‘Here, Here,’ Should be Banned? There, I Care. Hear, Hear!


Neither Hear Nor Their

You want to applaud a statement. Do you rush into print with, ‘Here, here’? If so, think again. What does that actually mean? That something is present twice? So what?

If new customs creep into language which make sense, then don’t interfere with them. However, if they are corrupting the original meaning and ending up with something ridiculous, it is better to become pedantic: to look carefully at the origins, to examine what is actually meant, and to keep the meaningful version.

‘Hear, hear,’ came from the British Houses of Parliament, where applause was restricted, and arose from shortening the form of ‘Hear him, hear him!’ This had been adopted for some time as a sign of approval and the permitted substitute for whooping and hollering. Apparently the first occasion on which the contraction appeared in writing in the annals of Parliament was in 1769 when, in the House of Commons: ‘Mr. Grenville called out hear! hear!’

So it is all very simple. Whenever this is used, it is a plea to everyone to absorb the sense you believe the speaker (or writer) is making. In effect it means, ‘Listen, listen!’ or ‘Note well’. It is not trying to point out that anything is the opposite of being elsewhere.

Here I cup an ear
To hear ‘Hear, hear!’
You don’t think it’s fair?
Don’t cry. Their their!
(Where ‘There, there,’ first came from, I’ve no idea!)

More Care-less Usage


less-dangerous (mod)

Saying ‘Could care less’
Is another mess
In some modern use
Which has now come loose –
Where ‘I couldn’t care less’ is right, I guess.

© Colonialist October 2015 (WordPress)

About colonialist

Active septic geranium who plays with words writing fantasy novels and professionally editing, with notes writing classical music, and with riding a mountain bike, horses and dinghies.
This entry was posted in Colonialist, History, Humorous rhyme, Language and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

36 Responses to ‘Here, Here,’ Should be Banned? There, I Care. Hear, Hear!

  1. Madhu says:

    Ha, I can almost picture my grandson’s lethargic “Whatever”! 😀 I have never heard “Here, Here” used before, not even in Hinglish! I hope you don’t have plans to visit India, you’ll have to care (a lot) less about aberrations if you do.


    • colonialist says:

      Some of our locals of Indian origin have their own quaint way of saying things. ‘You come in night of darkness and you tie my dog loose’ is an example.
      My mother lived in India for a while, in the days of the Raj and consorting with Rajahs.


  2. Ricari says:

    thank you for the lesson 🙂


  3. Stephanie Haahjem says:

    Well, I couldn’t care MORE! So hear, hear! (I like the modern term for “couldn’t care less”, which is “whatever!”)


  4. Zirkie says:

    I will definitely watch my words!


  5. Kev says:

    I thought it was, Hear,hear… as in listen, take note, pay attention. If it works, don’t bloody change it, that’s my take. I don’t care… who cares… What’s all that about? Other than showing the ignorance and rudeness, not to mention a complete lack of respect that mirrors the ideology of a new generation.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Tom Merriman says:

    I think I use hear, hear, Col, but when I do, I have to think whether it should be here, here, or hear, hear. Hear, hear here always seems the better option than here, here which doesn’t really make much sense to me, but that said, I may have used here, here accidentally on occasion. And quite possibly here, here here on occasion too… for which I apologise if I have. But if I hadn’t used here, here here, it must have been somewhere else. Now, where was I?


  7. Patrecia (with an E) says:

    inthe proper English language there is no such word as’couldn’t’…..It is an American influence as is much of todays language….I could not care less….


    • colonialist says:

      I think, like shouldn’t and wouldn’t, it is a contraction that has been around for a long time. In speech, by running the words together, long before it was adopted in writing.


  8. All very true… Hear, hear sir!


    • colonialist says:

      You aren’t concentrating – that should have been, ‘Hear, hear, everyone!’ So parliamentarians these days are wrong when they address the comment to the speaker! 🙂


  9. Bravo and thank you for airing some more of my bugbears. English is going to put!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. disperser says:

    Hear, hear, well said.

    As for caring, my interpretation is that I could care less, but I care so little that it’s not worth making the effort to do so.

    Whereas, “I couldn’t care less” implies someone has put forth a serious effort to reach the absolute minimal of caring. Paradoxically, that implies they cared enough to expend all that energy into reducing their caring to the absolute minimal.

    . . . makes perfect sense to me, you know, if I could care less.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. adeeyoyo says:

    Yes, and all the double negatives in use EVERYwhere.


  12. Mm Col. You can’t expect an argument here, hear?

    You’ve obviously read here here somewhere.

    I could care less is an interesting one. Totally nonsensical, and v American, so maybe more prevalent in SA than my part of the world. Interestingly, I was reading some grammar/style guide which pointed out that it was not strictly acceptable in correct American, merely that is has become common usage. We’ll never larn these colonialists … 😉


    • PS I forgot to mention, ‘I could of done whatever’. In fact I could of cared less? Aaaaagh!


      • colonialist says:

        Those certainly should of done themselves in. The argument that the two sound identical doesn’t wash. With any decent diction there is a noticeable difference between the ‘hiv’ and the ‘ov’.

        Liked by 1 person

    • colonialist says:

      I have seen ‘here, here’ any number of times in comments recently. That set me off. Some research shows that it has also come into usage. Like the ‘could care less’ it doesn’t deserve to. It isn’t ‘cute’ or ‘funny’ – it is just an aberration.
      The ‘could care less hasn’t come into usage hear … er, here … thank heaven, but a book I edited based partly in USA used it and the writer and I had some interesting debate on the subject. She kept it, to my dismay.


      • Col. You are joking! Actually, that’s the sort of tat that I wouldn’t pass. I will accept authors wanting to bend grammatical rules, even if I don’t like it. But here here, would just have been changed. I’ve said before I don’t use track changes, but I will explain some changes I make or discuss them with the author. I’m not having my name on something as an editor that has glaring errors like that. Anyway, luckily I have nice clients 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

You have the right to remain silent - but please don't!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s