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  • "Why do I spend time thinking about this stuff?" -- cb

    First off, I agree with what you figured out about the meanings of "hm", "hmm" and "hmmm" and hence I'm happy my fondness for that word no longer coaxes me to contribute my views.

    The importance of this topic I think lies in the interjectional character of that sound: As it has very little of this tangible semantic kind of meaning, the word has great value for pointing out how important this other layer of meaning can be. Perhaps it could be called something like "connotative", but that word I think is not as apt as I would like it to be.

    January 27, 2009

  • I agree that four is excessive in most cases. I think two is right for thinking, as in: "Hmm, I think the answer is 42." But three is for questioning, like when someone says something to you and you're only half listening. So it really should be Hmmm?

    July 22, 2008

  • I think three is the right amount to illustrate thinking. More than that and you're being comical (of course, there's nothing wrong with that).

    July 22, 2008

  • I am usually pretty careful about how many M's I use with my Hm or Hmm. But generally two is enough for almost any purpose. "Hm" is more like a "hmph" without the peevishness, and "hmmm" implies a level of thinking that is not serious enough to be remarked upon.

    ...Why do I spend time thinking about this stuff?

    July 22, 2008

  • Thank you.

    July 22, 2008

  • I agree, yarb, but you're fusty, crusty, dusty, and musty.

    Well, you said to.

    July 22, 2008

  • Call me fusty, crusty, dusty and musty, but hmmmm is excessive, in my opinion. All things in moderation. Even a hmmm ought to be justified. Often a simple hm will suffice.

    July 21, 2008

  • I'm a four hmmmm-er by birth. I only three hmmm when I'm tired, or when the market rate for the letter m exceeds certain price points.

    July 21, 2008

  • Four "m"s breaks the RULE OF THREE: the literary principle that things that come in threes are inherently funnier, more satisfying, or more effective than other numbers of things.

    July 21, 2008

  • Andy spells it with four "m"s. I think that's a bit excessive, to be honest.

    July 21, 2008