What are some cures for a case of terminal "uhs"?

One of the priests at my church has it.

“And so…uh…Abraham asked…uh…God and…uh…”

No exaggeration.

It drives me crazy and sometimes I’m almost tempted to stop listening to the sermon and instead, count the uhs.

Any…uh…tips on how this condition can be cured or at least somewhat abated ?

I’m serious. Please tell me what you know about this matter. The priest is a young guy and has many years ahead of him. No sense in his making people nuts all his sermonizing life.

Psychologists Say ‘Um’ and ‘Uh’ Have Meaning.

So, see, it’s not him–it’s you. :smiley: You’re just misinterpreting his “conversation managers”.

In casual conversation, interrupting with outrageous ideas can get your partner to stop saying “uh”. It worked on my friend Ethan.

Him: “Is it bad that I’ve never changed my uh…”
Me: “Underwear? Yeah, you really ought to change your underwear. How gross.”
Him: “No. The filter for my air conditioner.”


Him: “They wouldn’t approve my loan request because I’m uh…”
Me: “Sexually perverted?”
Him: “No. Delinquent.”

He’s stopped saying “uh” around me. I don’t know how that might work in a sermon situation, though.

Gee, I’d like to try it, but I’d end up excommunicated. :smiley: :smiley: :smiley:

I’m surprised. I would have thought that training for the priesthood involved at least a little bit of coaching in public speaking, during which this is usually one of the first things to get eliminated.

The cure, so far as I know, is just for the speaker to become aware of it and stop. Just pause when you aren’t sure what to say next. The pauses are a lot less annoying to the audience than “uhs”. If necessary the speaker should practice with someone ringing a bell every time he says a noise word like “uh”, “um”, or “you now”, until he stops.

Good idea with the bells. Anyone else care to…uh…contribute?

We had a manager one time that was afflicted with, uh, whatever you want to cal this affiction. We’s always dread department meetings where ho was going to be speaking. Until someone had the bright idea of starting a pool about how many tiimes he would say ‘uh’.

Eventually the existance of the pool came to his attention and it made him self concious enough that he cured himself.

You know, sometimes “Uh” and “Um” are used more deliberately, for added emphasis or sly indication of a euphemism.

For example:

  1. “Umm … no.” The “Umm” adds a bit of snark to the response, as if to suggest that the answer should be painfully obvious and/or the suggestion/question is patently absurd.

A: “Sure, it might smell like death, but it still might taste good. Just try a bit.”
B: “Umm … no.”

C: “So, do you like to eat?”
D: “Uh … yeah.”

  1. “She has a lot of, uh … assets.” Although emphasis on the euphemism – in this sentence, “assets” – should usually be sufficient, the “uh” reinforces the idea that the word or phrase that follows definitely does not mean what it sounds like.

So maybe your priest is using a lot of euphemisms and is really just trying to be a dirty old bastard on the sly. If nothing else, figuring out his secret would make Sunday service a lot more entertaining. :smiley:

Not to hijack but while we’re at it, what about people that say like all the time. You know like she was a total bitch, and like I totally like confronted her about it, and the she like started you know like crying or something.

We had a sub for a week in high school English. This guy said “Uh” so many times that some of us started tallying it on our calculators. During one meeting, he said it 600 times. No joke. That was a bit much.

Heh, I had an art history prof in college who used the word “very” 120 times in one class, including some gems of sentences like, “It seems to be human nature to organize objects and materials in very very organized way.” (Now that I’ve been on the other side of the desk for a few years, I’m a lot more tolerant of other people’s verbal tics, but at the time it cracked me up.)

I don’t think it’s possible to cure that sort of thing without making the priest aware that he’s doing it. Can you take him aside and tell him in a tactful way?

You know, the people that say um too much should, you know, be shot. I can’t stand them, they drive me, you know, crazy. You know?

“She had a vocabulary that was as bad as, like, whatever.”

You have to train yourself not to say “uh” and “um.” We radio people have to learn it early, then it becomes second nature. As for how to get somebody else to learn it, um, I dunno.

Well, if anybody can figure it out, maybe you can help me stop my husband from saying “…and things like that” at the end of every sentence. I’ve pointed it out to him, but he says he doesn’t do that. Not worth fighting about, I guess, but I’m very tempted to break out a tape recorder.

Stealthily, however. You’ve got to catch him about three times before he’ll be forced to admit to it.

As a court transcriber, I have run across some people with the most appalling “verbal tic” habits. My personal record was one guy who said “you know” nine times in one sentence. And I recently had a witness who simply could not complete a sentence without at least one like, one I mean, and two or more you knows. It drove me completely crazy.

And after I transcribed all that stuff, I come to find out the firm I transcribe for has decided that for this client they’re going to take out all those you knows. So all my effort was wasted. :smack:

My advice is to just talk to the priest, let him know that his “uh” habit is becoming so distracting it’s preventing you from listening to the meaning behind his words. He should care enough to appreciate being told of it in a kindly way, rather than stumbling across the parishioners’ pool on it.

Rather than the bells, I suggest that you fart each time he says “Uh”. This will have the same effect as the bells, and will prevent you from getting excommunicated.

I can beat that.

I had an instructor in college that said “um” or “uh” 777 times in a 50 minute class. Yes, seven hundred and seventy seven times. I’m completely not exagggerating. I tallied it up. I think I still have the sheet. That’s an “um” or “uh” every 3.8 seconds.

You try concentrating on the subject matter when all you hear is “um” or “uh”.

Where’s the fun in that?

Seriously though, there is no solution that’s going to work without his knowledge and cooperation. Tell him in a friendly manner. Ma Tigger’s advice is good.

And if that doesn’t work, then you start the pool.

Exactly—it’s a distraction for the listeners. You can’t help but notice it.