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I understand that 'really' is an adverb when it is describing an adjective in a sentence but what if it was an exclamation as in 'Really! I had no idea that was the case.' What part of speech would it be then?

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    I think it is still an adverb. Spoken on its own I think it should be followed by a question mark. Really?. It is an exclamation of disbelief, short for something like: Did that really happen? – WS2 Oct 29 '15 at 21:52
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It is supposed to be an interjection, just like "Indeed!" or "You're kidding!" It can still be viewed is an adverb ("Is that really so!"), but that would be a stretch, since it can also stand in for "I can't believe some people still think that Hals and Rembrandt knew each other personally," which is a complete sentence full of various parts of speech.

  • Yeah, I guess it can be an interjection since the speaker seems surprised. Thanks. – Dee90 Oct 29 '15 at 22:32

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