sh, shh, shhhh

belongedto

Senior Member
Chinese
Source: VOA Learning English, Pow! Whizz! What Are Onomatopoeia?

Onomatopoetic words are not only nouns, though. Imagine you are in a quiet restaurant. Suddenly, the people next to you start to have an argument.
Anna: I can't believe you lied to me!
Jonathan: Shhhh! We are in public!
Anna: Don't shhhh me!

I look it up in several dictionaries and I get "sh" and "shh".
How many Hs can or should we write?
 
  • I don't think that any rule exists to guide you here, belongedto. I'd be happy to write it this way: Shhh. We are in public.
     
    In ordinary use, I wouldn't put more than two "h"s (some people may routinely use three), but if you want to emphasise a long duration, you can add as many as you like.

    My guess is that the writer here uses four "h"s as their standard spelling, because of Anna's response. While I can imagine Jonathan saying a long "shhhh!", I doubt that Anna uses the same long drawn out sound, and her response might better be spelled "shush".
     
    I agree that Anna’s response would be – or would certainly be pronounced as – “Don’t you shush me!”. Shush (rhyming with push) means to tell someone to be quiet. Shhh! is the onomatopœia you might use to do so.
     
    I don't think that any rule exists to guide you here, belongedto. I'd be happy to write it this way: Shhh. We are in public.
    In ordinary use, I wouldn't put more than two "h"s (some people may routinely use three), but if you want to emphasise a long
    I agree that Anna’s response would be – or would certainly be pronounced as – “Don’t you shush me!”. Shush (rhyming with push)
    Thank you.
     
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