Grammar Guide for Interjections

An interjection expresses good and bad feelings, surprises, or excitement. They can be a single word or phrase that can be used on their own or as a part of a sentence. The word 'interjection' comes from Latin meaning to throw (ject) into the middle (inter). 

Types of Interjections

1. Primary: A word or sound that can only be used as an interjection. They do not have alternative meanings and cannot function as another part of speech.

  • Ugh! That's disgusting.
  • Um-hmm. I understand.
  •  Yuck! This tastes terrible.

2. Secondary: Words that are typically used as another part of speech.

  • Great! You made the team.
  • Sure! I'd love to help you.
  • Amazing! I wish I had been there, too.

3. Volitive: used to give commands.

  • Hush! They'll find us.
  • Psst. Pass the bread.
  • Leave! Get out of here right now!

When to Use

Use interjections in informal writing, stories, and casual speech. Do not use them in formal writing or presentations.


There are no strict rules about where an interjection must be placed. They are often found before the action that triggers the response.

1. Before the sentence that explains what is happening.

  • Ouch! That hurts!
  • Yikes! There a snake in the tent.
  • Oops! I dropped the egg.

2. After the sentence that explains what is happening.

  • It takes only 3 hours to fly there. Wow!
  • You won the contest. Congrats!
  • It didn't work. Ahh.

3. Within a sentence: Treat these interjections as a parenthetical element that is separate from the sentence. Place the interjection inside parentheses or set it off by commas.

  •  Some of the participants (ahem) did show up on time.
  • I lost, but, hey, at least I tried.