Wow! No way! Unbelievable! Wouldn’t life be bland without interjections? Good thing we don’t live in a world like that. In this post, we’ll dig into what interjections are and how to use them in your writing. Hooray!
What Are Interjections?
Interjections are short words or phrases that convey bursts of emotion or fill gaps in conversation. As one of the nine parts of speech, they help provide context for tone and surrounding context. Because we use interjections when we speak, they are most often used in informal work. Authors often sprinkle them into dialogue to simulate realistic conversations.
Some functions of interjections are to convey hesitation, interrupt speech, mark greetings and responses, and describe onomatopoeias. We use them almost every time we speak – when you gasp, yell, or even say “Hi!,” you’re using an interjection. Here’s a list of some interjections you probably use every day:
Types of Interjections
There are three types of interjections used in different situations: emotive, volitive, and cognitive.
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Emotive interjections show a sudden burst of anger, delight, pain, or any other strong emotional response:
Yuck! Idon’t like broccoli!
Aww, your puppy is so cute.
Volitive interjections are used with commands or requests:
Shh! Be quiet in the library!
Hey! Get out of my room!
Cognitive interjections convey understanding or recognition:
Ah, you’re the one who ate my sandwich.
Huh. I didn’t know you were such a good swimmer.
The punctuation you use with an interjection depends on your perceived tone. If the word or phrase is expressed energetically, it’s almost always followed by an exclamation point:
Whoops! I dropped your phone.
For a more conversational tone, interjections can be separated with commas or em dashes:
Ugh, I wish I could go to bed right now.
Whoa – this soup is so good.
We can also follow the interjection with a question mark if the sentence is expressing confusion or curiosity:
What? I thought you were bringing the cake.
Grammar Rules for Using Interjections
When it comes to grammar, interjections are easy. They can be used on their own, but if they’re part of a sentence, they don’t modify the surrounding elements (and vice versa).
There are no strict rules on where to place interjections within or around sentences. You can plop them at the beginning or end of a sentence to express an abrupt burst of emotion:
I hate spiders! Ew!
Or you could throw them in the middle to show hesitation or an interruption:
I was going to, uh, meet you at the park later.
Interjections are surely one of the most fun parts of language, especially considering that they have no hard and fast rules for their usage. Just remember to avoid them in formal contexts.
In informal work, such as creative writing, interjections can add a flair of realism and excitement. If you want to experiment with interjections, we’d be happy to look at your work. Send in your free sample today.