I Am Polite, Let Me Grunt At You

Here’s a pet peeve that’s been on my mind ever since I came to the US.

Person: *Does something that warrants a declaration of gratefulness*

Me: Oh, thank you.

Person: Uh-huh!

Me: …

I don’t know if I’m overthinking this or not, but literally almost everyone here responds the SAME WAY.



I can’t quite wrap my mind around it. I’m not asking a question that requires a yes/no answer. Neither am I looking for acknowledgment that you have heard my thanks. There are so many other responses you could use:

  • No problem! (That’s my go-to one)
  • You’re welcome (A classic, getting less popular, but is still usable)
  • You bet! (I have only one coworker who doesn’t say “uh-huh” and uses this instead)
  • Sure thing!
  • My pleasure (Another classic)
  • Anytime!
  • It’s nothing

The list goes on. It baffles me that one could have all these choices and yet consistently use what can only be described as “a bubbly two-syllable grunt”.


It shouldn’t bother me this much, and I suppose it kind of doesn’t—at least not nearly as much as it used to. (Hearing it so much wears one down, as it were). Does anyone have answers to this particular bit of linguistic evolution? I’m genuinely very curious. I even Googled it. It seems to be a pet peeve among many, but I still have no idea where it bloody came from.

(And to think I thought it was a strictly California thing because the girls at the retail stores would “uh-huh” us every time we thanked them before we left).


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