This forum will focus on teaching you all the discourse markers, interjections, reactions, and fillers you will need to help you sound more fluent! 담화 표지, 감탄사, 추임새를 배워 봅니다.
Often, when people learn a second language from textbooks, they sound a little awkward and unnatural. One way you can sound a lot more natural and fluent is by using interjections and discourse markers.
책으로만 제2외국어를 공부하면 다소 어색하게 말하는 경우가 있습니다. 자연스러운 회화를 위해 감탄사나 추임새를 넣어 봐요.
Discourse markers are the words and sounds native English-speakers use to introduce new topics, change direction of a conversation, introduce a question, or show they are thinking etc. (e.g. um, well, ah)
담화 표지는 새로운 화제를 소개하거나 화제를 전환하고 싶을 때, 질문을 하고 싶을 때나 상대방에게 자신이 생각 중임을 알리고 싶을 때 사용합니다(um, well, ah).
Interjections are similar to discourse markers, but are more specifically to show they are listening to the speaker and to express a range of different emotions in response to what has been said (e.g. Really? / Well done! / Oh no!). They are commonly used in situations where you do not want to interrupt the speaker’s story, but still show you are following what is being said.
감탄사는 상대의 말에 다양한 감정으로 반응하는 표현입니다(Really? / Well done! / Oh no!). 상대의 말 도중 끼어들지 않되 듣고 있다는 표현을 하고자 할 때 사용합니다.
Reactions: Reacting and showing you are listening is a huge part of effective communication. Reacting in the appropriate ways shows you have been listening to the person speaking. Common reactions include laughing, nodding one’s head, or saying “Hmmm”.
반응: 효과적인 소통을 위해선 상대방의 말에 적절한 반응을 보여야 합니다. 상대의 말에 집중하고 있다는 걸 알려주세요. 웃거나, 끄덕이거나, “Hm”mm이라 덧붙여 보세요.
Study how the following interjections and discourse markers can be used:
Yeah, right!? = (happy/rising intonation) used to show you agree with an opinion or that something is true e.g.Bob: I love this song.
___Ted: Yeah, right!? It is fantastic.
Yeah, right! = (flat or downward intonation) expressing you do not agree or think something is not true e.g. Yeah, right! There is no way she will date you.
I know = I agree; that is true e.g.Harry: This restaurant is wonderful.
___Sally: I know; It's one of my favorites.
No way! = used to express shock or refusal (for good things or bad things) e.g. No way! I am not eating that!
Get out! = used to express shock (note: made famous by the TV show Seinfeld) e.g. Get out! I can't believe you did that!
Ha! = often used to express your own (or someone else’s) stupidity or bad luck etc. e.g. Ha! Your team lost again.
Um… = used to express you are thinking or when you are about to ask for a favor e.g. Um...Can I have a slice of your pizza, please?
We hope these explanations help you understand how and why people use these words and sounds.
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포럼 업데이트를 주기적으로 확인하며 함께 공부해요. 열여섯 살 이상의 학생 혹은 성인이시라면, 회원으로 가입해 보는 건 어떠세요? 오이스터카페의 즐겁고, 유익하고, 주제에 꼭 맞는 효율적 영어 강의를 체험해 보세요.
Volitive words and phrases are used to express the desires, fears, or wishes of the speaker. In general, volitive expressions take the place of “I want…” phrases.
Check out how the following volitives can be used.
Volitive Words & Phrases * shhh = I want you to be quiet.
* shoo = I want you to go away.
* ahem = I want your attention (used when people should be listening to you)
* scat = I want you to go away (stronger than shoo, but still rather soft).
* psst = I want to get your attention, but I don’t want others to know I want your attention ('psst' is generally used when you are trying to do something sneaky).
Examples * Shoo. You are bothering me. (Situation: A parent talking to their child)
* Shhh! The movie is starting. (Situation: Warning a friend who is talking in the cinema)
* Scat! Let me read my book in peace. (Situation: A parent talking to their child)
* Psst… Can you hand this note to Julie? (Situation: A student passing a secret note in class)
* Ahem. I said, ahem. Thank you. I would like to start the meeting now. (Situation: The boss trying to start a meeting)
* Situation: 3 people on a bus – 2 friends and a stranger. Friend 1: (Speaking loudly) Dude, you are such an idiot! Friend 2: Nah, man. You’re the idiot. How…(Interrupted by stranger) Stranger: Ahem! Could you please keep your voices down? This is a public space.
Note: In this context, the stranger should only use ‘ahem’ if he is very confident. If you are not confident or strong with your words, you can just use ‘excuse me’.
* Situation: Two friends talking in a café. Mary: So, I’m thinking of dating John again. Barry: Shh. I don’t want to hear it.
