spanish-interjections

Brilliant Spanish Interjections You Need to Learn

Wonder what interjections are? 

They are all these little words and phrases that are used either on their own or inside a sentence, to express your emotions and feelings. In writing, interjections typically require the use of exclamation marks, which is why some people also call them “exclamations.”

Some of the common interjections in English are words like Ahhh! Ouch! Boo! Duh! Come on! Gee! Yippee! Yuck!

Seemingly insignificant, they are extremely powerful in expressing your pain, frustration, happiness, disgust, boredom, and a whole plethora of other feelings. 

Do interjections exist in the Spanish language? Of course, they do! Today I will show you some of the most popular ones. 

12 Most Common Spanish Interjections

  • 🇪🇸 ¡Guau! – 🇬🇧 Wow!
  • 🇪🇸 ¡Vale! – 🇬🇧 OK!
  • 🇪🇸 ¡Dios mío! – 🇬🇧 Oh my God!
  • 🇪🇸 ¡Ojalá! – 🇬🇧 I wish!
  • 🇪🇸 ¡Buena! – 🇬🇧 Good one!
  • 🇪🇸 ¡Ojo! – 🇬🇧 Watch out!
  • 🇪🇸 ¡Oye! – 🇬🇧 Hey!
  • 🇪🇸 ¡Urra! – 🇬🇧 Hurray!
  • 🇪🇸 ¡Ay! – 🇬🇧 Ouch!
  • 🇪🇸 ¡Caramba! – 🇬🇧 Heck!
  • 🇪🇸 ¡Puay! – 🇬🇧 Yuck!
  • 🇪🇸 ¡Vaya! – 🇬🇧 Wow!
  • 🇪🇸 ¡Dale! – 🇬🇧 Ok!

What emotions can you express with Spanish Interjections?

Due to their spontaneous nature, interjections tend to appear in spoken language much more than in writing. Colloquial conversations in Spanish are usually filled with various forms of interjections, making them much livelier and more colorful. 

Do you want to add emotion to your words? Of course, one thing is to know how to name your feelings in Spanish, but even if your vocabulary in this category is not that advanced, you can easily convey your emotions with interjections.  

Let’s see what interjections are helpful, depending on how you feel.

Spanish Interjections of Surprise

There are so many ways to show surprise in Spanish that I have dedicated an entire post to them. 

Most of these common expressions are, in fact, interjections.

Apart from the English-borrowed “¡Guau!” which only spells differently, but pronounces just like “Wow,” you can also say:

  • 🇪🇸 ¿Qué? – 🇬🇧 What?
  • 🇪🇸 ¿Eh? – 🇬🇧 Eh?
  • 🇪🇸 ¡Oh! – 🇬🇧 Oh!
  • 🇪🇸 ¡Vaya! – 🇬🇧 wow!
  • 🇪🇸 ¿Pero cómo? – 🇬🇧 How come?
  • 🇪🇸 ¡No puede ser! – 🇬🇧 It can’t be!
  • 🇪🇸 ¡Broma! – 🇬🇧 literally: A joke! A good English equivalent is: No way!
  • 🇪🇸 ¡Anda! – 🇬🇧 imperative form of the verb andar, which means go. Similar to “No way!”
  • 🇪🇸 ¡Santo cielo! – 🇬🇧 Good heavens!
  • 🇪🇸 ¡Ostia! – 🇬🇧 Oh my gosh!
  • 🇪🇸 ¡Imposible! – 🇬🇧 That’s impossible!

Let’s see a few examples of how to use these exclamations:

🇪🇸
A: ¿Supiste lo de Macarena? Se casa en noviembre.
B: ¡¿Qué?! Pero lleva recién dos meses de noviazgo.
🇬🇧
A: Have you heard about Macarena? She is getting married in November.
B: What?! But she has only been dating for two months!

