Is “blah blah blah” the most common spelling?

What is the most common or correct spelling of “blah blah blah”?

  • blah blah blah
  • blah blah
  • bla bla bla
  • bla bla

My question stems from when I first wrote it as “bla bla bla” in an English text, but a friend told me it should have been written as “blah blah” so I decided to ask here.

Before that I had checked it out on some online English dictionary and Google search but I wasn’t able to clear it out.

Answer

The phrase “blah blah blah” and the single word ‘blah’ are both very informal. In fact, even though the OED is pretty descriptive, I’m surprised it has an entry for ‘blah’ (it is not something I expect in print, and that’s all that OED relies on).

As to what constitutes a standard, for English, there is no government supported official body, like the French Academy, which dictates usage. It is a little more decentralized in English writing culture, relying on style guide writers (from book or newspaper publishing houses or self declared but recognized experts), and the primary and secondary school systems.

The phrase is informal enough so as not warrant an official, correct spelling by any authority. Because of its informality, one would not expect a magazine or newspaper editor to regulate its spelling because they would just try not to have it appear at all.

This might seem disingenuous because after all it is in the OED and there are many instances written on the net. Some people do write it. But the authorities on what should be written would probably say that it should not be written at all.

Then it falls to practice. And only practice defines (circularly) what is the most common. And that seems to be ‘blah blah blah’.

Your friend ‘corrected’ you by telling you what he’s seen more often. ‘correct’ and ‘common’ are not the same thing, but when there’s no correctness authority it is all we have to go on.

As to whether two or three repetitions, I’ve never heard or used less than three in speech; if you’re going to spout nonsense, might as well go all the way.

Attribution
Source : Link , Question Author : Ali Shakiba , Answer Author : Mitch

Leave a Comment