Why do we say 'um', 'er', or 'ah' when we hesitate in speaking?

Ummmm, I always mmmm wondered about aaahhh this, hmmm why do we say mmmm, or ummmm when we hmmm want to say something. Well, according to Dr Stephen Juan, in a two way converstation, you say hmm or any other expression to indicate that you you still have more to say and to signal that you should not be interuppted.

Makes you go hmmm, full article is here.


  1. hehehe

    i really liked your summery


  2. because we do not or sometimes cannot say what we really mean

  3. In a school I used to go to when you are presenting and you go hmm or umm in mid presentation you lose 2%. Cruel isn't it?

    I completley agree with the anonymous above me, what your brain is sending out doesn't necessarily get out of your lips straight away, People call it LAG, its normal :P

  4. umms, errrs, and ahhh's are annoying as hell when someone is talking... people who use them habnitually in speeches and the like should be shot :P

  5. great post! I absolutely .. um .. enjoyed it :-)

  6. I hate that!!

    My bro does that all the time. Especially when I ask him something important and I am in a hurry. He will sit ummming and ahhing for ages. And if you interrupt, then it takes even longer!

    So you wait patiently, untill he gets to the point....then he forgets it!!


  7. I actually use aha alot!!!
    it is like aha what is next!
    Interesting post!
    & Ofcourse nice blog


  8. laialy: hmm, thanks ;-)

    anon: thats a possibility.

    sty: I can understand about the points being taken off, when you are preseting, you need to appear confident and sure, hmm, and errs would project a hesitant unsure image.

    KD: hmm, please don't shoot me.

    hazolat: thanks

    miya: sound like your brother does it on purpose cause he knows your reaction, that is a different sort of verbal karate.

    mystique: when you say aha, I can picture a cartoon light bulb over your head.