Spanish Exclamations and Interjections: Little words that pack a punch!

Spanish exclamations and interjections

Get our free email course, Shortcut to Conversational.

Have conversations faster, understand people when they speak fast, and other tested tips to learn faster.

More info

Interjections and exclamations are common expressions in every language. We all need to express ourselves and our feelings sometimes, and using certain Spanish exclamations or interjections is often the best way to do it.

Interjections are expressions native speakers normally use to express emotions such as surprise, frustration, happiness, and so on. We use them most when speaking, as opposed to in writing.

In today’s post we’ll go through all of the most common Spanish interjections that native speakers use on a regular basis. Once we define what we mean by an interjection, we’ll start with short single-word exclamations in Spanish, broken down by the emotions or feelings that they get across. Then we’ll move on to short phrases that are also used as exclamations in Spanish, explaining the proper context for each one. We’ll provide plenty of examples to see each Spanish exclamation in use, and we’ll finish up with a short quiz so you can practice what you’ve learned.

Now without further ado, let’s get started!

Spanish Interjections

Interjections are small words or phrases that are used to express feelings, to convey emotions, to imitate sounds, or to get someone’s attention. Think of English examples like Wow!, Ouch! or Hurra!. Interjections can be used independently as a stand-alone sentence, or they can appear within a longer sentence. They are often used abruptly in conversation to interrupt the discourse.

Spanish interjections are also considered to be exclamations because they always bear exclamation marks. We use two exclamation marks, one at the beginning and one at the end:

  • ¡Anda! Dime la verdad. – C’mon! Tell me the truth.
  • ¡Guau! ¡Qué hermoso carro! – Wow! What a beautiful car!

Although Spanish exclamations were once primarily used only in the spoken language, many are also commonly used nowadays when we communicate digitally. In today’s post we’ll focus on the Spanish interjections used when speaking; for others that are used when chatting or texting with friends over the phone, check out our post on Spanish text message abbreviations.

Spanish interjections may appear to be short, simple words, but they have a lot of power when it comes to expressing emotions. Let’s see them in action now!

To provide a clear explanation of Spanish interjections and exclamations, we’ve categorized them according to the contexts where they’re used. It’s important to note, however, that many interjections can be used in different situations, with slightly different meanings in different contexts. In other words, you may come across the same Spanish exclamations with multiple meanings.

To express surprise

If you’re looking for a Spanish expression of surprise, here we present a list of interjections that we use to express shock or surprise in Spanish slang.

Spanish interjection English version
¡Anda! No way!
¡Ay! Woah!
¡Cielos! Heavens!
¡¿Qué?! What?!
¡Uy! Wow!
¡Válgame Dios! Good God!
¡Vaya! Wow!
  • ¡Anda! No puedo creer que ganaste la lotería. – No way! I can’t believe you won the lottery.
  • ¡Ay! ¡Qué susto! – Woah! What a scare!
  • ¡Cielos! ¿Ya pasó un mes desde que te fuiste? – Heavens! It’s already been a month since you left?
  • ¿Te enteraste de que Marcela se mudó al extranjero. / ¡¿Qué?! No sabía que quería mudarse. – Did you know Marcela moved abroad? / What?! I didn’t know she wanted to move.
  • ¡Uy! No sabía que ibas a llegar tan temprano. – Wow! I didn’t know you were going to arrive so early.
  • ¡Válgame Dios! ¿Cómo es posible que hayas aprendido tan rápido? – Good God! How is it possible that you’ve learned so fast?
  • ¡Vaya! No pensé que reaccionarías así. – Wow! I didn’t think you would react like this.

Now that we’ve seen examples with each Spanish expression of shock, let’s continue with a completely different feeling.

To express disappointment, anger, or frustration

If you need to let out some negative feelings, the following Spanish exclamations will do their magic.

