Spanish Exclamations! 34 Interjections You Should Know
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Exclamations in Spanish! 34 Interjections You Should Know

Exclamations in Spanish TW

Hey there! Today we're going to look at exclamations!!! Please forgive me if I get excited with the exclamation points.

WARNING: First things first, this article contains language that may offend, so please proceed with caution, and don't read on if under the age of 18.

Right, let's get to it! As you've probably noticed in Spanish, we don't just use an ordinary exclamation point, we also use an inverted (upside down) one. The purpose of this is that it marks both the beginning and the end of the exclamation. 

The upside down one can even go halfway through a sentence. So, in the example 'Acabo de comer una tarta de chocolate, ¡ñamñam!' ('I've just had a chocolate cake, nom!'), the first part isn't an exclamation. It's only the '¡ñamñam!' that's the exclamation.

Positives!

Let's start with positive exclamations:

¡guau!

‘Wow!’

Tienes un coche nuevo. ¡Guau!You have a new car. Wow!

¡anda!

‘Wow!’/’would you look at that!’

¡Anda, tu chaqueta parece muy cara!Wow, your jacket looks really expensive!

¡órale!

This one is a Mexicanism, and is used in loads of different contexts. It can be used as a kind of ‘okay’ or an exclamatory ‘wow!’/’yikes!’

¿Ganaste el concurso? ¡Órale!You won the competition? Wow!

¡hala!

Real Madrid soccer fans use this often:  '¡hala Madrid!'. It roughly translates as ‘come on!’ or ‘wow!’

Mira ese gol. ¡Hala!Look at that goal. Come on!

¡bravo!

This one has made its way into English, too. You know what it means (‘very good!’).

(After watching a performance:) ¡Bravo!Bravo!

¡ñam!

Bit of onomatopoeia here. It means ‘yum!’/'nom!’

¡Ñam, qué rico!Yum, how tasty!

¡olé!

You might've heard of this one in the world of bullfighting. It’s sort of a generic shout of encouragement/support.

(After a bullfighter kills a bull:) ¡Olé!Hurrah!

¡menos mal!

This is an exclamation of relief: ‘just as well!’/'thank God!’

—Wysh ha terminado con Miguel.
—¡Menos mal! Era un idiota.
“Wysh has finished with Miguel.”
“Just as well! He was an idiot.”

¡muy bien!

We like to use this one to praise your good work. It means ‘very good!’

—Saqué un 8 en el examen.
—¡Muy bien!
“I got 8 out of 10 in the exam.”
“Very good!”

¡eso es!

Can be used as ‘indeed!’ or as an encouragement, for example when showing someone how to do something.

—Gira el volante a la izquierda.
—¿Así?
—¡Eso es!
“Turn the steering wheel to the left.”
“Like this?”
“That’s it!”

Negatives!

Right, everyone needs to vent sometimes—let’s look at some negative exclamations.

¡Dios (mío)!

‘Oh (my) God!’

¡Dios mío! ¡Me han robado el móvil!Oh my God! Someone’s stolen my phone!

¡por Dios!

‘For God’s sake!’

Por favor, no pongas tus zapatos sucios sobre la mesa. ¡Por Dios!Please, don’t put your dirty shoes on the table. For God's sake!

¡Hostia!

This literally means ‘host’ (as referred to religiously). It’s used figuratively as ‘damn!’/'bloody hell!

¡Hostia, casi me chocó ese coche!Shit, that car nearly hit me!

¡caramba!

Another sweary interjection: ‘damn it!’/’for crying out loud!

Perdimos el contrato. ¡Caramba!We lost the contract. Damn it!

¡madre mía!

Literally, this one means ‘mother of mine,’ but is actually used like, ‘my, my!’

Madre mía, ¿has visto su vestido? Es hermosísimo.My my, have you seen her dress? It’s stunning.

¡maldición!

A ‘maldición’ can be a hex or a curse word. It also means ‘damn it!’

¡Maldición! Me van a despedir.Damn it! They’re going to fire me.

¡puaf!/¡puf!/¡uf!

We’ve got a bit more onomatopoeia going on here, for when you find something gross.

Acabo de comer queso vegano. ¡Puaf!I just had some vegan cheese. Yuck!/Ugh!

¡uf!

This isn’t just used for disgust. It’s also a super useful sound for exhaustion, or expressing ‘wow’ or a general sense of 'oof.'

¡Uf, qué cansada te ves!Wow, you look so tired!
—Mi perro murió ayer.
—¡Uf, qué fuerte!
"My dog died yesterday."
"Oof, that's intense!"

¡por favor!

You’ve probably learnt this one already! It means ‘please!’ (Try saying it with the intonation of 'oh, puh-lease!'

—¿Crees que estoy gorda?
—¡Por favor!
“Do you think I look fat?”
“Oh, please!”

