HUDSON VALLEY GIRL. Caroline Kennedy would like, y'know, really want to be, y'know, senator.

In informal research, speaking coach Dennis Becker said he and others found that people listening to business presentations shrugged off two to three "ums," "uhs" and the like per minute. But they started getting irked once the number crept up to five to seven.

Besides being distracting, these little locutions can make a speaker seem ill-prepared or unsure of his or her point.

Or, like, y'know, totally tacky.

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