This is something that peeves a lot of people: mixing up the words awe, aw, ah, and aah!
Awe, as a noun, means a humility-inducing dread, deep honor, or wonder at something or someone.
When I study the immensity of the universe, awe fills my finite little head until it could literally* explode.
Awe can also be a verb. Napoleon Dynamite sure knows how to awe a crowd with his sweet moves.
But then there's aw-the-interjection. What do you feel? Perhaps aw can handle it for you. It's all in the inflection.
Empathy: Aw, I'm really sorry your cellphone fell in your tea.
Gushy enthusiasm: Aw! I love hedgehogs and their teency little eyes and mouths. Look at those little paws.
Sentimentality (maybe still with some mushiness): Aw, this little polecat has a sad.
We're still in Interjection Land, but these two are not nearly as diverse as aw. Ah, is an interjection which communicates, "I get it." If a small, determined child, say, were making a passionate appeal, you might calmly respond:
Ah, I see you're really invested in this. You need to let go of my ankle now.
But if you look down and see a zombie attached to your ankle, then Aah!
Got it? Good. I can hear Burton Guster in my head saying, "Aw, yeah!" (which brings me to topic number two.)
Here it is: people also choose the wrong word when they're trying to say yay, yeah, and yea.
Yay! equals confetti. Squee! I'm so pumped about this!
Then there's the nod. When you want to offer a casual yes, you can use yeah.
Ooh! Oooh! *waves hand around for acknowledgement* Can it also be used if I'm totally fired up about something? Yeah! It can! Do it. Go ahead and be confident about it.
Yea, verily I speak the truth unto you.This one, people don't use so much anymore. Jesus might. But He also might not. I guess it depends on your Bible translation. Shakespeare liked it, and there's a time and a place for it. Do you think we should still use it? Want to vote? Yea or nay?
*Let's vote on this:
The way I used "literally" in the sentence above (about my head exploding in awe) was perfectly fine.
Yea? Nay? Vote in the comment section below. Literally.
Siren's Fury goes to: Alycia Morales!
And Lynn Huggins Blackburn gets Saving Yesterday!
Winners, please email me at bethany@alittleredink(dot)com and give me your mailing address so these fab authors can get your new treasure into your hands.
And here's a timely flashback. I'm seeing this li'l nugget more and more. Thank you, social media.
Photo cred (and maybe street cred) to yellowblade67 ,Art Siegel, and @Doug88888 on Flickr.