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March 31, 2010


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I see so much of myself in you. And by that I mean, you're insane.

So, I noticed that you began your previous blog post the same way:

"So a guy starts a discussion in a LinkedIn forum..."

So, the headline on that post isn't exactly a question, but it does start with the word "why."

Boxer, deck theyself! :-)

Robert, don't count me out just yet.

"So a skeleton walks into a bar, and sez, 'Gimme a beer, and a mop.'"

Starting a yarn with "so" has a long and honored tradition. Starting the answer to a question with "so" means you're answering the question with a yarn.

I didn't ask you for a yarn. I asked you for an answer.

Not only that Dave but they end the sentence with 'right'.

Me to Suzanne,

'So we're having the good bottle of wine tonight, right?'

Just saying.

(And of course, Chris, that goes without saying anyway!)

I am guilty of using "So" myself on lots of occasions. I'm not sure exactly why I do it, other than perhaps it lets me focus my though before I dive into my explanation/response. Now that you've made me think about it, I suppose I should probably focus my thoughts silently, but, at least I don't do the "Um," thing.

I mean, isn't "So," at least a bit better than "Um"?! We all cringe at the "Um" don't we?

Um ... I say "um" a lot, and I sure wish I didn't. I marvel at people who can speak continuously and concisely, extemporaneously.

But I think "um" is a little different from "so," in that it's a space filler.

"So," on the other hand, seems to be a subtle way of warning your questioner that you're about to be long-winded.

And maybe it's perfectly useful for that purpose. But we ought to know, at least, why we're doing it.

That's interesting. I wouldn't have said "So" necessarily means: "Warning, long-winded ahead" but it would be interesting to hear others thoughts on that contention.

Far be it from me to try to judge whether I'm usually long-winded when I start with "So" but from my perspective that isn't what it denotes. For me, it is also a space filler that gives me an extra second or two to gather my thought, which actually, now that I think about it, helps me NOT be long-winded.

But you never answer:

"So ... no."


"So ... yes."


"So ... probably not."

No. In my experience, "so" means: Let's begin at the beginning.

Despite all appearances to the contrary, I, too, am interested in what others say.

I use "so" all the time in my column writing, and I'm hoping my latest column didn't inspire this rant.

No, Eileen. It's a certain type of usage. It's using "so" to begin the answer to a question.

I'm fine with all other uses of "so" (and sew, and sow for that matter).

Maybe what they're really saying is "Sew" because they're all reps for the American Threadmakers Association.

That, at least, would explain it!

I know, right?

Oh, wait. That's another thing I can't stand.

Toastmasters, International helps you to rid your speech of the "so," "uhm," "err" and "ahh" fillers.

It also lets you talk for 5 to 7 minutes about any topic that interests you, for example, trends in the language.

I just won an Area Speech Contest in which I talked about my gray hair, trapping monkeys, and other subjects. Not a single "so" in the entire talk.

So ... can we see a tape, Tom??

I recorded it with a Flip camera, but mostly for my review. If I upload it to my YouTube channel, I will be glad to share it with you.

Anyone visiting the Northbrook, IL area at about 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 29 can cheer (or jeer) me on live as I compete in the Division-level contest.

Northbrook Library
1201 Cedar Lane
Northbrook, IL 60062

I guarantee: No "so"

I do it, David. I also say "you know?" waaaay too much. For this and my many other linguistic offenses, I humbly beg the pardon of the well-spoken and the verbal cognocenti. Maybe we can start a support group? Ya know...so we can get some, um, help.

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