For example: she ahhed/ohhed/ummed/huhhed/hemmed. Or is this possible only with some interjections?

  • See my recent blog article, The Give That Keeps On Gifting, which may not be available until 31 December GMT.
    – Robusto
    Dec 30, 2012 at 16:33
  • @Robusto There's nothing there I'm afraid!
    – user15851
    Dec 30, 2012 at 20:41
  • You probably could have done a better job of explaining your context – just about anything is "possible." For example, if I was among friends, and critiquing a clumsy acceptance speech we'd just seen on television, I might say, "He ummed that speech to death!" However, I doubt I'd use such informal syntax if I was writing an online review of the Grammy Awards, where I expected hundreds if not thousands of readers, and had aspirations to be regarded as a serious journalist.
    – J.R.
    Dec 31, 2012 at 6:15

2 Answers 2


You can do whatever you like if you think it will achieve your intended communicative purpose. For what it's worth, the Oxford English Dictionary has entries for ah, oh and hem as verbs.

  • I should think hem's been there a long time. Dec 30, 2012 at 16:29
  • @Edwin Ashworth. Earliest definitive citation 1530. Dec 30, 2012 at 16:45

Some onomatopoeia are accepted as viable words. The few examples you give aren't among those commonly accepted. It would be better to put them in a quote, "She kept saying, "ahh, ohh," all the way down the street." Then again, when writing, you are quite free to use English in whatever way with which your editor will be comfortable.

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