To the Editor:
“Um.” Is that really a word? I think I have a phobia about it. For years I gave talks in front of assemblies and groups of people. When I started in the 1970s, my trainers and people I worked with never relied on “um” as a word. We were stopped and corrected if we used it.
So “um” is short for, “Just a minute---I’m thinking of what to say next.” If you use notes or off the cuff, just listen to other speakers. There are so many people who use this little saying.
I received a lot of training at home. My grandma and aunt and several cousins were teachers. English teachers, let’s pay attention and teach the children public speaking. Parents are #1 to listen to your little ones, too or do you use “um” also?
Believe me, I’m watching my own habits too in using “um.”