My last post was an introduction to the great country of Canada, the world’s second largest country, and the largest (by land and water size) English speaking country in the world. Today, I’m going to introduce you to a unique Canadian word, “eh”, and how English speakers in Canada use it. If you ever go to Canada, you will hear Canadians using the word/interjection “eh” in their speech, frequently. This “eh” is a big part of the Canadian-English accent.

So, let’s start by talking about what “eh” is. It is an interjection. An interjection is a word used to express an emotion or sentiment by a speaker.

Canadians commonly end sentences with the interjection “eh.” The interjection “eh” can mean many different things in English though, from “Excuse me,” to “Please repeat that,” or “huh? I didn’t understand.” But the Canadian “eh” doesn’t usually mean any of these things. In Canada “eh” is added to the end of statements for these reasons: 1) to check if a listener is understanding and listening to what one is saying; 2) to check for the listener’s continued interest; 3) to check for agreement; 4) to add emphasis to what one is saying; and 5) to turn a declarative sentence into a question (when this is done the “eh” is used to make a tag question, almost like a spoken question mark.

To help you better understand the use of the interjection “eh” that is part of the Canadian accent, here are some example sentences in which it is used.

“I’m going to class, eh, then stopping by the store on the way home.” (Use #1)

“My backpacking trip was over 5 days long and we saw some amazing scenery, eh.” (Use #2)

“Toronto is a really nice city, eh.” (Uses #3, 4, or 5)

“It is going to rain later today, eh.” (Uses #4 &5)

“Go clean your room before supper, eh.” (Use #4)

“What do you think? Not bad, eh?” (Use #5)

“You are pretty good at hockey, eh.” (Uses #4 & 5)

As you can see from these examples, most of the time that “eh” is used by Canadians it is added to the end of phrase or sentence.

If you ever travel to Canada you will likely find that you will pick up the use of the interjection “eh” in your own speech. It is quite common andcontagious, and now you know how to use it.