Thursday, February 23, 2012

I is for Interjection, J for...Judiciously?

"Fudge is a noun, a verb, an interjection, and delicious!" --Jessi Lane Adams

Interjections! Wow. Hey! We all use them in our daily speech, don't we? Well, sure. But what about in our writing? Gee, what role do they play?

The subject came to my attention during a recent read-through of my manuscript. I didn't realize, until examples jumped out at me, how many times I used the word oh--as in oh, dear...oh, bother... oh, my...oh, fiddlesticks.

Oh, fudge.

Thus I proceeded to look into the use of interjections. Here's a glimpse of what I found:

1. Interjection (definition from My English Pages) is "a part of speech which is used to show a short sudden expression of emotion...(Though) Rarely used in academic or formal writing, they are common in fiction or artistic writing. Interjections are often used with an exclamation mark."

2. Interjections (Scribendi's "Guide to Using Interjections Effectively") "are an excellent way of expressing emotion within the dialogue of your prose, but you must be careful not to overuse them. Used sparingly and appropriately, interjections can breathe a true sense of humanity in your character, giving them the sort of personality that readers can connect with on a deeper level."

3. Interjection (etymology) comes from the Latin word interiacio (inter--"between" and -iacio--"throw") which means "thrown in."

4. A few examples of interjections include hey, well, hallelujeh, rats, bingo, wow, good grief, whoops, yeah, yikes, and yippee. Sites listing a variety of interjections (both common and not-so-common) include: 

So here we are. Interjections have their place in the writing of dialogue. They add emotion, help in characterization, show personality, make dialogue sound more real. Yet, somewhat like fudge, they need to be approached sparingly. Overdone, they are too much of a good thing, like that one more piece of fudge you know you should have refused. Therefore: I is for InterjectionsJ is for... (use them) Judiciously!

Do you eat too much fudge, whoops, I mean, have trouble overusing interjections? Or have you learned that less is more? What are your favorites? 

Interjections that is. We all know you probably like fudge.



  1. I like that little saying:)

    I, too, am always over using "Oh" and have to delete them in revision. I also use "Hey" way too much.

  2. Thanks, Catherine :-) And though I don't tend to use "hey" that much, the word "Well,.." comes in a close second to "oh"!

    Have a great week.

  3. This is really declarative and well explained lesson. Thanks for sharing such a nice post. Do you have a post for Interjection Definition and Examples. It will be a great help.