Habitual Words


Have you ever been around someone who used the same word or words in every sentence? Years ago, I was introduced to a man-who at the end of every sentence said “and what not”. I remember being obsessed with listening to him-to see if just once-he wouldn’t say “and what not”. Never happened-he said it at the end of every sentence just like clock work.

A few other habitual sayings I’ve heard:

  • you know (one of The Deer Hunter’s best friends says “you know” at the end of all his sentences-you know)
  • anyway
  • you know what I’m saying
  • now it’n it (not sure how to spell that one)
  • like
  • ah or uh
  • now
  • well
  • the thing is
  • so

I’m sure you’ve heard some of the ones I mentioned, but sometimes folks habitually say things that aren’t so common.


When Pap was growing up, Old Man Bud Baker lived over in the next holler. Pap said everyone loved Bud-he was a lot of fun to be around. Bud’s habitual saying was “si hell”. Pap said no matter what Bud was telling or talking about he always started it with si hell.

Pap said one day Bud came around telling “Si hell I killed a rattlesnake that was 5ft long yesterday.” Pap’s father said he didn’t really believe there were rattlesnakes that big. Bud answered back “Si hell I know it was cause I measured it.”


Another elder from Pap’s childhood, George Anderson was fond of saying “now I hell” at the beginning of his sentences. Actually Pap said Mr. Anderson’s entire family took up the habit of saying now I hell.

Mr. Anderson lived at the head of Pinelog and one day a trader came to see him about buying a milk cow from him. The trader asked if the cow was a good milker-Mr. Anderson told him “Now I hell she gives a waste of milk”-taking that to mean she gave to much milk to use-the trader bought the cow. Didn’t take long for the trader to figure out the cow wasn’t’ a good milker. He soon came around to ask Mr. Anderson about the cow’s lack of milk. Mr. Anderson said “Now I hell I told you she gives a waste of milk-enough to cream your coffee but not enough to make gravy!”

L.C., a local gentleman, is known for saying “I tell you what” at the start of his sentences. I guess my habitual saying is “well”. While I don’t say it at the start of every sentence-I do say it quite a bit.

Well how about you-do you have a habitual saying or know someone who does?


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  • Reply
    Don Casada
    January 9, 2014 at 8:58 am

    This is some years later, but it’s right in line with the theme and involves a beloved character from our area, Mark Cathey. Mark was a bachelor who made his home on Indian Creek (of Deep Creek) in what is now the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
    Earlier this week, I had an interview with 88 year old Theodore Styles, who as a boy had lived just up the road from Mark. Theodore said that Mark would frequently start off his sentences with “Eye God” – not taking the Lord’s name in vain, but just a habitual phrase. Mark was not a religious man until late in life when he was converted, shortly before his death (he was out squirrel hunting when he died – what a fine way to go).
    Uncle Mark was well-loved and respected in this area, so the epitaph on his gravestone is fitting for the man and is also the finest that I’ve seen. It was composed by Pastor Herbert Brown, who led Mark to the Lord.
    “Mark Cathey – Beloved hunter and fisherman was himself caught by the gospel hook just before the season closed for good”

  • Reply
    Ger Kustermann
    September 9, 2009 at 11:54 pm

    There are 2 sayings that drive me crazy … “And so forth and so on!” and “To die for!”

  • Reply
    February 20, 2009 at 10:14 am

    We’re close to Pittsburgh, so we get a lot of folks who inject ” ‘n’at ” into a sentence. It’s supposed to be short for ‘and that.’? The worst offenders I’ve seen blurt it out like a hiccup throughout the conversation. Sometimes they simply say ‘n’at and nothing else. It’s crazy!
    Fun post! My husband loves this kind of stuff: he’s currently stuck on mimicking a friend that says ‘you know’ all the time.

  • Reply
    February 19, 2009 at 12:58 pm

    “Like” is sort of a pet peeve of mine right now, and it’s my mission to make my family at least be AWARE that they said it (this includes me), even if it still slips out. We are all doing so much better that when I go to school and hear the other kids talking it drives me crazy. NOT. ONE. SENTENCE. can be said without “like.”

