Here, Here! vs. Hear, Hear!

From The Grammarly Blog:

If you want to voice your agreement with someone during a debate (especially if you’re a member of the UK Parliament), you will shout “hear, hear.” But as long as you’re shouting, no one will notice you’re wrong if you shout “here, here” because the words are pronounced the same.

The United Kingdom has a long and proud history of parliamentarism. The current incarnation of the country’s Parliament, the Parliament of the United Kingdom, has a history that can be traced through its predecessors, the Parliament of Great Britain and the Parliament of England, all the way to the early thirteenth century. As is often the case with places and institutions that have a long tradition, we can find relics of the past that persist in modern times. For instance, MPs are still offered snuff before they enter the Chamber. There is still some use of Norman French in the legislative process. And MPs still shout “hear, hear” when they agree with something one of them has said.

Link to the rest at The Grammarly Blog

7 thoughts on “Here, Here! vs. Hear, Hear!”

  1. If a very British person actually says “Here, here” (rather than “hear, hear”) they are expressing reservation through a mild protest.

    But if they say “There, there,” they are expressing sympathy and making an attempt to comfort you.

    • @Mike Reeves-McMillan – You are utterly, painfully, embarrassingly wrong. “Here, here” is a command given to a dog. “Hear! Hear!” is a loyal utterance in Parliament. “There, there” is a patronising comment made to someone who is considered to be absurdly hysterical.

      • You may be right about “here, here”, though you could have expressed yourself more politely. I remember it as being an obscure and old-fashioned usage, but I might be misremembering something else similar.

        “There, there” is not necessarily patronising, though certainly it could be.

        • @Mike Reeves-McMillan – That was the ultra-polite version. Also, unless you are “very British” (whatever that means) yourself, please do not patronisingly explain British English to those of us who’ve lived with it for decades. (But if you are: Please do carry on – I’d be delighted to learn.)

  2. If I recall correctly (it’s been nearly 50 years), in much of England “hear” is pronounced He-ar, and “here” is pronounced heer-h. *They* can tell the difference.

  3. Jesus. The shout is “Hear! Hear!” Meaning, broadly: “Listen! Listen!” It’s not an absurdly difficult concept.

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