Spanish interjection English version
¡Ay! Aw!
¡Caramba! Dang!, Gosh!
¡Diablos! Damn!
¡Joder! Darn!
¡Maldición! Damn!
¡Pucha! Drat!, Whoops!
¡Qué lástima! What a pity!
¡Qué pena! What a pity!
¡Rayos! Shoot!
¡Uf! Ugh!
  • ¡Ay! No me hables así. – Aw! Don’t speak to me like that.
  • ¡Caramba! Otra vez se me cayó el celular al piso. – Gosh! I dropped the cell phone on the floor again.
  • ¡Diablos! ¿Por qué tengo tanta mala suerte? – Damn! Why am I so unfortunate?
  • ¡Joder! ¿Puedes dejar de hacer ruido? – Darn! Would you stop making noise?
  • Se me rompió una uña. ¡Maldición! – I broke a nail. Damn!
  • ¡Pucha! Perdimos el tren. – Whoops! We missed the train.
  • Cuando llegaron a tu casa, ya te habías ido. ¡Qué lástima! – When they got to your house, you’d already gone. What a pity!
  • ¡Rayos! No encuentro mi documento de identidad. – Shoot! I can’t find my ID.
  • ¡Uf! Todavía no ha llegado el regalo. – Ugh! The gift hasn’t arrived yet.

To express fear

Experiencing fear is another common emotion that can arise suddenly. In this list you’ll find the most common Spanish interjections that you may suddenly cry out in fear.

Spanish interjection English version
¡Dios mío! Oh my God!
¡Madre mía! Oh, my!
¡Qué horror! How terrifying!
¡Qué susto! What a fright!
  • ¡Dios mío! ¡Qué trueno tan fuerte! – Oh my God! What a loud thunderclap!
  • ¡Madre mía! Ahí viene el lobo. – Oh, my! Here comes the wolf.
  • Los ladrones le apuntaron con un arma. ¡Qué horror! – The thieves pointed a gun at him. How terrifying!
  • Estuvimos a punto de caer al precipicio. ¡Qué susto!  – We were about to fall down the cliff. What a fright!

To express admiration or amazement

When the occasion calls for showing your amazement, we offer you these Spanish interjections that are often expressed loud and clear.

Spanish interjection English version
¡Cáspita! Gosh!
¡Guau! Wow!
¡Impresionante! Impressive!
¡Maravilloso! It’s marvelous!
¡Qué bárbaro! That’s amazing!
  • ¡Cáspita! ¡Qué frío hace hoy! – Gosh! It’s freezing today!
  • ¡Guau! Eres muy bueno tocando la guitarra. – Wow! You’re so good at playing guitar.
  • ¡Impresionante! Pudo aguantar la respiración tres minutos. – Impressive! She could hold her breath for three minutes.
  • Ganaron el partido de fútbol 6 a 0. ¡Maravilloso! – They won the soccer game 6-0. It’s marvelous!
  • ¡Qué bárbaro! Ese acróbata hizo una pirueta increíble. – That’s amazing! That acrobat performed an incredible flip.

To express disgust

Who hasn’t gone through a disgusting situation like smelling trash on the street or seeing creepy insects? Well, we have the perfect Spanish exclamations for those situations.

Spanish interjection English version
¡Asqueroso! Yuck!
¡Guácala! Gross!
¡Puaj! Yuck!
¡Qué asco! Disgusting!
  • ¡Mira esos bichos! ¡Qué asco! – Look at those bugs! Disgusting!
  • No me gustan los mariscos. ¡Puaj! – I don’t like seafood. Yuck!
  • Y ese olor a basura… ¡Asqueroso! – And that smell of trash… Yuck!
  • ¡Guácala! Encontré un cabello en mi comida. – Gross! I found a hair in my food.

To express approval, happiness, and encouragement

Now let’s move on to some more positive feelings! Here we have a list of the most common exclamations in Spanish that are used to express approval, happiness, or even encouragement.

Spanish interjection English version
¡Arriba! Hooray!
¡Bravo! Bravo!
¡Excelente! Excellent!
¡Genial! Great!
¡Hurra! Hurrah!
¡Qué alegría! How great!
¡Vamos! Come on!
¡Viva! Long live!, Yay!
¡Vale!, ¡Dale!, ¡Ándale! Ok!, Alright!