¡hombre!

Strictly translated, 'hombre' means 'man,' but it can also be used as a kind of 'duuude!'

Hombre, ¡¿qué haces?!Dude, what are you doing?!

¡¿qué?!

Pretty common Spanish word meaning ‘what?!

—Tengo que decirte algo. Te quiero.“I have to tell you something. I love you.”
—¡¿Qué?!“What?!”

¡calla!/¡cállate

There’s an important difference between ‘calla’ and ‘cállate.’ ‘Calla’ means 'be quiet,’ whereas ‘¡cállate!’ is a much harsher ‘shut up!

—Estoy estudiando. Calla, por favor.
—No.
—¡CÁLLATE, HE DICHO!
“I’m studying. Be quiet, please.”
“No.”
“SHUT UP, I SAID!”

¡fíjate!

‘Look at that!’

(Seeing something cool on the street:) ¡Fíjate!Look!

¡joder!

Put plainly, this means ‘fuck!’. To make yourself sound like a true Spaniard, add a tut just before the curse word.

(After stubbing your toe:) ¡Joder!Fuck!

¡mierda!

'Shit!' An alternative to 'joder.' Don't forget to tut.

(Realizing you've left your wallet at home:) ¡Mierda!Shit!

¡no!

This is one of the simplest.

(After being told bad news:) ¡No!No!

¡ayuda!/¡socorro!

These are both cries for help. ‘Socorro’ also translates as ‘SOS.’

(When you get locked in the bathroom:) ¡Socorro!Help!

Neutral ones ...

You have quite a few exclamations at your disposal that are neutral. They can be put into a positive or negative context, depending on how you feel!

¡vaya!

This could swing either way, from positive ('wow!') to negative ('damn!') or even just indifferent ('well well').

—No creía que tus amigos lograran venir a tu fiesta, pero sí que vienen.
—¡Vaya!
"I didn't think your friends would make it to your party, but they are coming."
"Wow!"
¡Vaya! Se me agotó la batería.Damn! My battery ran out.
—¿qSabías ue Ellie ya tiene novio?
—Vaya.
"Did you know that Ellie has a boyfriend now?"
"Well well."

¡ay!

More of a sound than a word, you'll hear this one a lot. Surround yourself with Spanish speakers long enough and it might start slipping out of your mouth instead of 'oh!' or 'ah!' or 'shoot!' when you find yourself unpleasantly surprised.

¡Ay, me pisaste el pie!Ah, you stood on my foot!
¡Ay, se me olvidó ir a la cita con Elías!Shoot, I forgot to go on the date with Elías!

¡no puedo creerlo!/¡no me lo puedo creer!/¡no me lo creo!

This one's simple: 'I can't believe it!'

¿Kirsten y Omar se divorcian después de dos semanas de matrimonio? ¡No me lo puedo creer!Kirsten and Omar are divorcing after two weeks of marriage? I can't believe it!

qué

'Qué' is suuuper versatile. It means ‘what,’ but can also be used as ‘how,’ as you can see in the following examples:

¡Qué bonita estás!How pretty you look!
¡Qué susto!What a fright you gave me!
¡Qué rollo!What a mess!
¡Qué fuerte!How strong! (That’s intense!)
¡Qué X más Y!What a Y X!
¡Qué día más perfecto!What a perfect day!
¡Qué hombre más maleducado!What a rude man!
¡Qué X tan Y!What a Y X!
¡Qué día más horrible!What a horrible day!
¡Qué mujer más espléndida!What a splendid woman!

cómo

'Cómo' means ‘how,’ and using it with exclamations can be pretty straightforward. We use it with a verb.

¡Ay, cómo canta tu hija!Oh, how your daughter sings!
¡Uf, cómo llueve!Oof, (look) how much it's raining!

cuán

'Cuán' (or 'cuan') is now outdated so you won't need to use it, but you might see it in literature. It’s placed before phrases consisting of an adjective/adverb then a verb phrase. It can be translated as 'how.'

¡Cuán grande fue su pena cuando falleció su esposo!How she grieved when her husband passed away!

cuánto/a/os/as

Don't forget to make sure this one agrees with its corresponding noun(s). It literally translates as 'how much' or 'how many.'

¡Cuánto tiempo!How much time! (How long it's been since we last spoke!)
¡Madre mía, cuánto lo quiero!Oh my, how much I love him!/Oh my, I love him so much!
¡Cuántas flores!How many flowers!/What a lot of flowers!

¡Muy bien!

Now you have a list of exclamatory words and phrases to use in Spanish. Go forth, amigos, and exclaim!

About the Author Annabel Beilby

Annabel is a language-enthusiast from the UK. She studied Spanish and French at the University of Southampton (with an Erasmus study year in Madrid!) and recently graduated. She has interests across the Spanish-speaking world, and is a fan of language in general.

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