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Interjections

Interjections

 

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Interjections


Hello! In this lesson, we will learn to use some common interjections.  An interjection is an exclamatory or extra word which does not have any grammatical connection to the rest of the sentence it is in.

An interjection is used to express surprise, excitement, disappointment, disgust or other strong emotion.

An interjection is used as a filler word or a word to smooth the transition from one part of a statement to another. Sometimes an interjection is used to express the speaker's belief that something should be obvious. Let us look at a few interjections and how they are used.

Imagine that David is building something of wood. He holds the nail in place and accidentally whacks his thumb instead of the nail. David might shout an interjection to signal his pain and surprise. Even if he is alone, he might use an interjection. "Ouch!" he might yell. He might shout "Dang!" or "Ow!".He might use the curse word "Damn!". If he drops something or makes a mistake while he is working, he might say "Oops" of "Whoops".

If Jennifer asks her teenage nephew if he has a cell phone, he might rudely retort "Duh", but it is more likely that Jennifer will realize that the answer is evident, and she will say "Duh" herself.

If David looks out the window and sees someone peering into his car, he might suspiciously yell "Hey!". If the interloper is trying to get into David's car, David might yell "Stop!".

If David sneezes, Jennifer might say "Gesundheit", the German word which means health, but which is used in English for just this purpose. Or she might say "bless you!" or "God bless you!".

A surprising number of interjections in English are concerned with God. The word "God" is a common interjection, sometimes signaling disbelief, surprise, exhaustion, or any other emotion. "God", David might sigh, "I am so tired.".

When some people are very angry, they might say "God damn" or God damn it," which means (translate God damn it). Other people are offended by this interjection, but it is quite common, nonetheless.

Other people might say "Jesus" as an interjection. Because of the religious nature of these interjections, substitutions for them have arisen.  Instead of saying "Damn", some people say "Darn" or "Dang". Instead of saying "God", some people say "golly" or "gol" or "gosh". You might hear "gosh darn it" or "gol dang it" as a substitute for "God damn it". You might hear "gee" or "gee whiz" or "jeez", " jeepers", or "sheesh" as substitutes for "Jesus". These substitutes are so common that most people do not realize they are substitutes.

If Jennifer goes shopping and the prices are very high, she might mutter "yikes!" or "heavens!" or "goodness" or "goodness gracious!".She might say "oh my gosh" or "oh my God".

When David gets angry about something Mr. Johnson did at work, Jennifer might say to him "Relax." or "Take it easy." or "Cool down" or "Chill out" or "Calm down". She might use the word that we say to tell horses to stop  -- "Whoa".   

Let s listen to this conversation. David looks out the window and sees someone trying to get into his car.

David: Hey you! Stop! Thief! (yelling out the window)

Jennifer: What's up? What's happening?

David: Get a load of that! That guy is breaking into my car!

Jennifer: Hey! Calm down!

David: Watch out! I am calling the cops! (calling out the window)

Jennifer: Okay, okay.

David begins the conversation with a string of interjections. He yells "Hey you!" to get the purported thief's attention. "Stop" to tell the thief to stop. He might also have yelled "Freeze". Then he yells "Thief" to alert the neighborhood that there is a thief in their midst.

Jennifer says "What's up?" which means: what is occurring. And then she says "What's happening?". She might have said "What's going on?"or "What's the deal?" which also mean: what is occurring?

David is angry. He yells "Get a load of that!" which means in an incredulous way: Look at that. "That guy is breaking into my car." which means: translate that guy is breaking into my car.

Jennifer uses the interjection "Hey" to get David's attention. She says "Calm down" to get David to stop being so upset. She could have said "Relax." or "Chill out.".

David yells "Watch out" to tell the thief to be careful. And finally David yells "I am calling the cops.".which means (translate: I am calling the cops.) He could have yelled "I am calling the police." or "I am calling the law.".

Jennifer tries to calm David by saying "Okay, okay.". She might also have said "Alright, alright.".

Let us listen to the dialog again. Listen to the interjections and short phrases that David and Jenifer use when they are upset.

David: Hey you! Stop! Thief! (yelling out the window)

Jennifer: What's up? What's happening?

David: Get a load of that! That guy is breaking into my car!

Jennifer: Hey! Calm down!

David: Watch out! I am calling the cops! (calling out the window)

Jennifer: Okay, okay.

Wonderful.  Interjections are an important part of any language. People adopt their favorite interjections and use them often. They become a part of a person's personality. So learn to understand other people's interjections, and adopt a few of your own.  "Gee whiz, English is fun.".