  • Reply
    February 19, 2009 at 12:58 pm

    “Like” is sort of a pet peeve of mine right now, and it’s my mission to make my family at least be AWARE that they said it (this includes me), even if it still slips out. We are all doing so much better that when I go to school and hear the other kids talking it drives me crazy. NOT. ONE. SENTENCE. can be said without “like.”

  • Reply
    February 19, 2009 at 12:58 pm

    “Like” is sort of a pet peeve of mine right now, and it’s my mission to make my family at least be AWARE that they said it (this includes me), even if it still slips out. We are all doing so much better that when I go to school and hear the other kids talking it drives me crazy. NOT. ONE. SENTENCE. can be said without “like.”

  • Reply
    February 18, 2009 at 1:26 am

    I have a little housebound neighbor who I visit each day, and tend to her dog for her. She’s lonely, so she’ll always try and keep me there by running from one story to another without a break. The only indication she’s changing stories is when she drags out “anywaaaaaay” between segments. ;-Þ

  • Reply
    Nancy M.
    February 17, 2009 at 11:31 am

    I have a cousin who says ‘and everything’ at the end of everything she says. Now, you’ve got me thinking if I say any of those things.

  • Reply
    February 16, 2009 at 6:58 pm

    One of my husband’s cousins says “ya reckon” or “say”. If you don’t answer him he’ll say “say” again. 🙂
    Reckon is real common around here.
    Reckon it’ll rain? 🙂

  • Reply
    February 16, 2009 at 12:40 pm

    This is a great post. My husband always says “Like I say” at the end of most sentences. Just drives me insane. I don’t know where he picked it up but I wish he would stop. Also my mother ALWAYS repeats her stories twice. Just for emphasis I guess but it make me nuts.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    February 14, 2009 at 9:15 am

    Si hell, that’s a hoot! I have never heard that expression, or Now I hell. I wonder what they mean.
    I guess the closest I come is my pet word. It begins with S and ends with T and does not need to be spelled out here.
    Had a friend who said yada,yada,yada a lot and another who says whoha a lot.
    We sure do interesting things with our vocabulary!

  • Reply
    February 14, 2009 at 5:30 am

    A former acquaintance of mine always, always ended her sentences with ‘and stuff’. It drove me crazy and could be related to why I no longer see her.
    ‘Unfortunately’, I rely on ‘well’ a lot. ‘Hopefully’, I will be able to curtail my use of fillers after reading this post. As always, Tipper, it was right on the mark.

  • Reply
    February 13, 2009 at 10:30 am

    My SIL likes to say “question for ya”, and my grandsons start their sentences with “well actually”, the 4 year old kinda mangles it and it’s pretty cute. And sometimes I say “just sayin is all”.

  • Reply
    February 13, 2009 at 6:20 am

    Took n told…. I took n told him… A very good friend of ours says that. My Husband and I giggle about a time my husband asked him if he “took and told him” or did he “Take and tell him”. the next sentence out of his mouth was “No, I take and telled him…”

  • Reply
    Jennifer in OR
    February 13, 2009 at 1:17 am

    Oh, what a riot this was!! Those old timers you know of crack me up! “Si hell” and “now I hell” just make me grin thinking about it! And the “waste of milk” was hilarious!
    I have a friend who ends almost every sentence with “and stuff.” Weird.
    I try to not add fillers to my sentences, but I’m sure I’m guilty of some unknowns. And if I hang around someone with a habit, I will eventually pick it up. So who knows?!

  • Reply
    February 12, 2009 at 10:20 pm

    I say “well” as well. Well.
    Growing up, I always noticed that my grandma (born and raised in Harlan, KY) would always end every sentence with “Lord willin'”. As a little girl, I can remember hearing her say to me, “We’ll get you to bed now here at 8 o’clock, Lord willin'”. I thought, “Lord willin’ I’m gonna stay up until 9!”
    I usually did.

