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What is an Interjection? - Definition & Examples

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  • 0:01 Exploring Interjections
  • 1:19 Punctuating Interjections
  • 2:22 Choosing an Interjection
  • 3:54 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Frances Smith
Interjections are emotional expressions used in writing. This lesson discusses the rules regulating the use of interjections and lists some of the common ones English speakers use to convey feelings.

Exploring Interjections: Definitions and Examples

When children say 'Yuk!' they mean they don't want to taste, touch, see, feel, or smell something again. It is a word that means bad, ugly, nasty, or even horrible, and it is an example of an interjection.

Some people say that a picture is worth a thousand words, and so are interjections, because they convey strong emotions without being connected to a main idea. They are words that do not need a subject or verb to relay meaning. They can also exaggerate feelings. 'Yuk' is an example of an interjection used when the speaker is exaggerating their dislike or when the speaker is grossed out or disgusted.

Interjections are described as:

  • Words or sounds used to express strong emotion in writing or speech
  • Grammatical parts of speech, but not part of the sentence's subject and predicate
  • Potentially part of the sentence's structure

These sentence diagrams show the relationship of interjections to a basic sentence with a subject and verb.

Sentence Diagram

Notice the position of the interjection in the first diagram, then notice the interjection 'Holy cow!' illustrated in the second diagram—it is placed above the main idea. It's part of the sentence's structure, but not a grammatical part of the sentence.

Punctuating Interjections

Interjections may still affect the mood or tone of a sentence depending on how they are punctuated. When an interjection is independent of the main clause, it is written with an exclamation point after it. Most of the time, this type of interjection is written at the beginning of the sentence. For example:

  • Yikes! I wasn't expecting you.
  • Geez! It's too cold.
  • Hmm! I didn't think of that.
  • Oops! I spilled the milk.

'Yikes,' 'Geez,' 'Hmm' and 'Oops' are interjections that relay the author's tone or express how the author feels. The sentences written after them are statements that show facts or opinions. When an interjection is written into the structure of a sentence to express mood or feeling for the whole sentence, it is typically punctuated with a comma.

  • Phillip, wait, I haven't finished yet!
  • At last, the food is served.

In the first example, 'wait' makes a pause in the sentence, cautioning Phillip. While in the second example, 'at last,' conveys a feeling of satisfaction that the food is finally served.

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