How do you respond when someone says ‘erm’? First, we have to know what this special word indicates before we discuss an appropriate reaction.
You may have had a conversation or had to listen to someone who repeated the word ‘erm’ a million times in just a few minutes.
You may also have had a person keep saying ‘erm’ while you are talking. This three-letter word has succeeded in annoying several people so we wonder how to respond correctly. You have found the answers you seek.
‘Erm’ can indicate the speaker’s embarrassment or subtle disagreement with what another person has said. It may also show that the speaker is thinking, making a decision, or hesitating to speak.
However, the meaning of the word is usually defined by the speaker’s expressions so it is easy to tell what it means.
A typical response to the statement, ‘erm’, is ‘Cat got your tongue?’ This rhetorical question is rude and intimidating but is meant to rebuke the person’s hesitation to speak.
Below are 20 responses to ‘erm’ properly clarified for your understanding.
20 Best Responses to “Erm”
- What’s it?
- Do you have something to say?
- Don’t worry. I know what it is.
- Can you just talk already?
- Is that a word? Or I can’t hear you clearly?
- Cat got your tongue?
- That’s not all
- No questions are allowed now.
- Do you want to see me?
- What else do you want?
- That’s final. No going back.
- Just say what you want. It’s your decision.
- You shouldn’t stutter if you’ll be honest.
- Save it. You always disagree with everything.
- You know you are free to talk, right?
- Now, I can’t believe anything you say
- Of course, you can’t talk.
- What is it again?
- Can you stop saying that?
- Wait till I’m done.
You can ask this simple question when a person says ‘erm’ while you are talking. As mentioned in the intro, it is usually easy to tell what a person implies from how his or her expressions.
When a person says ‘erm’ while you are still talking about something, there is a high chance that he or she disagrees with you on something.
There is also a chance that he or she just wants to get your attention and say something.
Another sign you may see to be sure of this is the raising of one hand or one finger. This denotes that he or she is trying to get your attention.
When you ask ‘what’s it’, you are telling the person to go ahead with whatever he or she has to say.
Do you have something to say?
This response works in the same context as the response suggested earlier. A person may say ‘erm’ while you are talking.
Without raising his or her hand, you may not be 100% sure of what he or she wants so this question will come in handy.
There is a chance that the person is hesitating to call your attention. There is also a chance that he or she doesn’t actually have anything to say.
This response asks whether the person has something to say. While the person may not feel encouraged to speak, you can stop him or her from repeating ‘erm’ again.
Don’t worry. I know what it is.
A person can say ‘erm’ while you are having a meeting. There is a chance that the person is not allowed to speak but he or she has an important addition to the conversation.
You can give this response to show that you understand the person. However, you have to truly understand the person since you are indirectly telling the person to shut up while you speak for him or her
This response implies that the speaker doesn’t have to worry since you know what he is trying to say
Can you just talk already?
This may seem a bit rude but you may find it necessary if the speaker is wasting your time. As mentioned earlier, ‘erm’ can denote hesitation in the speech of a person. ‘Erm’ may also show that a person is thinking of something.
If you have to listen to a person and you think filler words like ‘erm’ are being used excessively, you can give this response.
While it doesn’t actually force the person to talk, it shows that you are getting frustrated by the excessive use of ‘erm’ in the person’s speech.
Is that a word? Or I can’t hear you clearly?
‘Erm’ can be said repeatedly when a person is thinking of something. You can give the person some time to think and give you a proper response.
However, there are some questions you just know should not be thought about before a person can give answers to them. Excessive thoughts on those questions are more likely to be a lie.
If you think the speaker is only trying to concoct a lie by faking his or her deep thinking, you can ask this rhetorical question.
You will be putting a lot of pressure on the person, thereby causing his or her train of thought to suffer a slight derail.
By getting him or her to speak more quickly, the concocted is likely to sound clearly inaccurate.
Cat got your tongue?
Here is an idiom you can use in place of the response mentioned earlier. If you wonder what it means, it has nothing to do with a cat. It is an idiomatic expression often uttered to annoy a person who is refusing to talk.
When a person is saying ‘erm’ and trying to think of a lie, you can put a halt to the process by giving this annoying response. He or she would want to speak quicker and will most likely be incoherent.
A person can also repeat ‘erm’ out of hesitation to speak. You can annoy him or her with this response.
That’s not all
As discussed earlier, ‘Erm’ can be used to imply subtle disagreement with what someone has said. It may also imply that the speaker has something to add to what another person has said.