  • Reply
    February 12, 2009 at 9:17 pm

    I stummbled upon your blog as I searched for new sewing ideas and was so taken by it! I am from New England Originally and from a very big Portuguese family, I relate to the “old ways” and family …and especially “makin due” I am Blessed beyong what I ever thought my life would be BUT I know that I would not have survived if I didn’t have all the wonderful lessons and older folks and morals and values to get me through , and IO tell you I work like heck to teach my very lucky children what it was like and still is for many. thanks fo ryour awesome BLOG I LOVE IT!!!! and as far as MY word….its got to be a word I have Adopted from my OKIE husband and his dad….”ANYWAYS”……ANYWAYS sometimes gets said 2 to 4 times a sentence LOL
    have a good one

  • Reply
    Granny Sue
    February 12, 2009 at 4:56 pm

    Absolutely, going forward, ya know…
    …these are the words that make me I cringe. At work, the word “footprint” has overtaken all conversation about moving furniture, buildings etc. I realize why, but it doesn’t make it less irritating. What did we say before? I can’t remember; it didn’t leave a footprint on my brain!

  • Reply
    petra michelle
    February 12, 2009 at 10:39 am

    hahaha, Tipper! Si hell this was fun! :)) My niece and her friends come around after school quite a bit and every other word is “like”
    or “whatever”! As for me? I’m the one who’s always asking, really?
    Fun post, Tipper! :)) Hope you and your family have a Happy Valentine’s Day weekend!

  • Reply
    February 12, 2009 at 10:26 am

    LOL I loved this post. I hear the kids say “like” a lot. Other than that, I haven’t noticed anything. I do “type” LOL a lot. LOL See, what I mean. 😀

  • Reply
    February 12, 2009 at 10:15 am

    Anyhow…that’s mine and I use it a lot on my blog too I guess…yikes!

  • Reply
    February 12, 2009 at 10:02 am

    The one the younger generation says is “like” and it drives me nuts, as does, “Whatever” and “Bite Me.” I think the latter two are very disrespectful.
    I’m not sure what I say. Probably, “Ya hear?” LOL Sometimes I think I waste a lot of energy when talking to people who aren’t listening.
    Wonderful post once again. I always enjoy visiting with you.
    Enjoy your day. We have high winds and we’ve had a lot of rain. It’s to get colder here. Not something I’m looking forward to.

  • Reply
    fishing guy
    February 12, 2009 at 9:47 am

    Tipper: I have heard some of these but not every time. I probably say “What do you think?” to try to get more infor,ation.

  • Reply
    February 12, 2009 at 9:43 am

    How about…”that’s how I roll”
    Always good posts Tipper. Thanks!

  • Reply
    February 12, 2009 at 6:50 am

    My 12 year old daughter says ‘like’ about a dozen times in one sentence – and like it’s very hard for me but maybe she’s like almost done with this habit/phase! Like I hope so.

  • Reply
    February 12, 2009 at 6:23 am

    A guy I work with starts every question with “can I ask you a question?” then proceeds to ask. He never gives you the chance to say yes or no!

  • Reply
    Carolyn A.
    February 12, 2009 at 6:22 am

    I have the habit of saying really and ain’t. As in, ‘Ain’t it a sin!’ when I hear something funny. I really liked that outfit and dinner was really good. Really, it’s true. 🙂 xxoo

  • Reply
    February 12, 2009 at 4:43 am

    “So” is my word. Notice it most when I write. When Dirt is explaining something he clicks his tongue. Pulling it away from the roof of his mouth. He does it at the end of each sentence, like an auditory period.

  • Reply
    February 12, 2009 at 12:03 am

    You amaze me with your ideas for posts. I have a brother who starts his conversations with “Looka here” and a bil who says “the thing of it is, is…”
    I find I use the work “so” all the time and didn’t know it until I was teaching a class on repitition in writing.
    I love to come here and see what you’ll do next, Tipper.

