question.

  • Eh? Can you say that again please?

Period (Full Stop).

A period makes the interjection medium strength and provides a deliberate pause. This is the least common way to mark an interjection.

  • Oops. I have dripped some paint on the carpet.

Punctuation with Mid-sentence Interjections

When an interjection is mid-sentence (or at the end of a sentence), offset it with two commas.
  • I think, well, it's good enough.
  • (A mid-sentence interjection is rare.)

"No" and "Yes" as Interjections

"No" and "yes" are common interjections, and both can be used for a wide range of emotions. If the list above were based solely on frequency of use, then "no" and "yes" would occupy the first and second positions respectively. However, as "no" and "yes" are universal words, they have been left off the list to make room for two other useful interjections. Nevertheless, here are example sentences with "no" and "yes" as interjections.

Example Sentences with "No"

  • No, I cannot attend.
  • (Note that "no" is followed by a comma in this example. The comma marks it as a mild interjection. Here, "no" gently expresses disagreement.)
  • No! That's not what I meant to say. Let me explain.
  • (This time, "no" is followed by an exclamation mark, making it a strong interjection. Here, "no" expresses strong disagreement.)
  • No! I can't believe we've missed our flight.
  • (Here, "no" strongly expresses disbelief.)
  • No? Did he really quit his job?
  • (Here, "no" expresses disbelief mildly.)

Example Sentences with "Yes"

  • Yes, it is true.
  • (The comma marks "yes" as a mild interjection. Here, it expresses affirmation or agreement.)
  • Yes! I've been selected for the team!
  • (Followed by an exclamation mark, "yes" is now a strong interjection. In this example, it expresses joy.)
Knowing the main interjections is important for learners for three reasons:

(Reason 1) Interjections help with expressing emotions and reactions quickly.

Interjections are a natural way to help with expressing emotions like surprise, happiness, disappointment, or pain, which are key elements of communicating.

(Reason 2) Interjections improve conversational skills.

Knowing the main interjections will help with fluency. They allow learners to participate in more natural, engaging, and dynamic conversations.

(Reason 3) Interjections improve listening skills.

Interjections are common in everyday speech. Being familiar with the main ones will improve listening skills and comprehension, especially in informal settings, or when watching films or listening to music.
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This page was written by Craig Shrives.