So, there is no synonym for grunt…

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    Why in the world is there no universally accepted word to denote that rolling sound of affirmation you make in the back of your throat?

    Through research, the closest writing equivalent is grunt.  Which after a while gets old, no matter how accurate.  Even if you did take German in high school.

    Also, there is no synonym for grunt.  Or at least that I have found.  Harumph, Mmmhm, hmm, huh are all interesting choices but it starts to sound rather like a barnyard in your manuscript.  Especially if you already have a tendency to have your characters snorting too much to begin with.

    So much of communication is non-verbal and I find this stupid little sound to be so vital but there seems to be no decent way to communicate it.  Especially having several characters who aren’t particularly wordy to begin with.  The “rolling sound of affirmation” is important I believe because it’s a physical assent along with a verbal.  If I make it, it’s not simply because I’m lazy, it’s me agreeing with my whole being. Usually.  There are times I’m simply grunting.

    Thoughts? Ideas?


    R.M. Archer

    “So-and-so hummed in assent”? I agree, this is a really hard sound to write for some reason. XP

    Speculative fiction author. Mythology nerd. Worldbuilding enthusiast. Singer. Fan of classic literature.


    Snort, puff, and clucked are popping into my mind but I agree, it is quite a clunky exchange to describe, especially if you don’t want to use ‘grunt’.


    I can say that I’ve had the problem of having no word to use many times also. The options seem kinda like you have to either make it sound like a very gruff man or a Dolores Umbridge.

    I use the word ‘snort’ basically on every page I write, because there’s nothing better to use, and people don’t laugh super often in real life.

    Maybe go with Latin, haha? Seems like there aren’t enough words in the English language….

    " I don't like conflict."
    *laughs in his face*
    "You're in a book. What did you expect?"

    Sarah Inkdragon

    I tend to use humming or just “Eh,” when it comes to stuff like this most of the time. Occasionally I’ll us “Mm.” Or something similar. I really, really dislike it when people try to spell out those odd noises in books past that, as it’s just… funny. And weird. And it just kind of ruins the seriousness of a scene when your non-verbal character very seriously goes “Harrumph!”. Maybe if he’s an old, grumpy mentor type character it could work… but otherwise it throws off the tone for me.

    In my opinion, keep it simple as possible. Saying “He made a noncommittal sound of agreement” is another way to not keep using “he grunted” over and over again as well. Snorting works well, but only in disdain or humor.

    "A hard heart is no infallible protection against a soft head."

    - C. S. Lewis



    *rethinks my entire life*

    I’m pretty sure I just write “Mmhmm”? I wouldn’t be fazed by reading that in a book, even frequently, because I think it’d help it feel real. But yeah, it seems like there’s no good way to describe it. 😆

    I ask where he got these crazy ideas anyway
    He just smiles and says, it’s the way that I was raised

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