Many of these Spanish interjections are regional slang terms. To express approval that’s equivalent to Alright! or Ok! in English, for example, ¡Dale! is used in Argentina, ¡Vale! in Spain, and ¡Ándale! in Mexico. Now let’s see the rest of them in action.

  • ¡Bravo! Chicos hicieron un excelente trabajo. – Bravo! Guys you did an excellent job.
  • Finalmente, pudimos llegar a tiempo. ¡Genial! – Finally, we managed to arrive on time. Great!
  • ¡Hurra! Nuestro equipo ganó el campeonato. – Hurrah! Our team won the championship.
  • ¿Vamos al teatro esta noche? / ¡Dale! – Shall we go to the cinema tonight? / Ok!
  • ¡Arriba, Boca Juniors! – Hooray, Boca Juniors!
  • «¡Viva el asado!», dijo el cocinero. – “Long live the barbacue!,” said the chef.
  • ¡Vamos! Estamos por ganar. – Come on! We’re about to win.
  • ¡Excelente! Ganaste. Te felicito. – Excellent! You win. Congratulations.

To get someone’s attention

The Spanish exclamations in this section are used when we need to alert someone to a dangerous situation, or even to just get someone’s attention in a conversation.

Spanish interjection English version
¡Ey! Hey!
¡Cuidado! Be careful!
¡Fíjate! Watch out!, Take a look!
¡Ojo! Look out!, Look!
  • ¡Ey! Vamos para allá. – Hey! Let’s go that way.
  • ¡Fíjate! Creo que ese es el chef de la tele. – Look! I think that’s the chef from TV.
  • ¡Cuidado! No te acerques al borde del pozo, es peligroso. – Watch out! Don’t get close to the edge of the gap, it’s dangerous.
  • ¡Ojo! Hay un escalón allí. – Look out! There’s a step there.

Spanish expressions used as exclamations

So far we’ve seen many single-word Spanish interjections, broken down into sections by the meaning they convey. Now we’ll present some of the most common Spanish exclamations that are in the form of short phrases. Native speakers use these in a variety of situations to express distinct emotions. We’ll go through the various Spanish phrases of surprise and excitement one by one.

¡Qué fuerte!

Wow!, How upsetting!

We use this phrase when discussing something sad, worrisome, or difficult.

  • Nos acabamos de divorciar. / ¡Qué fuerte! Lo siento. – We just got divorced. / Wow! I’m sorry.

¡Qué rabia!


This one’s for when we feel frustrated, or when we’re getting mad about something.

  • Otra vez perdí el juego. ¡Qué rabia! – I lost the game again. Aargh!

¡Qué bueno!

It’s so good!, How good!

We use this Spanish exclamation when we feel particularly happy about someone or something. See our related post for a full lesson on bueno in Spanish.

  • ¡Qué bueno que viniste! Te estaba esperando. – How good that you’ve come! I was waiting for you.

¡Qué sorpresa!

What a surprise!

We use this Spanish expression of surprise when something happens unexpectedly.

  • No sabía que ibas a venir hoy. ¡Qué sorpresa! – I didn’t know you were coming today. What a surprise!

¡Qué divertido!

How funny! So much fun!

This Spanish exclamation is one of our favorites! Whenever you’re having a great time, this phrase is the best one to describe that feeling.

  • Ayer fuimos a la montaña rusa. ¡Qué divertido! – Yesterday we rode on the rollercoaster. It was so much fun!

¡Claro!, ¡Por supuesto!

Sure!, Of course

To show agreement and enthusiasm, both of these Spanish exclamations are equally common.

  • ¿Les parece bien ir al cine esta noche? / ¡Claro! – Does it sound good to you if we go to the movies tonight? / Sure!
  • ¿Crees que tengo razón? / ¡Por supuesto! – Do you think I’m right? / Of course!

¡Claro que no!, ¡Por supuesto que no!

Of course not!

Adding a negation to the previous expressions gives the opposite effect. We use either one to exclaim Of course not! in Spanish.