  • Reply
    February 11, 2009 at 11:57 pm

    Weeelll, now that you mention it…! I’ve got a bad habit of that deep subject! Aaaand, I’ve got a bad habit of using dot,dot,dot (…) in my blog, it’s how I talk, so it’s how I write! “So” seems to creep in also. As in: Soooo, you think you’re so smart? Or: So! You call this clean? Wow…you got me pegged in this post!

  • Reply
    City Mouse
    February 11, 2009 at 11:06 pm

    I have a bad “incidentally” habit.

  • Reply
    Just Jackie
    February 11, 2009 at 10:04 pm

    Um…..if you watched my webcast on greenasyoucanbe you can count the number of times I said “um” I stopped at 22. Not as bad as the guy I dated that ended everything with “ya know what I mean?”

  • Reply
    noble pig
    February 11, 2009 at 9:46 pm

    Tipper that is so crazy. If someone said now I hell at the beginning of every sentence I would go crazy.

  • Reply
    February 11, 2009 at 9:35 pm

    I am now in the habit of saying this phrase at the end of many a sentence: “I’m just sayin”
    I can remember my Mama saying, “I’ll be” at the end of her sentences.

  • Reply
    February 11, 2009 at 9:04 pm

    I worked with a man who ended every statement with “an that”. Once a worker from another office called and asked for Annette. She thought that was what he was saying and that it was his name.
    I think I use “you know” at the beginning of sentences and I use anyway and well when I write.

  • Reply
    The Texican
    February 11, 2009 at 9:03 pm

    Well I neigh can’t think of anything myself, but I’ve heard all those you listed. An Arky friend of mine used to end some sentences with, “and the such like.” I am very cautious about using fillers in my conversations. I can hardly stand to listen to kids who use them constantly. Pappy

  • Reply
    Patty Hall
    February 11, 2009 at 6:08 pm

    My mil says “so” after every thing she says. And now I catch myself doing it.
    I say ‘well’ alot especially when I’m writing. I say quite a few of these.
    good post.

  • Reply
    Helen G.
    February 11, 2009 at 6:00 pm

    I think if I had tried spelling, I would’ve written it’n idn’t it. How confusing is that!!!
    I imagine if I used anything habitually it also be “well”… unless I subbed my toe, then you wouldn’t want my favorite word. “Well” seems to give a moment of pause for me to collect my thoughts, although the older I get I could probably collect them with a shorter word, like um…
    Hey, if you can’t make fun of your own self you’re gonna have a mighty sad life.

  • Reply
    February 11, 2009 at 5:19 pm

    Sadly, I am guilty of several of these.
    And I have heard most of them. Especially in the older generation.

  • Reply
    February 11, 2009 at 5:16 pm

    my little sister does the “like” thing alot. and i have a friend who says ,”the truth of the matter is….”
    it is funny what people will say on a habitual basis. i’m not sure if i have any myself, but i’m gonna pay attention to find out.

  • Reply
    trisha too
    February 11, 2009 at 5:10 pm

    our whole family gets into saying things habitually, and it goes in cycles, depending on what’s popular/funny with/to us at the moment. one in particular got so annoying, i decreed that anyone, including myself, saying it would get a punch in the arm.

  • Reply
    David Templeton
    February 11, 2009 at 4:14 pm

    Wellsir, that’s one of the funniest reports I’ve seen in a while. You and your clan are just great … and with a special twinkle-in-the-eye, tongue-in-cheek appreciation for all things funny.
    Mocking the rappers and their ilk, I often say to Kasie “Noamsayn” (“Do you Know what I’m saying?)
    I am so happy I found your site.

  • Reply
    February 11, 2009 at 3:28 pm

    This is great! Where I live, all the kids say, “Like.” “It was raining, like, so much, like, I didn’t know what to do, like…” Y’know what I mean?! (That’s the other one I hear all the time – y’know?)

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