For some reason, spanish speaking people (or at least argentines) when we hesitate before speaking we say "ehhhhh" (you can hear an example of the use here: ehhh) which is something that might be said involuntarily . How would you translate this interjection to English? (I'm not even sure if it qualifies as an interjection or it's another kind of word).


You could try the interjection uh:

Cambridge defines it as:

the written form of the sound people sometimes make when they pause in speaking, thinking of what to say next or how to say it

Wiktionary says:


interj. Expression of confusion or uncertainty.
interj. Space filler or pause during conversation.


I would say it's an interjection. Wikipedia also calls it a "hesitation marker".

The two that came to mind for me were uh and um:

  • uh exclamation
    uk ​ /ɜː/ /ʌ/ us ​ /ɜː/ /ʌ/
    used in writing to represent the sound that people sometimes make when they are thinking what to say next:
    It's not too far - it's about, uh, five miles from here.
  • um exclamation
    uk ​ /əm/ us ​ /əm/
    used in writing to represent the sound that people make when they are pausing or deciding what to say next:
    "What do you think of this jacket?" "Um, I don't know if I like the colour." "So what did you talk about?" "Um, I don't remember."

(Cambridge Dictionary)

There are certainly others, like er, but I think these two are most common in my experience (US). I know I'd use uh as inelegantly as the man in the video used eh.

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