A Guide to Interjections in Spanish (Part 2)

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Let’s get straight to the point and start the second part of my practical guide for interjections in the Spanish language by mentioning that, for many sounds, there could be a good amount of uses in a given speech, like for “¡ah!”, whose non-verbal meaning ranges from a sincere signal of understanding (“ah, ahora entiendo tu punto”: “ah, I see your point now”) to a veiled sarcasm (“ah, sabía que esta situación terminaría así”: “ah, I knew this situation would come to this”).

As with any piece of verbal communication, interjections could be used in new, flexible ways by uttering them with a certain tone or adding it to your speech at certain moments.

But in order to know the correct usage of interjections, you may keep learning which words are associated to which emotions or non-verbal messages you would like to convey. Here we go!

  • Happiness or joy

Interjections in Spanish: ¡Yupi!, ¡sí!, ¡yey!, ¡(qué) chévere! (esp. in Caribbean countries), ¡(qué) guay! (esp. in Mexico), ¡(qué) piola! (esp. in Argentina)

Example: ¡Yupi, me encanta esta feria!; ¡qué chévere que llegaste a tiempo!

 

Equivalent in English: Yahoo!, yippee!, whoopee!, yay!, yeah!, whee!, great!, awesome!

Example: I love this fair, yay!; it is really great you could arrive on time!

 

  • Satisfaction, approval or acclaim towards another person’s actions

Interjections in Spanish: ¡Hurra!, ¡excelente!, ¡grandioso!, ¡(qué) grande!, ¡viva!, ¡bravo!

Example: ¡Hurra por el equipo!; ¡qué grande, excelente jugada!

 

Equivalent in English: Hurrah, yay, well done!, congratulations!, bravo!

Example: Hurrah for the team!; yay, your play was excellent!

 

  • Warning from an imminent danger

Interjections in Spanish: ¡Ojo!, ¡cuidado!, ¡atención!, ¡epa!

Example: ¡Ojo, que caen escombros!; ¡epa!, en esta zona no debes conducir tan rápido.

 

Equivalent in English: Watch out!, look out!, be careful!, warning!, hey!

Example: Watch out, there is falling debris!; hey, you shouldn’t drive so fast in this area!

 

  • Perplexity or surprise—even mock surprise

Interjections in Spanish: ¡Vaya! (vaya, vaya); figúrate, caramba, válgame (Dios)

Example: ¡Vaya, y decían que ese tipo era todo un bravucón!; al final, tuve que terminar el trabajo yo solo, figúrate.

 

Equivalent in English: Well, well, well; go figure; oh, my; what are the odds, what about that, no kidding…

Example: Well, well, and people told us that guy was a real bully!; at the end, I had to finish the assignment by myself, go figure.

 

  • Reaction to a setback, an annoyance or a specially unpleasant circumstance

Interjections in Spanish: Rayos, centellas, maldición, recórcholis, demonios, diablos…

Example: Rayos, perdimos todo apostando; ¿qué diablos dijiste?

 

Equivalent in English: Damn, good heavens, holy cow, golly, yikes; hell, heck…

Example: Damn, we lost it all by gambling; what the hell did you say?

 

What do you think about interjections? Do you have any favorite expression you use everyday? Share your comments with us below!

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