Note: In this context, Barry is saying ‘shh’ because he does not want to hear that Mary is going to date her ex-boyfriend again. Barry obviously thinks this is a bad idea.
As you can see, using volitive words & phrases can really help you get your message across in a more natural way. We hope you can start to add them to your speaking and writing from this point forward.
Bonus Vocabulary volitive (adj.): denoting a verb or mood that expresses a desire (i.e. I want…)
keep your voices down (exp.): please speak softly
bother (v.): to annoy or irritate (usually in a small way)
in peace (exp.): without noise or interruption
from this point forward (exp.): from now on
Emotive interjections are used to express feelings and emotions such as disgust, fear, anger, surprise, shock, and joy. These types of interjections are typically unplanned reactions to something that has been said, seen, or heard.
Emotive interjections are generally used in place of “I feel…” expressions or statements and are related to the five senses (sight, smell, taste, sound, touch).
Check out how the following emotive interjections can be used.
Emotive Interjections * Yuck = This tastes bad. | I feel something is wrong with the flavor of this food.
* Ouch = That hurt. | I feel pain. | That sounds/looks painful.
* Brr = I’m cold. | I feel cold. | That looks/sounds cold.
* Phew = That is a relief. | I feel relieved.
* Wow = That’s great! | I feel great. | That sounds/looks great!
* Aww = That’s cute. | That's sweet. (Make sure you use happy intonation.)
To learn more about how to get perfect English intonation then check out our post on
Intonation & Stress.
Note: You can also use these interjections to express empathy for the person speaking.
* Aww…Look at that cute puppy.
* I passed my exam. Phew!
* You ate ice cream today? Are you crazy? It’s -2 outside. Brr…
* Wow! This tastes fantastic!
* Phew! The train hasn’t left yet. (Situation: A guy rushes to catch his train.)
* Ouch! (Grunt) Stupid hammer! (Situation: A guy hit his thumb with a hammer.)
* Aww… Thanks, honey. These flowers are beautiful. (Situation: A wife giving her husband flowers.)
* Situation: Two friends are talking about the dentist. Jekyll: So I went to the dentist today and they told me I need a root canal. Hyde: A root canal? Ouch! That’s going to sting a little. When?
* Situation: Two friends are talking about the weather. Ned: I hate winter! Did you know tomorrow is going to be -15 degrees? Kelly: Brr…That sounds cold. I’m going to rug up and stay inside.
Bonus Vocabulary emotive (adj.): to express one’s emotions; to be able to arouse intense feelings
catch (v.): to ride public transport (e.g. catch a bus, catch a taxi)
sting (v.): to be painful; to cause pain
rug up (v.): put on very warm clothes
hammer (n.): tool to hit nails; tool to bang things
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The following interjections are often used to react to information you have just heard. As you might notice, there is an overlap with some interjections, as certain interjections and reactions have more than one meaning or function.
Study how the following cognitive interjections and reactions can be used.
Cognitive Interjections & Reactions * Aha = Now I understand. | I get it.
* Duh = That is obvious. | I can’t believe I didn’t understand (I’m so silly.)
* Jeez = That is bad. | I’m frustrated. | I can’t believe it.
* Holy cow! = That news is not what I expected to hear. | I’m shocked.
* Oh my God! = That is terrible! | That is fantastic! | I can’t believe it!
* Damn = That is terrible! | That is fantastic! | I can’t believe it!
Note: Using interjections correctly often requires a good understanding of intonation and word stress in English. If you would like to learn more about improving your intonation and choosing which words to stress, please check out the
Using Correct Intonation
* Jeez! I can’t believe he got fired. He wasn’t that bad, was he?
* Holy cow! Did he really yell at the boss in front of everyone? Unbelievable!
* Damn! I’m really sorry to hear that you lost your job.
* Aha! Now I get it. Thanks. (Situation: Reacting to the teacher’s good instruction)
* Oh my God! That is fantastic! (Situation: Someone just told their friend they got engaged)
* Duh! Of course the capital of Korea is Seoul. (Situation: Someone correcting their mistake)
* Situation: Two friends talking about their friend’s bad news. Kim: Did you hear that MinSu just got caught stealing from her work? Ted: Oh my God! Really? I don’t believe it! There must be a mistake.
* Situation: Three friends are trying to make holiday plans. Larry: Bad news, guys. I tried to book our holiday but everything is sold out. Curly: Jeez! Really? Did you also try to book flights to New York? Larry: Yeap, but those flights are sold out also. Mo: Damn! That’s no good. What other options do we have?
Bonus Vocabulary Did you hear…? (exp.): used to introduce news you think the listener has not heard
sell out (v.): to sell all available products or service; having nothing left to sell
there must be a mistake (exp.): used to show that something is wrong or seemingly impossible