An interjection (感叹词) is a word or expression that occurs as an utterance on its own and expresses a spontaneous feeling or reaction. It expresses feelings and emotions but does not name them. It is usually placed at the beginning of a sentence.
The interjection 嗯 is the most popular interjection for chatting with the Chinese.
It has three meanings with different pronunciations:
1) expresses agreement.
Pronounced as ǹ or ǹg. It can be translated as “okay”, “yes”, “got it”, ”yup”.
Okay, got it
ǹg, zhīdào le
Yup, let’s do it
ǹg, jiù zhème zuò ba
Yes, I think so too
ǹ ǹ, wǒ yě zhèyàng juéde
2) expresses question or confusion.
Pronounced as ń or ńg. It can be translated as “huh?”, “well?”.
Huh? What did he say?
ń? tā shuō shénme
Huh? What are you doing right now?
ń? nǐ zài zuò shénme ne
Well? Why aren't you saying anything?
ń? nǐ zěnme bù shuōhuà le
3) expresses surprise
Pronounced as ň or ňg. It can be translated as “hmm!”, “strange!”.
What? Didn’t you meet him?
ň? nándào nǐ méi yùdào tā
Hmm, I didn't expect him to do that!
ňg! méi xiǎngdào tā huì zhèyàng
To type this character on the keyboard, you have to enter the letters “en”.