Interjections are words, exclamations, expletives and remarks which are typically complete utterances by themselves, without needing any syntactic structures, as in the case of onomatopoeia such as Ow!, Psst! and Aarrgh! They are used to express strong emotions (Hooray!, Shit!), and are very often overlooked by language teachers who tend to give priority to teaching other, more formal language forms. In many cases, meaning may be clear from context, but exclamations like Ah! can mean very different things, according to the intonation: pleasure, pain, sympathy, etc.
Whereas meaning is very often clear in comics or cartoons, because the character's facial expression will most likely effectively convey meaning, this might not be the case in novels.
Language is not only made up of irregular verbs and auxiliaries, and teachers should make efforts to introduce other aspects, such as taboo words and various forms of non-verbal communication. Boo! is not the same as boo-hoo! and what are students to make of yum yum! or yummy!? Oh! can express surprise or hesitation, but also pain or pleasure. On the other hand, it's also used as a sentence connector, to gain time, as in Oh, I suppose so.
Like other words, interjections follow certain spelling "rules". We write Ow! and Owww! (not Ooow!), and some have variant spellings, such as yuk! or yuck!. D'oh! can also be written doh! and duh!.
Typical interjections and variations, intensities, etc.
- Ah! - Aaah! - pleasure, pain, sympathy, etc.
- Aargh! - pain
- Ahem! - throat clearing/call attention
- Brr! - Brrrr! - cold
- Hm - Hmmmm - meditative
- Hmph or humph
- Mwah - air-kissing
- Oh! - surprise
- Phoar! - enthusiasm (often with sexual overtones)
- Sh! - Shhh!
- Yuck! - Yuk! - disgust
- Wheee! - excitement (speed)
- Oops! or Whoops! -
- Phew! - relief
- Phooey! - scorn, contempt, disbelief
- Yikes! - extreme concern
- Yummy - yum yum