🇪🇸
A: Te tengo una noticia: el abuelo nos invitó a Punta Cana de vacaciones.
B: ¡Broma! ¡Qué amable de su parte! 
🇬🇧
A: I’ve got news for you: grandpa has invited us to Punta Cana on holiday. 
B: No way! It’s so kind of him!

🇪🇸
A: Anoche asaltaron a Manuel. 
B: ¡Santo cielo! ¿Cómo está? ¿Lo lastimaron?
🇬🇧
A: Manuel was mugged last night. 
B: Good heavens! How is he? Did he get hurt?

🇪🇸
A: Creo que voy a renunciar a mi trabajo. 
B: ¿Pero cómo? Pensé que estabas contento.
🇬🇧
A: I think I’ll quit my job.
B: How come? I thought you were happy. 

Spanish Interjections of Admiration

Has your friend just passed a particularly difficult test? 

Or perhaps your favorite soccer team won an important match?

Spontaneous reaction to other people’s achievements and success often involves the use of various exclamatory expressions. In Spanish, these would be:

  • 🇪🇸 ¡Buena! – 🇬🇧 A good one!
  • 🇪🇸 ¡Súper! – 🇬🇧 Great!
  • 🇪🇸 ¡Bravo! – 🇬🇧 Bravo!
  • 🇪🇸 ¡Olé! – 🇬🇧 Way to go! 
  • 🇪🇸 ¡Bien hecho! – 🇬🇧 Well done!
  • 🇪🇸 ¡Buen trabajo! – 🇬🇧 ¡Good job!
  • 🇪🇸 ¡Qué majo! – 🇬🇧 You’re so great! (used in Spain)

Remember, Spanish is spoken in 20 different countries, which is why various local words and phrases have developed throughout time. 

There are plenty of interjections that only make sense in one country or a specific region.

After 20 years in Chile, I can use and recognize most of the local expressions, but will occasionally have a little trouble understanding Mexican, Colombian, Argentinean, or Spaniard everyday language. 

Let’s have a look at the mini dialogues below to see how the Spanish interjections of admiration work in real context:

🇪🇸
A: ¡Me gané una beca!
B: ¡Bravo! ¡Te lo mereces!
🇬🇧
A: I’ve won a scholarship / a grant!
B: Bravo! You deserve it!

🇪🇸
A: Real Madrid le ganó a Barcelona 3 a 1!
B: Olé! ¡Son los mejores!
🇬🇧
A: Real Madrid has won 3 to 1 with Barcelona. 
B: Way to go! They are the best!

🇪🇸
A: Está lista tu computadora. He arreglado todos los problemas que tenía. 
B: ¡Buen trabajo! Sabía que podía contar contigo.
🇬🇧
A: Your computer is ready. I’ve fixed all the problems it had.
B: Great job! I knew I could count on you!

Spanish Interjections of Fear

Another emotion that oven evokes spontaneous reactions and exclamations is fear. 

What is it that you usually say when something scares you? 

In Spanish, you can choose any of the phrases below:

  • 🇪🇸 ¡Ahhhh! – 🇬🇧 Ahhhhh! / Whoa!!!
  • 🇪🇸 !Dios mío! – 🇬🇧 Oh my God!
  • 🇪🇸 ¡Ay qué miedo! – 🇬🇧 Oh, dear!
  • 🇪🇸 ¡Madre mía! – 🇬🇧 Oh, my!
  • 🇪🇸 ¡Qué susto! – 🇬🇧 Holy moly!
  • 🇪🇸 ¡Qué horror! – 🇬🇧How terrifying!
  • 🇪🇸 ¡Auxilio! / ¡Socorro! – 🇬🇧 Help!
  • 🇪🇸 !Jesús! – 🇬🇧 Jesus Christ!

Remember, the consonant “J” in Spanish sounds like “H” in “honey.” 

The way certain letters are pronounced in Spanish is one of the differences between this language and English.

