What Are the Different Types of Interjection?

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  • Written By: T. Carrier
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  • Last Modified Date: 11 April 2014
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Interjections are a common component of the English language, though they may be found in other languages as well. These parts of speech generally consist of brief, often spontaneous phrases or utterances. In English, types of interjection typically occur in the following classifications: strong emotional expressions, onomatopoeia, conversational additives, and expressions indicating a pause. Emotion-based types of interjection may range from expressions of pain to surprised expressions.

An interjection is usually characterized by its brevity and its use of punctuation. Many interjections may consist of only one word. Strong punctuation marks like the exclamation point often accompany an interjection as well. If a word or phrase proves confusing when given a lack of context, it is likely an interjection. Since interjections tend to be more commonplace in English, all subsequent types of interjection examples will be from the English language.

Linguistic expressions of emotion are perhaps the most common of the types of interjection. When an individual experiences a strong emotion, a sudden verbal exclamation often accompanies and symbolizes this feeling. For example, if an individual cuts a body part, he or she may say “Ow!” or “Ouch!” Likewise, if an individual receives good news, joy might be expressed with a simple exclamation like “Yes!” or “Hooray!” Other common emotional expressions that use interjections include surprise and disgust: "Wow!" and "Ugh," respectively.


Some types of interjections are a matter of common conversational cues and behavioral responses. Two people might, for example, greet each other with a “Hello.” Individuals might likewise respond to each others’ statements with simple word or phrase additions like “Okay” or “Yes” or “No” in response to a question. If an offending comment or action occurs, the offender might say “I’m sorry” or “Excuse me.” A hope to gain some type of favor, on the other hand, might be enhanced with a well-placed interjection of “Please.”

Sounds or letter combinations that do not express an actual word or that otherwise break traditional English grammar rules constitute types of interjections as well. Usually, these interjections are used in speech to fill gaps in conversation or formal speaking. Examples in English range from “Umm” to “Ahem.” Interjections may also sometimes be used to encourage the speech of another person, such as when one individual mutters "Mm-hmm" when a dialogue partner falls silent.

In addition to spoken interjections, literary devices may also function as types of interjection. In particular, some words or phrases may serve the express purpose of vocalizing a sound. For example, the sound of laughter might be textually expressed as “Ha!” A sneeze might bear the moniker of “Achoo!” Growls, meanwhile, might be expressed with a “Grr!” These expressions are often dubbed as onomatopoeias.


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