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Remember back in school (or still in school, like me) when someone got called to the office and all the kids in the class made an 'ooou' sound with the intonation slowly rising? Yeah... Anyway, I was just thinking about it, and I was wondering what the best way of spelling it would be so other people would understand how it was said, or pronounced? Also in music, vocalists might use this sound, but people who interpret the lyrics put something like 'ohh' which is definitely not the same.

So what do you think the best way of spelling it would be?

If you don't know the sound I'm talking about, say 'you', but without the 'y'. If you're taking Spanish like me, it's the Spanish 'u'.

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  • That's the annoying thing about spelling, it doesn't indicate pitch change. I don't think there is a good answer. For example, 'ugh' as spelled in comics is supposed to represent a noise in the back of the throat but if you ask people to read it, many will say it as a word. 'ug'. 'ooouu' or something similar seems as good as any. Commented Aug 27, 2015 at 23:08
  • What is the situation exactly? It is unclear the context of why and when this sound is produced.
    – Mitch
    Commented Aug 31, 2015 at 17:00

1 Answer 1

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I'd go with ooooh, and let the reader work out the pitch change from context:

"I'm so sick and tired of you always asking me questions, Benjamin! Pack your things and report to the principal. I won't have you in my class." Mr. Smith yelled. Benjamin's class mates mocked him "ooooh" while he quickly packed his things and left.

or

"I'm so sick and tired of you always asking me questions, Benjamin! Pack your things and report to the principal. I won't have you in my class." Mr. Smith yelled. Benjamin felt on top of the world and his class mates cheered him on "ooooh" while he packed his things and left for principal Puddlefrock's office.

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  • But it still looks like 'oh' not 'uu' or 'ou' or 'oo'. Commented Aug 29, 2015 at 16:14
  • @TrivisionZero - It's fine. The double O trumps the H. See google.com/search?q=define+ooh&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8 Commented Aug 29, 2015 at 23:48
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    @TrivisionZero You could add more o's, pushing the h further out of view, thus strengthening people's incentive to pick an 'oo' interpretation of the sound. 'Oh' is a long sound in itself, and when people do want to lengthen it, generally they add h's: 'Ohhhhh'. So I think you're safe, whatever you choose.
    – Born2Smile
    Commented Aug 30, 2015 at 17:04

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