Check out these real-life conversations to see how people express their fear in Spanish:

🇪🇸
A: ¡Dios mío! ¡¿Viste esto?!
B: Siii, ¡qué susto! ¿Qué crees que fue?
🇬🇧
A: Oh, my God! Did you see it?!
B: Yes, how scary! What do you think it was? 

🇪🇸
A: Ahhh!, ¡qué miedo!
B: No te preocupes, fue un trueno, nada más. 
🇬🇧
A: Ahhhh! Holy moly!
B: Don’t worry, it was just thunder, nothing else. 

🇪🇸
A: ¿Escuchaste el tiroteo de anoche?
B: ¡Siii! ¡Qué horror! Ya no se puede vivir tranquilo aquí. 
🇬🇧
A: Did you hear the shooting last night?
B: I did! How terrifying! One can’t live here quietly anymore. 

Spanish Interjections of Disgust

Creepy insects? Dirty clothes? Smelly armpits? 

There are so many things that disgust us!

It is good to be prepared, in case there is something yucky you need to comment on in Spanish:

  • 🇪🇸 !Puaf! – 🇬🇧 Ewww!
  • 🇪🇸 ¡Puay! – 🇬🇧 Phew!
  • 🇪🇸 ¡Qué asco! – 🇬🇧 Disgusting!
  • 🇪🇸 ¡Asqueroso! – 🇬🇧 Yuck!
  • 🇪🇸 ¡Guácala! – 🇬🇧 Gross (used in South America)

And here are a few examples of how to use these phrases when something you see makes you want to puke.

🇪🇸
A: ¡Hay cucarachas en el baño!
B: ¡Puay! !Qué asco! Hay que llamar a un exterminador.
🇬🇧
A: There are cockroaches in the bathroom!
B: Phew! How disgusting! We need to call an exterminator. 

🇪🇸
A: Mira estas sábanas. Parece que nunca las lavan. 
B: ¡Guácala! Mejor busquemos otro hotel. 
🇬🇧
A: Look at these sheets. It seems like they never wash them.
B: Disgusting! Let’s better look for a different hotel. 

🇪🇸
A: ¿Quieres probar un bocadillo de grillos tostados?
B: ¡Puaf! ¡Ni loca! ¡¿Cómo puedes comer eso?!
🇬🇧
A: Do you want to try a roasted cricket snack?
B: Ew! No way! How can you eat that?! 

Pay attention to the word “loca” in the last example. It refers to a woman, which is why the adjective has the “-a” ending. If it were a man, the correct form would be “loco.” 

Adjective gender can be a little tricky for Spanish learners, especially if you study this language by yourself

Spanish Interjections of Anger, Disappointment, and Frustration

Are negative feelings boiling inside you? Exclamations are an excellent outlet for them, and they make your Spanish sound more natural and real.

  • 🇪🇸 ¡Arrrgh! – 🇬🇧 Aargh!
  • 🇪🇸 ¡Joder! – 🇬🇧 Darn!
  • 🇪🇸 ¡Pucha! / ¡Chuta! – 🇬🇧 Buuu!
  • 🇪🇸 ¡Qué lástima! / ¡Qué pena! – 🇬🇧 What a pity! 
  • 🇪🇸 ¡Qué pena! – 🇬🇧 What a shame!
  • 🇪🇸 ¡Caramba! – 🇬🇧 Dang!
  • 🇪🇸 ¡Diablos! – 🇬🇧 Damn!
  • 🇪🇸 !Qué barbaridad! – 🇬🇧 How is it possible?!
  • 🇪🇸 ¡Maldición! – 🇬🇧 Damn!
  • 🇪🇸 ¡Rayos! – 🇬🇧 Shoot!
  • 🇪🇸 ¡Qué rabia! – 🇬🇧 Aargh!

🇪🇸
A: ¡Joder! El vecino de nuevo bloqueó la entrada a nuestro estacionamiento!
B: ¡Llama a la policía para que lo multen!
🇬🇧
A: Damn! The neighbor is blocking the entrance to our parking lot again!
B: Call the police so that they fine him. 

