When you're hesitating in a middle of a sentence, do you prefer to use 'um' or 'uh' to buy time? It's a question that has fueled passionate debate, ended friendships, broken apart families and led to the development of two warring camps, Team Um and Team Uh.
With the conversational tone of social media increasingly causing people to write (or type) the way they speak, this subtle linguistic division has taken on a life of its own on the Internet as well.
Jack Grieve, a professor of forensic linguistics at Aston University in Birmingham, England, was intrigued. He set out to figure out where in the U.S. people tended to use 'um' or 'uh'.
Grieve used billions of words of geo-coded tweets to figure out the percentage of ums versus uhs in each state. The resulting infographic reveals that coastal folks prefer 'uh' while those in the middle of the country tend to opt for 'um'.
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