Spanish Grammar: Exclamatory Words

Using exclamatory words and expressions is a common way of conveying strong feelings or an opinion in the Spanish language. Exclamatory words can change a simple statement into a statement of suprise, anger, or amazement. Common exclamatory words include Qué, Cómo, Cuán, and Cuánto. Notice how exclamatory words all have a written accent. Consider the following examples.

There are so many cats in this house!
¡Cuántas gatas hay en esta casa!
What a tall tree!
¡Qué alto es este arbol!
She lies all the time!
¡Cuántas mentiras siempre dice!
How handsome you are!
¡Qué guapo eres!

Qué

Qué is used as an exclamatory word in front of nouns, adverbs, and adjectives to mean "how ..." or "what a ..." Read and listen to the following examples, then repeat each out loud.

What a woman!
¡Qué mujer!
What a handsome man!
¡Qué hombre más guapo!
You are so smart!
¡Qué inteligente eres!
How fast time flies!
¡Qué rápido vuela el tiempo!

Cómo

Cómo is used as an exclamatory word in front of verbs to express suprise or amazement at how an action was performed or took place. Read and listen to the following examples, then repeat each out loud.

It's snowing hard!
¡Cómo nieva!
That boy runs fast!
¡Cómo corre ese chico!
How he fights!
¡Cómo pelea!
How we celebrated Christmas this year!
¡Cómo festejamos la navidad este año!

Cuán

Cuán is used as an exclamatory word mostly in books and works of literature. Read and listen to the following examples, then repeat each out loud.

What a cursed boy!
¡Cuán maldito chico!
How happy I feel!
¡Cuán feliz me siento!

Cuánto

Cuánto is used as an exclamatory word (1) in front of nouns to express surpise at an amount and (2) in front of verbs to place emphasis on the action being performed. Read and listen to the following examples, then repeat each out loud.

I hate him so much!
¡Cuánto le odio!
How much money he has!
¡Cuánto dinero tiene!
How many miracles we have seen!
¡Cuántos milagros hemos visto!
What a lot of cats!
¡Cuántas gatas!
I ran so much today!
¡Cuánto corrí hoy!

Common Exclamatory Words, Phrases and Interjections

Below is a list of some of the most common stand-alone words and phrases used to express a very strong feeling or opinion in Spanish.

Goodness gracious!
¡Caramba!
Good heavens!
¡Cielos!
God help me!
¡Por dios!
Go away!
¡Anda!
See here!
¡Mire!
Let’s go!
¡Vamos!
Poor me!
¡Ay de mí!
Yuck!
¡Aj!
Oops!
¡Anda!
Be quiet!
¡Calla!
Be quiet!
¡Cállese!
Be careful!
¡Cuidado!
Listen here!
¡Oye!
Here!
(take this)
¡Toma!
Of course!
¡Claro!
Indeed!
¡Vaya!
Ouch!
¡Ah!
Poor him!
¡Desgraciado de él!