Is It Here Here or Hear Hear?

Looking to voice your agreement with someone during a heated debate? You should shout “hear, hear,” especially if you’re a member of Parliament! Of course, if you’re shouting, nobody will notice your error if you shout “here, here” since the words sound exactly the same.

Parliamentarism is a big part of the United Kingdom’s government. Nowadays, the history of the UK Parliament can be traced back to the early thirteenth century. Just like many other places with similar traditions, it’s common to find relics of the past persisting into modern times. One example is that Members of Parliament are still offered snuff before they walk into the Chamber. Some Norman French is used in today’s legislative process as well. Finally, MPs continue to shout “hear, hear” in agreement with statements made by other Members. 

Hear, Hear: Origin and Meaning

“Hear, hear” is actually an abbreviated version of the phrase, “Hear him, hear him.” This was a well-established phrase used by Parliament during the late seventeenth century. Lively debates are a huge point of pride for the UK Parliament, and shouting “hear him, hear him” was a great way to draw attention to a particular point. You may be curious about whether there was a “her” variation–there was not. The very first female Member of Parliament wasn’t elected until the twentieth century. But at some point during the eighteenth century, “hear him, hear him” was shortened to “hear, hear,” and that is the form still in use today. 

Saying “hear, hear” shows that you agree with something that was said by another person. This phrase can easily be replaced with phrases like “yeah,” “what he/she said,” and “I agree wholeheartedly.” Your choice of verbiage simply depends on how formal or informal the situation is. You can also use the phrase “hear, hear” as a cheer at the end of a toast. 

The Confusion

You’ll often see people confusing “hear, hear” with “here, here.” The reason for this is simple: the two words are homophones, which means that they have the same pronunciation. Understandably, this can cause some confusion.

 Although “hear” is a verb and “here” is an adverb, they are easily confused. This is especially true with the phrase “hear, hear,” which is typically spoken out loud and not often written down. 

Examples of Proper Use:

  • A nearby delegate shouted, “Hear, hear!”
  • She said it’s “best to tread with caution in situations like these.” Hear, hear!
  • The bar was filled with men yelling “Hear, hear!” in response to the impassioned speech.
  • “This is an amazing opportunity to celebrate their contributions to the world.” Hear, hear!

What Is An Adverb? – A Complete Guide

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By Jessica Allen

Jessica is a full-time freelance writer and editor with a Bachelor’s degree in English and Spanish.

2 comments on “Is It Here Here or Hear Hear?”

  • What about the little newspaper boy standing on the corner with fresh news! Would not be say, “Here, here” as he is trying to sell the newspaper that he has in his possession?

    • While that would certainly make sense, the phrase does originate in the halls of the British Parliament, asking its members to “hear” the speaker.

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