Looking for something to make your lessons go with a bang? Try Tim Bowen’s bang on article on word grammar.

The word bang can function as a verb (and also in several phrasal verbs), a noun, an adverb and an interjection.

As a verb it can be both transitive, as in ‘Don’t bang the door!’ or intransitive, as in ‘The shutter was banging in the wind’.

The noun can either mean a short loud noise or a knock or hit on a part of your body, as in ‘She got a nasty bang on the back of her head’. If something goes with a bang, it happens in a very exciting or successful way, as in ‘The party really went with a bang’.

The adverb form is used to emphasize that something is exactly in a particular position or that it happens at a particular time, as in ‘It’s a small town, bang in the middle of Ohio’ or ‘The train arrived bang on time’. If something is described as bang on, it is exactly right, as in ‘She showed a really good understanding of the situation and most of her comments were bang on’.

The expression bang goes followed by a noun phrase is used for saying that you now have no chance of getting something that you wanted, as in ‘For heaven’s sake. The airport’s closed because of fog. Bang goes our holiday!’

Apart from being used mainly by children to represent the sound made by a gun, the interjection bang can also be used when describing an event to show that something happened very quickly or suddenly, as in ‘One minute he was there and then, bang, the next minute I was alone’.