🇪🇸
A: ¡A Mónica no la aceptaron en la universidad!
B: ¡Qué pena! Estaba tan ilusionada. 
🇬🇧
A: Mónica didn’t get accepted at the university. 
B: What a pity! She was so excited!

🇪🇸
A: Pablo, ¡Qué rabia! ¡De nuevo llegaste tarde!
B: Lo lamento. Te prometo que no volverá a pasar. 
🇬🇧
A: Pablo, darn! You’re late again!
B: I’m so sorry! I promise it won’t happen again.

🇪🇸
A: ¡Arrrggg! ¡No soporto este ruido!
B: Deja ver de dónde viene. 
🇬🇧
A: Arrgh! I can’t stand this noise!
B: Let me see where it is coming from. 

Spanish Interjections of Happiness, Approval, and Relief

Enough of complaining and being grumpy! 

Let’s move on to happy feelings. Below you’ll find a set of Spanish exclamations you can use when you feel happy, relieved, or satisfied with something or someone.

  • 🇪🇸 !Qué alegría! – 🇬🇧 It’s so great!
  • 🇪🇸 ¡Qué felicidad! – 🇬🇧 I’m so happy
  • 🇪🇸 ¡Qué chulo! – 🇬🇧 Awesome! (used in Spain)
  • 🇪🇸 ¡Guay! – 🇬🇧 terrific! (used in México)
  • 🇪🇸 ¡Genial! – 🇬🇧 Great!
  • 🇪🇸 ¡Excelente! – 🇬🇧 Excellent!
  • 🇪🇸 ¡Cómo mola! – 🇬🇧 Cool! (used in Spain)
  • 🇪🇸 !Bacán! – 🇬🇧 Great! (used in Chile)
  • 🇪🇸 ¡Feliz! – 🇬🇧 Happily!
  • 🇪🇸 ¡De todas formas! – 🇬🇧 By all means!
  • 🇪🇸 ¡Menos mal! – 🇬🇧 Thank God!

What is it that has brought you joy lately? Was it some good news you received? Or perhaps entertaining weekend plans? 

Here are several possible scenarios:

🇪🇸
A: ¡Nació el bebé de Juana!
B: ¡Oh, qué alegría! Le voy a enviar unas flores.
🇬🇧
A: Juana’s baby was born!
B: Oh, how great! I’m going to send her some flowers!

🇪🇸
A: Tengo 2 entradas para el concierto de Ricky Martin en el Estadio Nacional.
B: ¿En serio? ¡Qué genial!
🇬🇧
A: I’ve got two tickets for Ricky Martin’s concert in the National Stadium.
B: Really? That’s awesome!

🇪🇸
A: El fin de semana vamos a la playa. ¿Quieres ir con nosotros?
B: ¡Feliz! ¡Me encanta el mar!
🇬🇧
A: We’re heading to the beach this weekend. Do you want to join us?
B: With pleasure / Happily! I love the sea!

🇪🇸
A: He perdido mi cartera. Por suerte andaba sin documentos.
B: ¡Menos mal! 
🇬🇧
A: I’ve lost my handbag. Luckily I didn’t have any documents on me.
B: Thank God!

Spanish exclamatory expressions with ¡Qué! and !Cuánto!

Perhaps you have noticed that several of the interjections I have listed so far start with “qué” or “cuánto.”

These two words are not only used to make questions in Spanish but are also used to express how you feel.

Making interjections with “Qué.”

The Spanish word “qué” makes combinations with nouns and adjectives.

When you match it with a noun, it translates as “what a…”

When followed by an adjective, its meaning changes to “how…”.

