I know "I can't stop hiccuping" is natural. But if we have to say that "I stop hiccuping after a while only to start hiccuping again", is it okay to use:

My hiccups are coming and going.

Is the use of "coming and going" natural?

And if yes, then can "coming" be used to define the present state:

Hiccups are coming.

If not, then why is this difference?

3 Answers 3


"Coming and going" is an expression that is sometimes used to describe occurrences that are intermittent. It is perfectly idiomatic in British English to use it in the context you are asking about.

On this webpage of the NHS (British National Health Service) you will find the following quotation:

Appendicitis typically starts with a pain in the middle of your tummy (abdomen) that may come and go.

This demonstrates that it is quite common to speak of symptoms "coming and going". "Hiccups" is not only the plural of "hiccup" but also the common name for an attack or spell of hiccuping. As hiccuping is the symptom of hiccups it seems perfectly natural to say that your "hiccups are coming and going".

As it is an expression, it does not necessarily make sense if you break it down. "Hiccups are coming" itself does not sense, but we do say that symptoms have "come on", so you might say something like:

My hiccups came on suddenly

I don't know how anyone could tell that hiccups were "going", but it would be understood if you said:

My hiccups have gone.

Don't confuse the expression with the similar "comings and goings" which is used to describe collected activities.


Some people might understand what you meant but the expression coming and going is not idiomatic in this context.

You are suffering from intermittent bouts or recurrent/repeated bouts of hiccups or hiccuping.

Other words such as spells or bursts might be used in the place of bouts.

  • And what about: "Hiccups come and go". Jun 3, 2019 at 9:35
  • But, "do you still have hiccups" is natural, right? Jun 3, 2019 at 9:35
  • 1
    I don't see why "come and go" is not idiomatic, but "intermittent" would be. They both sound fine to me. If your hiccups come and go, they are most likely a result of your eating habits and digestive function. (Harvard Health Publishing)
    – J.R.
    Jun 3, 2019 at 10:35
  • I would go with come and go although I would hesitate with coming and going as idiomatic English goes. Forgive my delicacy if it's a case of splitting hairs. Jun 3, 2019 at 17:29

“Come and go” (or “on and off”) can be used to describe intermittency of a normally continuous condition.

A single hiccup is not a continuous condition like a fever, but hiccuping or hiccups are, so the expression works.

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