What? That explanation of how "erm" and "um" are distinct is completely made up. They are the same thing and are pronounced the same. "Erm" is simply the British spelling and "um" is the American. --[anon.]
I'm moving it here. If it is true, we need some citation. kwami 00:41, 15 July 2010 (UTC)
- (US) Occasionally used in rhotic dialects as distinct from "um," which generally indicates the speaker is searching for the proper word to use, or the thought to convey. "Erm" typically intends to convey a distinct secondary message in a polite or subtle way, indicating something is incorrect about the current conversation, rather than there being some uncertainty about the subject.
- Teresa says she's, erm, busy... (i.e. "Teresa doesn't want to talk to you.")
- I don't have time to cite it now, but this does exist. It's a sort of pedantic sneer, as though the person being replied to was rather stupid and the replier doesn't know how to break the news. "Bob would never do that!" "Erm, he's been doing it for six years." Equinox ◑ 20:37, 31 August 2010 (UTC)