Why do Canadians say “eh”?

Question: Why do Canadians say “eh” after everything? What does it mean? Should I say it too?

Answer: Good question! I don’t know when, exactly, Canadians started saying “eh,” and it’s interesting that this is such a Canadian expression. But I’m sure that like all other figures of speech, a few people in Canada started using this expression and then it became “catchy.” Others then heard it and started to say it, and then passed it on to others who also started to say it.

So what does “eh” mean? It can be added at the end of a statement or question, or it can be used as an affirmative. For example, for a question, “We’re going for lunch, eh?” or an affirmative, “It’s pretty neat, eh!” Basically, it can be added in anywhere you want to add a bit of Canadian emphasis to your expressions.

In my opinion, expressions usually don’t sound natural on foreign speakers of English, so until you have mastered your command of the language, or you just start to say it naturally, don’t feel you have to say eh.

Modified from Bonnie Gross

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