He retorts, “Did I Stutter?”

Asia Monét
3 min readMay 13, 2021


Screenwriters just use and abuse.

Photo by Thomas Park on Unsplash

The “Did I stutter?” phrase, was allegedly popularized by the 1985 movie classic The Breakfast Club. (The source is Wiki, so take it as you will). More recently, the phrase became the title in Episode 16, Season 4 of The Office US, where we see a very straight-faced Stanely say the line as monotone as stale water.

It’s safe to say that the phrase has been around for a while.

The ever so trusting and reliable Urban Dictionary (no sarcasm here, I do value it) defines the “did I stutter?” phrase roughly as when you tell someone something quite clearly, and they don’t understand what was said. It might come from utter disbelief, and so you follow up with a, “what did you say?”, and then the person snaps back with “did I stutter?” As someone who is 75% sarcastic, it’s pretty funny. As a person who stutters?

It’s always been a punch in the gut when I hear it in movies.

If you don’t already know, I am smitten with the movies. While I do have a bias towards watching action, drama, or documentaries, I try to keep a range. However, I have noticed that the phrase always seems to come up when someone has a gun pinned to their head, bloodied and crippled, while the assailant is grilling them with questions in demand for an answer. The victim cries out confused, and the one with power retorts back with, “Did I stutter?!” So based on the genres I prefer, I tend to hear it a lot, and it rubs me the wrong way.

Because you don’t understand the breadth of that word. It carries weight for so many people who simply cannot say a word sometimes.

Let’s unpack what the urban dictionary definition says. It states that when someone confidently and clearly says their statement. To that, I say, great! I’m so glad you can! But I can’t! Especially when I am under pressure! And for some reason, when I hear someone say it like that, it makes me feel like you put a word into your vocabulary but never looked up what it meant.

What bothers me is that the general audience might define stuttering as this moment of confusion where your words are moving faster than your brain, and you look ditsy, dumb, and frazzled. So every time I hear it said in the movies, that’s the interpretation I think everyone believes. And that hurts me.

It’s funny, on Tik Tok, people in the comments will say, “Did they stutter? Yes. But do they have a good point? Yes.” And I know as a PWS they might not necessarily have a full-blown stutter, but instead just got mixed up on a few words. And perhaps it’s just the younger generation, us, but a part of me feels a little more understood.



Asia Monét

A 20-something who stutters and trying to figure out how to deal with it on top of adulting shenanigans and discovery