It’s sometimes said that less is more. That’s definitely the case with interjections – short words and phrases that are used to express strong feelings; for this reason David Crystal in his book Making Sense of Grammar calls them emotional noises. And I’d compare them to verbal emoticons.
Let’s have a look at some common interjections that you’ll often hear in conversation and see how they can be as expressive as sentences. And when it comes to situations where an immediate emotional response is required, they become indispensable.
as in Wow! Your hair looks gorgeous!
As an expression of surprise and/or admiration, wow has crossed many borders sometimes even pushing their equivalents in local languages out of use as in my native Russia where the good old ух ты! seems to have completely become a thing of the past.
This two-letter word has lots of uses:
it comes handy as an expression of, I’d say, mild surprise as in
Jenny and Rob have split up. – Oh, I didn’t realise that.
You can also use it to make a more profound emotional impact as in
Oh, no! My mobile’s been stolen!
The company Jack’s been working for has gone bust and he’s lost his job. – Oh, how awful!
We also use it to fill in short pauses and when answering questions to sound less abrupt.
Can you get some milk, bread… oh, and some eggs too?
Do you know that guy? – Oh, yes, we met at the local gym a couple of months ago.