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August 20, 2013


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It's phatic speech, something we all do/need in social situations. Why? Geez, it's been way too long since Dr. Caton's Linguistics 110.
Anyone? Enlighten me, remind me?

It ALWAYS has some kind of purpose, and usually a bullshit purpose.

In this case, the person who starts with "so" establishes him- herself as testifying as an expert.

If you ask me, on account of I'm a writer, whether it's okay to split an infinitive and I say, "Yes, it's fine, and only an old schoolmarm would say different," I expose myself as having ventured an opinion. Which I have done.

If, on the other hand, I answer the same question beginning with "so"--"So, there's disagreement among grammarians, some of whom say ... and others say ..."--well now I'm posing as a kind of clinician, which keeps me on a linguistic pedestal of my own installation.

Likely, because I want me up here and you down there.

Dr. Caton, how did I do?

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