Deep wisdom from ‘Through the Looking Glass’

"Read the directions and directly you will be directed in the right direction."

"... you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!"

"Take care of the sounds and the sense will take care of itself."

Friday, July 8, 2011


General usage of interjections comprises a significant part of language culture.
Short in size, but remarkably eloquent, interjections usually represent a serious challenge for English learners as they can dramatically change the meaning of the whole utterance. Alternatively, mastering this language area will definitely enrich the vocabulary and provide fluency and language confidence. And last, but not least, interjections make up a huge part of on-line chats.

Word / variants
aah! / aaah, aaaahh
"Aaaah! It's eating my leg!"
Fright, shock. Sometimes it means "ahh" instead.
aha / a-ha
"I understand"
"Aha! So you took the money!"
Understanding, triumph (can also be used as "ahh")
ahh / ahhh
"Ok, I see"
"Ahh, yes, I understand now"
Realisation, understanding. Sometimes it means "aaah" or "eh" instead.
"Argh, the car won't work!"
Annoyance, anger, frustration
aw / aww, awww
"How sweet!"
"Aww, what an adorable puppy"
Shows sentimental approval
aw / oh, ah
"That's too bad"
"Aw man, it hit him right in the nuts"
Feeling sorry or pity for someone
"Bah, I never liked him anyways."
Dismissive, annoyed
boo / booh
"That's bad"
"Boo, get off the stage!"
Disapproval, contempt (also something to yell to surprise people)
brr / brrrr
"It's cold"
"Brrr, it's -20C outside"
Being cold, shivering
eek / eeeek
"Eeek, a mouse!"
Girly scream. Surprised, scared.
"Oh no!"
"Eep! I didn't mean to say that!"
Surprise (female)
"Eh? I didn't hear what you said."
Misunderstanding. Also see "huh?"
eww / ewwww
"Ewww, this apple is rotten"
Disgust, dislike
grr / grrrr
"I'm angry"
"Grrr, I'll kick his ass"
Anger, snarling, growling. Often used for dogs and other animals.
hmm / hm, hmmmm
"I wonder"
"Hmm, I'm not sure about that"
Thinking, hesitation.
"Huh, you were right"
Mild, indifferent surprise
huh? / eh?
"Is that right?"
"So she dumped you, huh?"
Asking for confirmation
ich / yuk
"Blerch, this apple is rotten"
Disgust, dislike
meh / eh
"Who cares"
"Meh, whatever you think is best"
mhm / mmhm, uh-hu
"Do you think so too?" "Mhm"
Agreement, acknowledgement.
mm / mmm, mmh
"Mmm, this ice cream is delicious"
Pleasure. Sometimes it means "hmm" instead.
"I see"
"Oh, you wanted sugar, not milk."
ooh / oooh
"Oooh, it's shiny!"
Wonder, amazement (ohhh can also mean ahhh)
ooh-la-la / oh-lala
"A seven layer wedding cake? Ooh-la-la!"
An often ironic (or just funny) way indicating that something is fancy or high class
oomph / umph
"I'm exerting myself"
"Push on 3.. 1, 2, 3.. oomph!"
A grunt made on sudden exertion. Also used as a noun to mean "power" or "energy" ("This song needs more oomph!")
"I didn't mean to do that"
"Oops, I knocked over your cup"
Being surprised at or acknowledging your own mistakes
ow / oww, ouch
"That hurts"
"Oww, I hit my thumb"
oy / oi, oyh
"Hey, you!"
"Oy! You forgot your wallet!"
Used to get someone's attention, similar to "hey!". Also used disapprovingly ("Oy, you spilled your drink all over me!")
pff / pffh, pssh, pfft
"That's nothing"
"Pff, I once caught a fish twice that size"
sheesh / jeez
"I can't believe this!"
"Sheesh, now he's drunk again"
Exasperation, annoyance
tsk-tsk / tut-tut
"Tsk-tsk, he is late for work again"
disappointment, contempt (this is a clicking sound)
uh-hu / mhm
"Do you think so too?" "Uh-hu"
Agreement, acknowledgement.
uh-oh / oh-oh
"Oh no!"
"Uh-oh, I think the bear is inside the house"
Concerned for indications that something will happen
uhh / uhm, err
"Wait, I'm thinking"
"Seven times eight is... uhh... 56"
Indicates a pause in, rather than the end of, a sentence
"Whoa, I just looked at it and it broke!"
Confounded, surprised and amazed. In popular culture, marijuana smokers are often depicted with this exclamation.
"Wow, that's incredible!"
Impressed, astonished
yuk / ich
"Yuk, I wouldn't want to touch that"
Disgust, dislike
zing / bada-zing, ba-dump tish
"Haha, well said!"
You're so stupid; you'd trip over a wireless phone!" "Zing!"
Used (often ironically) to punctuate a punch line or witty comeback. From the sound of a rimshot, played after punch lines in some comedy acts

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