Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

While in a online conversation(by typing), how do you let know the other person that you are there listening to him/her? I suppose it would be annoying to type 'okay' or 'yes' all the time and right now, I use 'Hmmm' or 'mmm' as if I am nodding my head to what he says. I am not sure this is the right way or is there something better?

share|improve this question
2  
Use * I'm listening * to let the other person know that you're still there. I use "Hmmm" when I'm thinking about the subject. –  user8568 May 21 '11 at 17:13
2  
You could also use ah or I see. –  Cerberus May 21 '11 at 17:14
    
Is it me or this question has a subjective flavour? There are many ways to say this same thing, even uh-uh. –  Alenanno May 21 '11 at 18:33
    
I ask if they're still there. I'm obnoxious like that. I also state the obvious betimes. ;) –  kitukwfyer May 22 '11 at 1:05

3 Answers 3

up vote 6 down vote accepted

The normal way to respond to the bore person on the other end is to type something that is an intelligent response to whatever that person is bloviating talking about. Useless interjections don't do much except break up the flow, especially in multi-party chats.

share|improve this answer

No, it's not correct. "Hmm" would imply that you're either thinking about it, or it can also sound that you are in some way suspicious of what's being discussed.

Generally, the accepted way to show that you're listening without making any specific commentary is to say things like "yeah" and "go on" whilst they're talking, especially during a pause. It sounds much more like you're listening and paying attention than a "hmm" does.

share|improve this answer
1  
Actually if you say "yeah", it might sound like a comment, no? It sounds like you're approving... –  Alenanno May 21 '11 at 18:32
    
...If I'm talking to someone, aren't they supposed to be thinking about what I say? –  kitukwfyer May 22 '11 at 1:07

"go on", "do tell", "you don't say"...

share|improve this answer
    
There's an old vaudeville comedy routine (Spike Jones used it in his version of Chloe) that I really like. There's a telephone on the stage; it rings, and the comedian answers; we only hear his side of the conversation: "You don't say? You don't say. You don't say!" He hangs up; his partner asks "Who was it?" "He didn't say." The phone rings again; he answers. "You don't say? You don't say. You don't say!" Hangs up again; again "Who was it?" "The same guy." –  MT_Head Jun 29 '11 at 5:43

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.