Senior Member
Hello,please someone could tell what is meant by the word <beat> in the text below? does it mean the drums beating in the show?
The writer is talking about a TV personality who has a talk show and here in the text talking to the audience:

" Okay. We all know where the butter is, don't we?
( a little smile)
the butter is in the refrigerator.

From Heartburn by Nora Ephron

  • Autumnwhispers

    Senior Member
    Thank you Keith for you reply. But a little further in the text mentions pause: " I don't see it any where." ( Pause)"

    What do you think?


    Senior Member
    American English
    It's not a reference site, but TV Tropes has an excellent definition of "beat" in this sense:
    In Script Speak, a beat is an instruction in the script to leave a short pause, no more than the space of a breath, after a line or gag. Used either to indicate 'thinking time' or to let it sink in to increase the impact of the subsequent reaction. For the actor, it indicates a change in thought process. Occasionally it will come just before the punch line, as a "here it comes" signal to the audience.

    Keith Bradford

    Senior Member
    English (Midlands UK)
    It's a matter of personal judgement. For me, a beat lasts about a second; a pause can be much longer, and I have seen one which lasted more than 30 seconds (which seems a vast amount of time on stage).

    (Cross-posted with POB14)
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