Is It Whoa or *Woah? | Meaning, Spelling & Examples
Whoa is an interjection traditionally used to command a horse (and sometimes a person) to slow down or stop. It can also be used to express surprise or shock. As an interjection, whoa is not used in formal or academic writing.
“Woah” is more popular in UK English than US English, but it’s not considered an accepted variant of whoa by many dictionaries. In US English, “woah” is still always considered nonstandard.
Whoa is an interjection
Whoa can be used as a volitive interjection to command an animal (typically a horse) or person to slow down or stop what they’re doing. Whoa is usually followed by an exclamation point to emphasize the intensity of the command or thought.
It can also be used as a cognitive interjection to express surprise or amazement.
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US vs. UK spellings
Frequently asked questions
- What punctuation mark is most closely associated with interjections?
Interjections are often followed by exclamation points to emphasize the intensity of an emotion, thought, or demand (e.g., “Whoa!”).
An interjection can also be followed by a period or a comma when the emotion or thought being expressed is less intense (e.g., “Oh. I didn’t know that.”).
- What are some examples of interjections?
An interjection can have different meanings depending on how it is used. Some common interjections, along with an explanation of how they are commonly used, are listed below.
Interjections Function Yes, um-hum, indeed, sure Used to express agreement Ew, yuck, ugh Used to express disgust Alas, damn, darn, dang, blast, shoot Used to express dissatisfaction Yay, woo-hoo, nice, yippee Used to express joy Whoa, wow Used to express surprise Hmm, er, um, well Used to express uncertainty
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