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View Full Version : Is there a conventional way of writing "Shhh..."


Writing Jedi
04-18-2006, 10:11 PM
I mean, is there a proper way?

Do you say, "She shushed him" ??
Or can you say, "Shhh," she said.
And if you type "Shhh", is there a particular way you are supposed to do it? Like, is it "Sh", or "Shhhhhhh", or "Shhh"...Is there a certain number of H's or is it however the heck you want?

I guess there are some things that don't have to be expressed in a standard way but it drives me nuts every time I see it in my manuscript.

Thanks for all thoughts.

Maryn
04-18-2006, 10:53 PM
Word's spell checker--which is pretty conservative when it comes to accepting new words--doesn't flag Sh. I've added Shh, my preferred spelling. To my eye, anything beyong 2 H's looks funny.

Those are just for dialogue, of course. As a verb, you could use "she shushed him," but there's almost always a less awkward way to phrase it. It would depend a lot on the voice of the narrating character.

Maryn, whose narrators are often pretty laid-back about language

veinglory
04-18-2006, 11:06 PM
I've wondered about this myself. I tend to use a variable number of h's depending on how long the 'sh' is. As it is just an onomatapea (sp?) I don't worry too much about what the dictionary thinks.

maestrowork
04-18-2006, 11:13 PM
I'd either use "shushed" or "Shh," which is acceptable in fiction dialogue.

Zolah
04-19-2006, 12:39 AM
I mean, is there a proper way?

Do you say, "She shushed him" ??
Or can you say, "Shhh," she said.
And if you type "Shhh", is there a particular way you are supposed to do it? Like, is it "Sh", or "Shhhhhhh", or "Shhh"...Is there a certain number of H's or is it however the heck you want?

I guess there are some things that don't have to be expressed in a standard way but it drives me nuts every time I see it in my manuscript.

Thanks for all thoughts.

Maybe this is only a British thing, but around here 'She hushed him' means exactly the same thing and is far less awkward than using 'shush' as a verb. I don't know if this is accepted on the other side of the Pond though...

Writing Jedi
04-19-2006, 01:58 AM
Thank you everyone! It is very helpful!!

Sage
04-19-2006, 02:00 AM
Maybe this is only a British thing, but around here 'She hushed him' means exactly the same thing and is far less awkward than using 'shush' as a verb. I don't know if this is accepted on the other side of the Pond though...I use "hushed" as well (in the U.S.). Also "shushed" & "'Shh.'"

FedUp
04-19-2006, 03:04 AM
I think that "she shushed him" sounds more Southern. My Grandmother would say "she shushed him" where my Mom would say, "She told him to hush" :-)

Jamesaritchie
04-19-2006, 03:19 AM
Dictionaries I've looked at list both "sh" and "shh" as meaning "Be silent."

Celia Cyanide
04-19-2006, 03:54 AM
Maybe this is only a British thing, but around here 'She hushed him' means exactly the same thing and is far less awkward than using 'shush' as a verb. I don't know if this is accepted on the other side of the Pond though...

It is, but, at least in the US, "hush" means "to be quiet" as well as "make someone else be quiet." If there is a direct object involved, it wouldn't be a problem, but I'm just saying.

Also, "Shush" means "to demand quiet," while "hush" means "to make someone quiet," which may mean two different things, depending on how the person reacts. You can shush someone without hushing them, if they aren't listening.

zarch
04-19-2006, 04:28 AM
I think that "she shushed him" sounds more Southern. My Grandmother would say "she shushed him" where my Mom would say, "She told him to hush" :-)

Did someone say Southern?

Shuddup and pass the grits 'afore I knock you upside the head.

Lady Cat
04-19-2006, 07:00 AM
I've hushed, shushed, and used shh - I've also had her put her hand over his lips to keep him from talking :e2brows: Lady Cat

Zolah
04-19-2006, 02:41 PM
It is, but, at least in the US, "hush" means "to be quiet" as well as "make someone else be quiet." If there is a direct object involved, it wouldn't be a problem, but I'm just saying.

Also, "Shush" means "to demand quiet," while "hush" means "to make someone quiet," which may mean two different things, depending on how the person reacts. You can shush someone without hushing them, if they aren't listening.

Yes, I know the difference - I just mean that if I were to say that I had hushed someone, people in the UK would automatically assume I had gone 'Shh!'. It conveys the same meaning, even if the sentence went: 'She hushed him, but he continued to grumble loudly'. But, as I said, I don't know if 'hush' is used in the same way colloquially in the US.

gp101
04-19-2006, 04:30 PM
Maybe this is only a British thing, but around here 'She hushed him' means exactly the same thing and is far less awkward than using 'shush' as a verb. I don't know if this is accepted on the other side of the Pond though...


Here in the Colonies, you can "hush" someone in an almost infinite variety of ways. "Hushing" to me could be achieved by something as innocent as a forefinger pressed against the lips, to something as permanant as killing them. But there's little doubt when "Shushing" is used. That usually involves the "Shh" sound or the forefinger on the lips or a combo.

But that's for prose. If "hush" is used in dialogue ("Alright, hush now..."), then you hardly expect anything violent. "Hush" in this instance is almost always inferred as (IMO) a severe suggestion.

Zolah
04-19-2006, 04:38 PM
Here in the Colonies, you can "hush" someone in an almost infinite variety of ways. "Hushing" to me could be achieved by something as innocent as a forefinger pressed against the lips, to something as permanant as killing them. But there's little doubt when "Shushing" is used. That usually involves the "Shh" sound or the forefinger on the lips or a combo.

But that's for prose. If "hush" is used in dialogue ("Alright, hush now..."), then you hardly expect anything violent. "Hush" in this instance is almost always inferred as (IMO) a severe suggestion.

See explanation to Celia Cynanide, above. Damn Colonials - always making things awkward.

gp101
04-20-2006, 01:57 AM
See explanation to Celia Cynanide, above. Damn Colonials - always making things awkward.

WTH! Next thing you know you'll raise our tea tax.