Why do Canadians say "eh" so often?


I find that many Canadians like to say "eh". I would like to know the following:

Is this just a cultural thing?

Is it improper grammar?

Do any other places do this?

Thanks in advance.

Trevor Clarke

Posted 2015-01-28T17:42:56.350

Reputation: 1 005

Asking whether it's "grammatical" is effectively meaningless - it's a regional dialectal usage - primarily Canadian, but some speakers elsewhere will also use it. It's mentioned on ELL here, and covered more extensively on ELU. But I'd advise learners to avoid it unless they're in the company of native speakers who do use it, or they'll probably just sound "strange".

– FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica – 2015-01-28T17:54:13.950

Do any other place do what? – None – 2015-01-28T18:11:43.480

In the northern part of the Midwest, Wisconsin and Minnesota for example, "hey" is used in a similar way. For example: "It's pretty cold, hey?" or "That test was hard, hey?" I'd also advise against using it as a non-native speaker. It is entirely unnecessary and many natives who use it will do so for effect with a certain amount of self-awareness about it. It won't be easy to make it sound natural as a non-native. – michelle – 2015-01-28T18:20:38.650



According to Church Music Girl on Yahoo! Answers Canada:

It's not as common as some people think, but I have run into some Canadians who do use "eh" on occasion. I think it's more in the east of the country; I hear it more in Ottawa than in Vancouver.

Anyway, I take it as a shorthand way of turning a statement into a question. One might say "It's hot today, isn't it?" or "That was a bit harsh, wouldn't you say ol' boy?" I like the poster who used the French equivalent. In the states, I hear people use "huh" in the exact same way.


Posted 2015-01-28T17:42:56.350

Reputation: 160

I have downvoted this, because although the poster provided the source, he didn't indicate that the answer was taken entirely from the source. There is no original content here, and it seems a comment with a link would be the better way to guide someone to an answer on another site, rather than quoting it as an answer. – None – 2015-01-28T18:10:11.837