Qué + a noun
🇪🇸 ¡Qué sorpresa! – 🇬🇧 What a surprise!
🇪🇸 ¡Qué pena! – 🇬🇧 What a pity!
🇪🇸 ¡Qué dolor! – 🇬🇧 What a pain!
🇪🇸 ¡Qué rabia! 🇬🇧 literally: What a rage!
🇪🇸 ¡Qué dolor! – 🇬🇧 What a pain!
🇪🇸 ¡Qué alegría! – 🇬🇧 What a joy!
🇪🇸 ¡Qué emoción! – 🇬🇧 What an excitement!
🇪🇸 ¡Qué mala / buena onda! – 🇬🇧 How uncool / cool! (literally, onda means wave)
Qué + adjective
🇪🇸 ¡Qué amoroso! – 🇬🇧 How kind (of you)!
🇪🇸 ¡Qué triste! – 🇬🇧 How sad!
🇪🇸 ¡Qué terrible! 🇬🇧 How awful!
🇪🇸 ¡Qué doloroso! – 🇬🇧 How painful!
🇪🇸 ¡Qué chistoso! – 🇬🇧 How funny!
🇪🇸 ¡Qué rico! – 🇬🇧 How yummy!
🇪🇸 ¡Qué lindo! – 🇬🇧 How pretty!
🇪🇸 ¡Qué interesante! – 🇬🇧 How interesting!

Making interjections with “Cuánto”

“Cuánto” literally means “how much” and is commonly used in questions.

However, in exclamations, a better translation seems to be “so much” or “so many,” and the context is always that of disbelief and surprise.

🇪🇸 ¡Cuánta gente!
🇬🇧 So many people!

🇪🇸 ¡Cuánto tráfico!
🇬🇧 So much traffic!

🇪🇸 ¡Cuánta violencia!
🇬🇧 So much violence!

🇪🇸 ¡Cuántas flores!
🇬🇧 So many flowers!

🇪🇸 ¡Cuántos participantes!
🇬🇧 So many participants!

🇪🇸 ¡Cuánta comida!
🇬🇧 So much food!

🇪🇸 ¡Cuántas preguntas!
🇬🇧 So many questions!

Hold on!

Why is it that sometimes I have to use “cuánto,” and other times “cuánta,” “cuántos” or “cuántas”?

Good job for spotting that!

It all has to do with whether the noun you describe is masculine or feminine and whether it is countable or uncountable. 

If a noun is feminine, the word “cuánto” needs to be changed to “cuánta.”

🇪🇸 ¡Cuánto pelo! 
🇬🇧 So much hair! – “pelo” is masculine (an exclamation you can hear in Spanish when you visit a hairdresser )

🇪🇸 ¡Cuánta felicidad!
🇬🇧 So much happiness! – “felicidad” is feminine 

Both of these nouns are uncountable, which means they usually don’t change their number and almost always appear in the singular form. 

How about countable nouns?

There isn’t much difference between English and Spanish in this aspect, so it should be pretty easy for you to get a grasp.

Countable nouns not only have genders, but they can also change their number. 

🇪🇸 una flor – this noun is feminine (una) and countable.
🇬🇧 a flower

If you want to say: “Wow, so many flowers!” you’d have to use the word “cuántas,” which expresses both feminine (a) and plural (s).

🇪🇸 ¡Cuántas flores!
🇬🇧 So many flowers!

🇪🇸 un árbol – this noun is masculine (un) and countable.
🇬🇧 a tree

If you want to say: “Wow, so many trees,” you’d have to use the word “cuántos,” which expresses both masculine (o) and plural (s).

🇪🇸 ¡Cuántos árboles!
🇬🇧 So many trees!

I hope I didn´t spook you with this grammar bit. 

Rember, practice makes perfect. And understanding why a language works in a certain way makes it easier to learn and to remember. 

🇪🇸 ¡Hasta la próxima!
🇬🇧 Till next time!

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Joanna Lupa

Joanna Lupa

Polish by birth, Chilean by the turns of life. Has spent 20 years in that beautiful South American country working as a language teacher and translator. Has taught Spanish and English to students of all proficiency levels. Passionate about languages, books, and traveling. A mother of 2 trilingual teenagers.