With the gesture of a hand or a finger, we should be able to tell that this is what is implied.
You can give this response if you know what the person is trying to say to you. This response implies that you are not done talking and you will still address what the person wants to talk about.
No questions are allowed now
Erm’ can be used to raise an opinion during another person’s speech. The speaker wants to get attention but he or she doesn’t just start to talk. The person has to raise a hand to indicate that he or she has something to add.
This response implies that the time to ask questions is either past or is still coming but questions cannot be taken at the present moment. The person has to wait till it’s time to speak.
Do you want to see me?
Just as a person can mutter ‘erm’ while trying to say something, ‘Erm’ is also used in getting a person’s attention.
The person can mutter ‘erm impulsively while trying to recall your name. The person may also feel reluctant to call you so he or she may mutter ‘erm’ while making gestures which you may notice.
When you see these gestures, you can respond with this question so you know if you are interpreting the gesture correctly.
You may also ask this question as an indirect way of telling a person to see you later instead of saying anything at the moment.
If your friend is trying to get attention to say anything or express disagreement with you, you can give the response and wink so the person comes to see you later.
What else do you want?
‘Erm’ can be very annoying but it doesn’t have to be, especially if it is not repeated often. A person can say ‘erm’ in an attempt to pass a message across or make a statement.
You can choose to listen to him or her and implement the suggestions made.
You can ask this question if the person says ‘erm’ in an attempt to say something again. He or she is obviously disrupting the program with unplanned questions or opinions.
That’s final. No going back.
People only say ‘erm’ in places where they are allowed to talk. If you allow, you just may continue to get opposition.
Although, there may be some good reason for that. You can give this response when someone says ‘erm’.
This response implies that a decision has been made already and there will be no going back on it. In other words, the person is not allowed to disagree with the decision that has been made.
Just say what you want. It’s your decision.
Sometimes, a disagreement with what you have said is totally unnecessary. In fact, hesitancy can seem very foolish. If you find yourself deciding on a person, always remember to include him or her so you are not choosing something that he or she cannot handle.
You can give this response if you are making a suggestion to your friend and he or she is hesitating to disagree with some points.
This response implies that the decision made is totally dependent on your friend and he or she is free to make suggestions or even the decisions alone.
You shouldn’t stutter if you’ll be honest.
You can say this if you ask a person a question and you expect a quick response from him or her.
As we have discussed earlier, certain questions do not require deep thinking if the speaker is being honest. Once the thinking is getting too long, he or she can be suspected of trying to concoct a lie.
You can give this response when the person says ‘erm’ instead of answering the question directly.
By pointing out the possibility of the person lying, you will disrupt the person’s thought process, and he or she may be unable to completely form the person’s lies.
Save it. You always disagree with everything
‘Save it’s is almost the same thing as ‘shut up’. While it may sound more respectful than ‘Shut up’, It is used in the same way and will definitely be found dismissive. No one likes to be shut up.
You can say this if a person says ‘erm’ or tries to call your attention while you or another person is talking.
This response implies that the person is always intruding on others and disagreeing.
You should only use this if the person has actually done this many times. If not, you may seem hateful towards him or her.
You know you are free to talk, right?
In a conversation between friends, people do not need to raise their hands or fingers to give their opinions on topics.
Therefore, it will sound awkward if a friend of yours says ‘erm’ instead of just talking.
You can remind the person that he or she is free to talk and there is no need for anyone’s permission.
Now, I can’t believe anything you say
You can point this out if you ask a question and the person is stuttering ‘erm’ while pretending to be thinking.
Knowing the question should not require so much hesitation or thoughts, you can tell that he or she is about to lie.
When you give this response, you may force him or her to say the truth.
Of course, you can’t talk
Give this response if you ask a question and the person is saying ‘erm’ repeatedly.
The person could be thinking of a way out. Also, the person may simply have something to say but is hesitating to call the attention of others.
You can use this response to call him or her out.
What is it again?
Ask this question if your friend is always disagreeing or having something to add to the conversation.
Can you stop saying that?
When a person is nervous or unprepared to address people, there is a high chance that he or she will use a lot of filler words. ‘Erm’ is a filler word that many may find annoying.
You can give this response but it may not stop him or her from saying ‘erm’ impulsively.
Wait till I’m done
When a person says ‘erm’ or tries to call your attention while you are still talking, you can give this response.
There is a chance that you may still address what the person is trying to call your attention to.
Also, you will be preventing too many interruptions. The person can add and disagree after you are done talking.