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  1. Member
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    #1

    hawk hack ahem, gathering phlegm up your throat in order to spit it out

    What do you the act of gathering phlegm up your throat in order to spit it out? There's no coughing involved, only this act of "gathering" (I can't come up with a better word). I googled a bit and found the words hawk, hack, and ahem. But I'm not really sure how to use them.

    I wish I had Suzie's ability to _____ phlegm. Whenever she catches a cold, she'd just _____ the phlegm and the cold will be gone in a few days.
    Not a teacher.

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    #2

    Re: hawk hack ahem, gathering phlegm up your throat in order to spit it out

    to cough out phlegm
    to hock a loogie
    I am not a teacher.

  3. Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    #3

    Re: hawk hack ahem, gathering phlegm up your throat in order to spit it out

    I'd use hawk with phlegm.

  4. Piscean's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: hawk hack ahem, gathering phlegm up your throat in order to spit it out

    Note than one would not be admired in Britain for one's ability to do this.

  5. Skrej's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: hawk hack ahem, gathering phlegm up your throat in order to spit it out

    I'm okay with either 'hack' or 'hawk' (although I'd say 'hawk up').

    'Ahem' isn't a verb. It's just an interjection used to get somebody's attention.
    Wear short sleeves! Support your right to bare arms!

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    #6

    Re: hawk hack ahem, gathering phlegm up your throat in order to spit it out

    Quote Originally Posted by curiousmarcus View Post

    I wish I had Suzie's ability to _____ phlegm. Whenever she catches a cold, she'd just _____ the phlegm and the cold will be gone in a few days.
    Note that this activity would be met with horror by most people in the U.S.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  7. Skrej's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: hawk hack ahem, gathering phlegm up your throat in order to spit it out

    The medical term for this is expectorate. Drugs that help you do it are known as expectorants. However, I wouldn't expect to hear the terms from anybody except a doctor or pharmacist.
    Wear short sleeves! Support your right to bare arms!

  8. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: hawk hack ahem, gathering phlegm up your throat in order to spit it out

    Doing it in one's own home is acceptable (if one really must) but doing it in public is revolting. Unfortunately, it's becoming more and more common in the UK and I feel genuinely sick when I see/hear someone do it.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

  9. Piscean's Avatar
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    #9

    Re: hawk hack ahem, gathering phlegm up your throat in order to spit it out

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    Doing it in one's own home is acceptable (if one really must) but doing it in public is revolting.
    My students in China were amazed when I told them this. People from cultures in which the cleansing of the mouth/throat by ejecting unwanted (real or imagined) phlegm with some force is a necessary thing to do several times a day are as astonished by our revulsion as we are repelled by the activity.

  10. Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    #10

    Re: hawk hack ahem, gathering phlegm up your throat in order to spit it out

    I have to not step in their cultural expectorations twenty times a day.

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