  • Tú tienes que pagar la cuenta hoy. / ¡Claro que no! – You have to pay the bill today. / Of course not!
  • Hoy tienen que limpiar el cuarto ustedes. / ¡Por supuesto que no! Nosotros los hicimos la última vez – Today you have to clean the room. / Of course not! We cleaned it last time.

¡Menos mal!


This expression is used when we need to show relief. We use it to indicate that a difficult or dangerous situation has passed, or that a dreaded situation is finally not going to happen at all.

  • La profe no nos tomó el examen. ¡Menos mal! No había estudiado. – The teacher didn’t give us the exam. Whew! I hadn’t studied.


Enough already!, Stop it!

This Spanish interjection can be used to express that you’ve had enough of something already, or to implore that a particular action should come to an end. We introduce ¡basta! in our post on different ways to say Stop! in Spanish.

  • ¡Basta! No griten más. Me duele la cabeza. – Enough! Stop shouting. I have a headache.


So much…, So many…

When we want to make an exclamation about a quantity, or to express a feeling of abundance or intensity, we use the construction ¡Cuánto + noun!. This can apply to various things, such as money, traffic, people, or anything else that has a quantity.

  • ¡Cuánto dinero! No pensé que tendríamos tanto. – So much money! I didn’t think we had that much.
  • ¡Cuánto tráfico! Será difícil llegar a tiempo. – So much traffic! It’ll be hard to be on time.
  • ¡Cuántas preguntas! Responderé solo algunas. – So many questions! I’ll answer just a few.

Note that cuánto may change to cuánta, cuántos, or cuántas, according to the gender or number of the noun it refers to. We have a full post on how to use these Spanish interrogatives of quantity.


¡Bravo! You’ve reached the end of this post on Spanish exclamations and interjections! As you’ve surely noticed, these little words and phrases are awesome tools that help us express our emotions and feelings in different languages.

Spanish native speakers love using these expressions to show surprise, frustration, happiness, and more, all in a totally natural way.

We’ve explored a bunch of cool interjections grouped by the emotions they help to express, along with some other popular exclamations in Spanish, so you can jump right into conversations and sound like a native speaker.

To finish off the lesson, we’ve prepared some exercises so you can see how well you’ve grasped the uses of these Spanish exclamation words and phrases. ¡Qué bueno!


Choose the right Spanish interjection from among the options. The answers and translations are below.

1. ¡_____! (Cielos / Ay / Basta) ¡Cuánto has crecido!

2. ¡_____! (Pucha / Claro / Exelente) He perdido mis anteojos.

3. ¡_____! (Qué susto / Arriba / Maravilloso) No sabía que estabas aquí. Casi me muero del miedo.

4. ¡_____! (Cuánto tráfico / Qué asco / Qué bueno) Hay cucarachas en mi cama.

5. ¡_____! (Puaj / Por supuesto que no / Viva) Nos vamos de vacaciones.

6. ¡_____! (Menos mal / Ojo / Qué divertido) El suelo está mojado. Te vas a resbalar.


1. ¡Cielos! ¡Cuánto has crecido! – Heavens! You’ve grown so much!

2. ¡Pucha! He perdido mis anteojos. – Gosh! I’ve lost my glasses.

3. ¡Qué susto! No sabía que estabas aquí. Casi me muero del miedo. – What a scare! I didn’t know you were here. I almost died of fear.

4. ¡Qué asco! Hay cucarachas en mi cama. – Yuck! There are cockroaches in my bed.

5. ¡Viva! Nos vamos de vacaciones. – Yay! We’re going on vacation.

6. ¡Ojo! El suelo está mojado. Te vas a resbalar. – Watch out! The floor is wet. You’re going to slip.


Get our FREE 7-day email course, Shortcut to Conversational

The exact strategies you need to become conversational in Spanish this year. Join the course now, before we come to our senses and charge for it!

This blog is presented by BaseLang: Unlimited Spanish Tutoring for $179 a Month. Learn more here.