Would this emphatic expression be used with other pronouns and other tenses?

Boy, am I tired!

Would you give an example for each tense. An example for all cases would be best but not necessary. Seeing is believing, I mean, understanding!

These are the kinds of patterns I have in mind. You could use them as a guide but you do not have to fill in.

Set 1

  • Boy, is he ...
  • Boy, are you ...
  • Boy, are they ...

Set 2

  • Boy, was he ...
  • Boy, were we ...

Set 3

  • Boy, does he ...
  • Boy, did they ...

From a link provided by Alan Carmack, definition of boy exclamation from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary

  • Boy, it sure is hot!
  • Oh boy! That's great!
  • Boy, it hurts!
  • Boy, am I glad to see you!
  • They eat it for breakfast and boy is it good!

Thank you, but I do not feel it fully answers my question. When it comes to languages, I cannot generalize; language is not always logical. I do not want to resort to guesses; that is not knowledge.

I hope my question conforms to the rules of the site. It is specific, and clear.

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    I think anything (that's grammatical as an exclamation) goes in Boy, ... This should work, too: Boy, what a man! :P -- (BTW, I think I sometimes write it like this: Boy! What a man! I don't know which one is more common, but I think both are fine.) Commented Jul 31, 2016 at 17:59
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    @learner - Tense has no relation to Boy, nor to Gee whillikers nor to Jumping Butterballs, nor to any other exclamation. I could say Jumping Butterballs, would that he were as he had been! and not be concerned with tense as regards the exclamation. Or do I misunderstand your question? Commented Jul 31, 2016 at 18:12

3 Answers 3


In general, the expression you are asking about

Oh boy!

is tense independent. You are using the short form of simply "boy!"

It is the same in meaning as

My goodness!
Take note!
Oh my!

and is used to call attention to something.

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    Thanks for the tip. It's just I almost always find it as in "Boy, am I ..." with few variations. It was odd I did not notice the use of man instead as in "Man, am I ...". The inversion is largely bound to boy not man. This is what I have seen. Of course, I am non-native and obviously still learning
    – learner
    Commented Jul 31, 2016 at 19:32

Both set one and two are used in English. Set 3 can also be used, though less common.

Set 1

  • Boy, is he energetic today.
  • Boy, are you tired this morning.
  • Boy, are they loud during class time!

Set 2

  • Boy, was he working hard yesterday.
  • Boy, were we young back then.

Set 3

  • Boy, does that fish smell bad.
  • Boy, did they have fun at the concert last night.

Boy am I.... and Man am I.... both exist, but using "boy" gives it an air of childish exuberance, whereas "man" seems more like either you're high, or complaining.

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