During our 11am Sunday brunch, I came to the idea of talking about name placeholders. We had eggs, bagels, smoked salmon, and fresh apple and carrot juice. My husband and I were setting the table for this late Sunday breakfast/lunch together, when he asked me where was the “rrrrreeehh”.
Now, I do not know what a rrrrreeehh is. The word does not exist in my vocabulary, but I understood. We needed the rrrrreeehh to blend the juice. A rrrrreeehh in our case is a hand held juice blender.
I was recently at my car dealer’s garage to find out what was wrong with my car; it made a loud high whistle, while I was driving.
Me: It’s going wheeeeeeeeeeeeeee. It is sort of a metallic squeal or something.
What word was I looking for? I didn’t know. I couldn’t say the problem was in my brake wheel, because I had no idea of what was making the noise. Instead, I demonstrated this whistle. (My husband and I are partial to making weird sounds.)
Sometimes we use words like thingy, gadget, whatchamacallits, or even thingamajig in English to describe a word that we can’t remember or don’t know.
btw: A fun thing to do when someone makes noises is to ask them to repeat the noise, it’s hilarious, see how many times you can get them to repeat the noise.
Okay, seriously, words that help you and are placeholders when you want to talk about something, but don’t know what it is called.
Try to find the word I'm looking for:
The gizmo keeps running out of paper. __________________________________
The thingamajig is blinking on the phone. __________________________________
The whatchamacallits in the remote need changing. _________________________
The thingy is loose. __________________________
What were your answers; yes, of course you had no idea of what I’m talking about because we are not in the same room, with me pointing my finger to whatever it is.
My answers are printer, light, battery and screw (hahaha)
Can you do this with people, why yes you can. You can use a placeholder for the name of a person. Usually though we don’t use sounds to talk about a person unless we can imitate a sound they make. *Warning: this may not be especially nice or if the person is your boss and he/she overhears, well, it could backfire. *backfire; a loud noise a car makes or a choice that you make thinking it is positive but actually it proves to be the opposite.
Otherwise, you can say:
You know, that woman who works in accounting.
Do you know whom-I’m-talking-about, she works in accounting?
Do you know what’s-her-name she works in accounting?
These are not rude references, they are a cry for help when you’re in a jam and just can’t remember or don’t know something’s or someone’s name.
Remember, use your words wisely (.L.)
ANNABELLE B-BAUMANN, Communication Coach
"Annabelle I've learned alot from you .....with your friendly art and your diversified lessons... it is never boring!!!" -Doris, BASF
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