Confusing Words – Aah, Ah, Ahh, Aw, and Awe

The English language can be so confusing at times. Aah, ah, ahh, aw, and awe are all pronounced the same, but each one has a different meaning. I know that I’ve used at least one of them in the wrong way before. Chances are, so have you.

fear, PxHere

Aah is an interjection that is used as an exclamation to express fear. Someone could have jumped out and startled you, a deranged killer armed with a knife or an ax could be chasing you, or a strange noise could have just sent chills up your spine.

Aah! It’s biting me!

“Aah!” screamed the kids as they rounded the dark corner in the haunted house.

“Aah!” shrieked the woman when the strange man who had been chasing her laid his hand on her shoulder from behind.

Zoey with a surprised look on her face. picture by Amanda Gentry

Ah is also an interjection. It is used as an exclamation to express pleasure, realization, resignation, and surprise.

Ah, my love, your wish is my command.

“Ah! That is just what I want,” said the old man.

Ah! We won the tournament!

Ah! That is such an awesome gift!

Ahh is used to express realization and acceptance.

Ahh, I think I see what you mean now.

Ahh, you have always been such an awesome friend.

Ahh, this is the way it must be.

cute baby, pixabay

Aw is used when you see something you think is cute or adorable. It is also used to show feelings of great disappointment. A variant spelling is aww, but that is less popular.

Aw, that is such a cute baby!

Aw, did you see the baby goat touch noses with her mama?

Aw, if we had succeeded, so many opportunities would have been possible.

Aw, if only I had studied harder, maybe I would have at least gotten a passing grade on the test.

Cory Seager is in awe of Giancarlo Stanton’s performance during the T-Mobile-HR Derby, wikimedia commons

Awe is an overwhelming feeling of reverence, admiration, fear, etc., produced by that which is grand, sublime, extremely powerful. One can be in awe of God, political figures, sports players, actors or actresses, etc.

In awe of God’s power, she fell to her knees in worship.

Awe flooded through her when she saw the intricate wonders of the universe.

The new mother gazed through the nursery window in awe of the beautiful babies.

As they approached the top of the mountain, the climbers stood in awe of the formidable view below.

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