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An interjection is a part of speech that usually has no [grammatical] connection with the rest of the sentence and simply expresses emotion 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 generally uninflected function words and have sometimes been seen as sentence-words, because they can replace or be replaced by a whole sentence (they are holophrastic). Sometimes, however, interjections combine with other words to form sentences, but not with finite verbs.

Interjections are used when the speaker encounters events that cause these emotions — unexpectedly, painfully, surprisingly, or in many other sudden ways. However, several languages have interjections that cannot be related to emotions.

The word "interjection" literally means "thrown in between" from the Latin inter ("between") and iacere ("throw").

Interjections are words used to express strong feeling or sudden emotion. They are included in a sentence usually at the start to express a sentiment such as surprise, disgust, joy, excitement, or enthusiasm.

Some examples of interjections are, "Oh!" and "Wow!", etc.


Several English interjections contain sounds that do not, or very rarely, exist in regular English phonological inventory. For example (see help:IPA for key):

  • Ahem [əʔəm], [ʔəʔəm], or [ʔəhɛm] ("attention!") contains a glottal stop that is common in German.
  • Shh [ʃːː] ("quiet!") is an entirely consonantal syllable.
  • Ps [ps] ("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.
    There is also a less popular pronunciation [tʌt tʌt].
  • Ugh [ʌx] ("disgusting!") ends with a Spanish and Gaelic consonant, a velar fricative.
  • Whew/Phew [ɸɪu] ("what a relief!") starts 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!"), pronounced how it is spelled, ends with [h], which does not occur with regular English words.
  • Yeah [jæ] ("yes") ends with the short vowel [æ], which is not permitted in regular English words.

See also


Published - November 2008

Information from Wikipedia is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License

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