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View Full Version : How do you spell "unh-uh"?


NicoleJLeBoeuf
01-10-2008, 07:38 AM
Boy, that's a fun question. Kinda like, "what's the number for 911?"

Seriously: That wordless, two-syllable grunt of negativity - how do y'all spell it? I tend to write it "unh-uh", but I admit it looks weird, and I've never actually included it in anything I sent out.

The only other possibility I can think of is "uh-uh", but that looks wrong to me. The two syllables aren't pronounced identically, so I don't want to spell them identically.

I suppose there's also "nuh-uh", but that's a different word entirely.

Thoughts?

Edit: Should I upload a sound file somewhere?

ChaosTitan
01-10-2008, 07:40 AM
Just today I wrote it as "Uh uh."

geardrops
01-10-2008, 07:42 AM
Nuh-uh.

But that's how I say it, too. I say a N in the front.

NicoleJLeBoeuf
01-10-2008, 07:46 AM
Y'all are preternaturally quick! I just got finished editing my post and there are two replies already!

I am currently sitting with my writing group doing a group editing workshop, and the question came up. So I said I'd post the question and get back to the group with what came out of that. They were tickled that I had two suggestions from AW to share already.

So, yeah, my writing group says hi. HI!

PattiTheWicked
01-10-2008, 08:05 AM
"Nuh-uh" is the opposite of "uh-huh".

Albedo
01-10-2008, 10:33 AM
This is a situation where written English could really use tone markers, like Pinyin Chinese.

DarkKnightJRK
01-10-2008, 11:10 AM
How do you spell "unh-uh"?

She says, as she writes it with her keyboard...;)

Seriously, I've always seen it spelled as "uh-uh."

Bartholomew
01-10-2008, 03:56 PM
This is something of a non-issue, so if you're fretting about this in your WIP, I think you can breathe a sigh of relief. I knew exactly what you meant when you spelled it "Unh-uh." When spelling outloud a grunt, all that is required is that I understand what sort of grunt it was. :-)

I never spell it Unh-uh, myself. I'm in the midwest, and I usually say "Nuh-uh" when I need that sort of grunt. "Unh-uh" has more of a, "Unh-uh, I know you didn't just say that to me, fool" connotation in my neck of the woods.

Bufty
01-10-2008, 04:22 PM
I think all these phonetic grunts should be avoided, or at best used as little as possible.

I feel they invariably mean more to the writer than to the reader.

Azure Skye
01-10-2008, 06:45 PM
Just today I wrote it as "Uh uh."

Nuh-uh.

But that's how I say it, too. I say a N in the front.

What they said.

JimmyB27
01-10-2008, 07:02 PM
'No' is how I would write it. ;)

Sassee
01-10-2008, 07:43 PM
It depends on the character and what they're responding to. I've heard it and said it both ways. Though "unh-uh" makes me trip... I don't hear the "n" sound in that phrase, ever. Maybe it's written in there to capture that brief "catch" in someone's voice when they say it?

Shadow_Ferret
01-10-2008, 07:59 PM
Uh-uh.

Which is different from Ah-ha, or Uh-huh, or Huh? or Uh.

IceCreamEmpress
01-10-2008, 08:40 PM
I'm a partisan of "Uh-huh" (affirmative) and "Nuh-uh" (negative), just because those are pretty readily understandable by native speakers of US English.

"Uh-uh" always confuses me, because I have to figure out from the context whether it's meant to be affirmative or negative; I've seen people use it for both.

"Unh-uh" seems like a reasonably spelling of the negative, though. I knew what you meant right away.


Now, the closed-lipped version is harder to figure out how to spell. The assent is clearly "Mm-hmm", but the negation is...what? "Mm-mmm" looks like someone making the "yummy" noise.

Shadow_Ferret
01-10-2008, 08:45 PM
"Uh-uh" always confuses me, because I have to figure out from the context whether it's meant to be affirmative or negative; I've seen people use it for both.

Not sure how you need context. I can't think of how you'd say "Uh-uh" out loud to make it affirmative.

And I've never said "Nuh-uh." I've always said "Uh-uh."

Oh, and I forgot to add: "uh-oh" to my list above.

IceCreamEmpress
01-10-2008, 08:47 PM
Not sure how you need context. I can't think of how you'd say "Uh-uh" out loud to make it affirmative.

I agree with you, and yet people use it that way. So I don't rely on my common sense about it.

hermit authoress
01-11-2008, 08:05 AM
This is interesting.

I only use: huh, uh-oh, and eh when I write.

If I were to use grunts for response, negative would be nuh-uh and affirmative would be uh-huh.

Just my $0.02.

Foinah
01-11-2008, 12:39 PM
I use "un-uh" when I have to. I've seen it written that way in countless books so I assume that's the common spelling. I take that usage as the negative of "uh-huh".

Devil Ledbetter
01-11-2008, 04:17 PM
It's probably a regional difference.

I would write huh-uh.