“Oh, well, whatever, never mind.”
Kurt Cobain, an American singer-songwhiter
Oh is an interjection, a word used to express a strong emotion. Interestingly, this particular interjection can be used in a lot of different situations for several reasons. Let’s see how and when we can use it correctly.
You can use oh to express emotions like happiness (1), surprise (2), anger (3), fear (4) and disappointment (5).
Oh, what a great view! (1)
Oh, what a mess! (2 or 3)
Oh dear, we are going to hit that tree if we don’t slow down right now! (4)
Oh God*, I’m so scared I can’t even get close to the edge! (4)
Oh no, how could you forget about about our anniversary?! (5)
*Oh God offends some people, so please be careful.
Oh, I nearly forgot!
You can use oh when you’ve just remembered something.
Oh Chris, I forgot to tell you I’d found the keys.
I bought some milk, bread and eggs. Oh yeah, I also bought some coffee.
Oh by the way, don’t bother doing the laundry because it’s going to rain.
Oh, I didn’t know!
Use oh when you want to emphasize your surprise and keep a conversation going smoothly.
Mark just called. – Oh, did he? – Yeah, he said he would come for dinner. – Oh, I see*.
We should be done by the end of the day. – Oh, really?
I’m sorry I lied to you back then. – Oh, don’t worry.
*Oh I see is a nice phrase to use when showing understanding. A similar phrase is oh right.
Press this button to turn on the device. – Oh right.
Click the link here and sort out the sentences according to what oh is used for.
Did you like this post? Check out “Common Interjections” to learn more words to express all kinds of emotions in English and practice using the vocabulary. 😉