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Grammar Glossary for Spanish Students


sore toe

¡Ay! (Ouch!)

Photo by Eduardo González López de Murillas; licensed via Creative Commons.

Definition: A part of speech that can stand alone to express emotion or a reaction. Although an interjection can form a complete sentence (that is, expressing a thought without need of a subject and verb), one can often also be inserted within a sentence, usually parenthetically or separated by commas from the rest of the sentence. In written Spanish and English, an interjection frequently is used with exclamation marks.

Interjections are much more common in speech and informal writing than they are in formal writing. Many interjections, such as the English "oh" and the Spanish caray, have meanings that can vary widely depending on the context and the intonation.

Also Known As: interjección in Spanish. When an interjection stands alone, it is often called an exclamation (exclamación), especially when it is used emphatically.

Examples: Common English words that are usually used as interjections include "ouch," "wow," "ugh," "oops" and "splat." Their approximate Spanish equivalents include ay, caramba, puf, uy and plaf (other translations are possible). Many other words that are usually other parts of speech are also frequently used as interjections. An example of an interjection within a sentence is the "ouch" (or ay) in "ouch, that hurts" (ay, me duele).

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