Wow, awesome, wonderful, and the like are good expressions and indeed they denote that you are happy because the event is happy. But I just came across a weird situation!

In India, medical students, when pass their finals, are placed for the internship where they learn things from their seniors. The purpose of such an internship is to learn newer things that they might have missed in their previous academic years.

Heart murmur is one of the abnormal heart sounds and we medical students seldom find such cases. Now, imagine that the senior got a patient with such 'murmur,' and he then asks the fresher to hear it because the fresher hasn't heard it ever. Here comes the question of expression!

Dr Anderson, senior doctor, after examining the patient : Ah, a clear case of heart valve defect; Dr Jackson, you should listen to this.
Dr Jackson, a fresher who has never heard that before : (EXPRESSION??????)

No word fits there! The event is not happy. He cannot utter wow, amazing, awesome, super... The patient is alive, listening to his utterance. The doctor wants to express something exclamatory but which word then? 'Damn, holy s**, nothing will work!

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    The answer to this is more about interpersonal skills than English. The first rule of speaking in front of a patient should be that you talk to the patient, or you moderate your language knowing that they are there. So, the response here should be explain to the patient what the issue is and comfort them—or to simply ask the doctor about it if you are not sure. But no extreme reaction would be appropriate. (That can wait until you are beyond the patient's hearing.) Commented Jul 18, 2018 at 2:23
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    I'd say "woahhhh...", or "hmmmmmm...", or "interesting...".
    – holydragon
    Commented Jul 18, 2018 at 2:40
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    You could take a cue from Star Trek's Dr. Spock: "Fascinating"
    – J.R.
    Commented Jul 18, 2018 at 2:44
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    Let's change the question for you! The patient is anesthetized...and the scene is in operation theater where a tumor is shown to a junior that he had never seen before. I think now the question should make some sense to you. :) @JasonBassford
    – Maulik V
    Commented Jul 18, 2018 at 2:57
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    @MaulikV how about "I have never seen this before!" or "That's new to me!"?
    – holydragon
    Commented Jul 18, 2018 at 3:35

1 Answer 1


You don't need exclamatory expressions. You aren't a tourist and you don't need to express your feelings.

In this exact context, say nothing. You could just say "Thank-you". If I'm a patient, I don't want doctors getting excited about my heart murmur. I probably want my doctors to have "calm confidence", so perhaps something like "I see" (meaning I understand) could be appropriate. You could just nod, wisely, to suggest "Ah yes I know exactly what I'm listening to."

If it is something that is actually interesting (but not life-threatening) you might use "How interesting." You can use the emotional phrases when you discuss it later with peers.

In the situation of an unconscious patient and a life-threatening tumour, you can say "Oh my!", "Oh dear!". But even now, this is a professional environment; you are there to learn; you should keep it professional. You can ask questions as appropriate, but you just don't need exclamatory expressions.

Another situation where something similar might arise when hearing someone's will and finding that you have a large inheritance. Comments like "I see", "Thank-you" work to indicate that you are listening and understanding, but not (yet) celebrating.

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