8

A shortened version of the phrase “as per usual” is now used as slang when referring to something that is typical or expected, often in an exaggerated or hyperbolic manner. For example:

Bill: Mike is late, again!
Sara: As per usual.

But instead of saying “as per usual”, the slang version shortens usual to pronounce the first syllable only, which I lazily make an attempt to spell as “ujj”. (IPA /juːʒ/ ―tchrist)

And the question is. . . .

Is there a definitive spelling for the shortened version of “as per usual” — or, more specifically, for the shortened version of usual?

  • 2
    Youdge. Yooge. Yewj. Yikes, this is tough. – hairboat Jun 26 '12 at 20:32
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    Never heard the phrase shortened. Is this an American thing? – Rory Alsop Jun 26 '12 at 20:35
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    @Rory It's very probably a specifically American thing, narrowed even more specifically to the under 30 age group. (That's my own estimation, I have no source for this info.) – hairboat Jun 26 '12 at 20:40
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    How does the twit crowd spell it? #rhymeswithluge – cornbread ninja 麵包忍者 Jun 26 '12 at 20:44
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    People shorten "usual"? I would have great difficulty understanding someone who said "as per ujh", and even greater difficulty taking them seriously. – Christi Jun 26 '12 at 22:40
14

The reason this problem arises is that the consonant in the middle of usual - which phoneticians call the voiced palatoalveolar fricative, and which is written in the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) as [ʒ] - doesn't have a fixed representation in the English writing system. When it occurs in words borrowed from other languages, we usually keep the original spelling (luge, rouge, gendarme) and when it occurs in a native English word, we write it with an S (measure, usual, pleasure). In particular, it never occurs at the end of a native English word, only in loanwords like luge.

In any case, it's relatively rare in English (loanwords or no), so as English readers and writers we don't have much data from which to conclude what the "best" or "most common" way to write [ʒ] is.

Therefore, when truncations like as per usual -> as per yuʒ occur (a problem which, by the way, is not unique to "as per usual" - as this previous question reveals, the common slang phrase business caʒ for business casual has the same orthographic difficulty) the only unambiguous way to write it is to use that IPA character, ʒ.

Since, obviously, most people can't read IPA, the question boils down to "how do I write a sound that my language's writing system doesn't let me write?" You're stuck with a large variety of more or less confusing approximations:

  • uzh / yuzh (my personal preference); zh is a logical way to write [ʒ] since it is the voiced counterpart of the English sh sound (in layman's terms, zh is to sh as z is to s).
  • uge / youge / yuge, by analogy with rouge, luge, and (approximately) huge.
  • and any of the other suggestions in the comments above

Ultimately, this question can't be answered without considering why and for whom you would write such a thing down, anyway. It's an almost exclusively spoken form. In those rare situations which would force you to write it - dialogue for a novel or screenplay, let's say - the most you could do is probably just choose one of the above options and hope your audience is familiar enough with the construction to figure it out.

  • 1
    You would write it in something like Slack or a text message. Any informal typing setting – Carlos Bribiescas Mar 2 '17 at 16:18
  • I do not even know if it exists. A shortened version of as per usual?? Where is an example? – Lambie Sep 28 '18 at 13:45
  • +1 for yuzh specifically. @Lambie I think the example would just be "as per yuzh". Where yuzh is almost used as a contraction or shortened form of usual. There is no shortened form of the entire expression but rather just the word usual itself. – justin.m.chase Jan 2 at 18:01
  • @justin.m.chase I am very hard pressed to imagine this as a spoken thing. It's just instant messaging shorthand but is not a spoken form. – Lambie Jan 3 at 13:35
  • The opposite is likely true, I've heard people say it plenty of times but I came here because I've never seen the written form and didn't know how to spell it. It's a sort of humorous or or casual expression, not common for sure but even more rarely written as far as my experiences go. I believe its something I've even heard spoken in movies, though I have a hard time searching for it due to a lack of consensus on how to spell it. – justin.m.chase Jan 3 at 19:02
3

There's no definitive spelling, but as per ushe is a common one with the benefit of being fairly unambiguous.

Alternatives include as per use, but that could be confused with "for each use", and as per uje, but that looks a bit odd.

The OED doesn't include either, but does note as per is also a shortened form.

  • per uje? No one is providing any example. – Lambie Sep 28 '18 at 13:46
0

I like to write it in IM or text...yoosh. the spelling bothers me enough to Google it and bring me here.

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    I wonder the same thing @alcas does — why would you write an abbreviation that is (1) as long as the word it is an abbreviation for, and (2) much, much less likely to be understood? – Scott Feb 20 '18 at 20:21
  • Hello, 282. Answers on ELU are [nowadays] required to be supported by evidence; unsupported answers come across as (and may be merely) personal opinion. – Edwin Ashworth Jun 5 '18 at 9:51
  • @Scott to accurately convey how you talk, which is sort of what writing was originally invented for I think. – Boris Oct 21 at 2:33
0

Urban Dictionary has some up votes for ushe.

  • Thanks. Urban Dictionary can be helpfully authoritative sometimes. – user22542 Sep 28 '18 at 16:04
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    This is a fact, which is a great start. What the answer is missing is an expert and provably correct answer: "yes" or "no". A fact like this would be a good start on proving the answer is correct. – MetaEd Sep 28 '18 at 20:09
  • And a direct link to the U.D. entry would also add value to your answer. Linked references are strongly encouraged on our site :-) – Chappo Says Reinstate Monica Sep 29 '18 at 0:02
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I've heard this as a teenager. I DO believe that it is an American thing. I am American anyways. I have also heard it on Family Guy. lol. I would spell it "yewge"... personally.

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