Like A Native: Expressive sounds: Wow!, Phew!, Oh!, etc.

In today’s episode of Like A Native I teach you guys a number of different expressive sounds used in English by native speakers, such as, “Wow!”, “Phew!”, and “Oh!”.

Like A Native: Expressive sounds: Wow!, Phew!, Oh!, etc.

G’day guys. Welcome to this episode of Like A Native. Today I want to teach you guys different kinds of expressive sounds or expressions that you would say as a native English speaker. And this is something that it’s not necessarily imperative for you to learn but it will definitely make you sound a lot more native-like when you speak English. So, anyway, let’s just dive in and get started.

So, the first one here guys is “Ow” or “Ouch”, and this is often said when you get hurt. So, if you hit your thumb with a hammer whilst trying to hammer a nail into a piece of wood you could say, “Ow! Ouch! Ow! Ow!”. If you stubbed your toe against the leg of your lounge room coffee table when you got up off the couch, you could hit your toe and it could really hurt, you could say, “Ouch! Ow! Ow! Ow!’. That’s the kind of sound that we use when we hurt ourselves.

“Oh” is often said when you’re surprised. So, when you suddenly realise something, “Oh! I remember!” or “Oh! Is that it? Is that what you mean?” or “Oh crap! Pete’s here!” you know, if you come into a room and suddenly you’re friend’s here you could be like, “Oh crap! Oh wow! Oh geez! Pete’s here! Oh! Pete’s here!”. It’s that sort of expression of surprise, you know, you’re really shocked, “Oh! Oh!”.

You can also use the sort of expression of “Oh” when you’re frustrated. So, you’ve asked someone to help you to do something but they keep making errors or are really clumsy. You could say, “Oh… don’t worry about it… Oh… don’t worry about it”. It’s more of like a sigh in this case. It’s like an “Ohhh… Oh…. Don’t worry about it. Forget it. Oh… Jesus… don’t worry. It’s all good. Oh!” But it’s kind of spelt the same way. So, it’s an “O-H”, “Oh”.

“Ah” is a sudden realisation, “Ah”, “A-H”. Again these aren’t really written. They’re kind of just said. So, when you suddenly realise something or you understand something for the first time. Say, you’ve just figured out a math problem, you’ve just solved it. You could say “Ahhhh! Ok, ok, I get it now! Ahhh!”. And this one as well you could say “Oh”. So, “Oh” or “Ah”, it’s that kind of expression of understanding or realisation. “Ahhhh I get it!” “Ohhhh I get it!” It’s that “Oh” or “Ah” sound. “Oh”, “Ah”.

Another one is “Ah”, “Um” or “Eh”, and these are all sounds someone says when they’re speaking in the middle of a sentence and they’re trying to indicate that they want to continue to speak, and you’ll probably have heard me say this quite a bit in these episodes when I’m thinking. So, I’ll often say “Eh” or “Um” or “Ah”, and, yeah, so let’s give you some examples. “I think I’m going to… um… go home now.”. “I think I’m going to… ah… go home now.”. “I think I’m going to… eh… go home now.”. So, it’s just a kind of sound that you make to indicate that you haven’t finished speaking. And it is the kind of thing that people will try and encourage you not to do if you’re public speaking, if you’re giving a talk or a presentation or something. It’s the kind of thing that we always get reminded, you know, don’t say “Ah” all the time. Don’t say “Um” all the time.

“Oh wow” or “Wow”, this is another one where you would say it when you’re surprised or impressed by something like “Oh wow! He just won that competition” or “Wow! You look amazing today! Oh wow! Look how good you look!”. “Oh wow! It’s time to go! We’re almost there!”. “Oh wow! It’s pretty late. We should probably leave!”.

“Yay” or “Woo”. “Yay” or “Woo” are often say when you’re happy or you have succeeded doing something. So, you might say “Woo! My team just won!” or “Yay! My team won!”. “Woo! I’m going to go and see my parents this weekend!” or “Yay! I’m going to go see my parents this weekend!”, “Yay! Woohoo! Wooo!” These are different sounds that you’ll make in English when you’re excited about something, you’re happy and you’ve succeeded.

The word “Man” or the word “Geez”. “Man” or “Geez” is often said as an exclamation. If you’re really hungry you might say, “Geez! I’m hungry!” or you could say, “Man! I’m hungry!”. If someone’s annoying you, you could say to them “Geez! You’re annoying” or you could say “Man! You’re annoying”.

“Aww” or “Naww”. “Aww”, “Naww”, these are often said when something is cute or adorable. So, imagine that someone’s just brought a new puppy home for you, you could say “Aww! Your puppy’s so cute!” or “Naww! Your puppy’s so cute!”. So, that’s “Aww” or “Naww”.

And the very last one that I’ll do today is “Phew”, and this is said when you’re feeling relieved about something. So, imagine you watch on TV that a boy has gone missing, and they’ve been looking for him for a few days. They finally find him. So, you’re relieved that they found him. You could say, “Oh! Phew! They found the missing boy alive.”. Or say that you want to watch a football match on TV and you thought you were going to arrive home late after it started. You could say, “Oh phew! We got home in time to watch the footy match!”, “Phew!” if you get home before it actually starts.

So, these are some of these different words that you can use that are kind of expressive sounds. They’re not really correct words, and they’re often only used in speech. You’d never write these. You would say them. You might write them only if you’re quoting something that someone said in a book of fiction or something. Anyway, that’s it for today guys. I hope you liked this episode. I hope it helps. And I’ll chat to you soon. Enjoy!


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