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View Full Version : So - why begin every sentence with "so" ?


ETOPS
12th Sep 2016, 11:20
So I was watching some political TV prog this weekend and many of the talking heads began each reply with "so" :confused:

So having spotted this annoying trend I now find its happening all over !

So annoying but why has this started?

gemma10
12th Sep 2016, 11:26
So I just flipped back here from the Computers section and I find this thread- so so very annoying isn`t it.

andytug
12th Sep 2016, 11:27
Voice coaching, pauses, make it sound like you have gravitas.
Same with sports men and women who use "obviously" and sometimes "so" as well.
Goes with asking a question instead of answering one, or answering a completely different question on purpose to avoid the original, etc etc.

vaqueroaero
12th Sep 2016, 11:32
So not to like cause a thread drift, but I have like noticed that young folks like use like a lot in their speech these days. So like what's up with that?

ATNotts
12th Sep 2016, 11:42
"So" tends to be the pointless word of choice for academics and politicians, and it is extremely annoying.

I would really like to see a man with a gong sat beside the interviewee and every time the word "so", or "like" is used inappropriately gong should be hit. It might make interviewees realise how stupid they sound.

G0ULI
12th Sep 2016, 11:42
An explosive interjection that allows the speaker to get an edge in a conversation where perhaps several others are trying to interrupt. It gives a sharp cut offi to any previous statement or conversation and cuts off a journalist trying to ask a convoluted question by limiting their interrogation to a single point. The sound does seem to cut through other peoples speech rather effectively while being somewhat more polite than, Oi!

gemma10
12th Sep 2016, 11:47
Whatever. Is this word on the wane as well. Don`t hear it so often now, certainly doesn`t have the impact of interjection.

andytug
12th Sep 2016, 11:51
Oddly enough when my wife uses "so" on the phone it's a sign she's trying to end the conversation....

Random SLF
12th Sep 2016, 11:54
...As ye so, shall ye reap...

ORAC
12th Sep 2016, 11:56
Well, that's a good question. Ummm, deserves a reply. Ahh!, I think what you really meant to ask......

chuks
12th Sep 2016, 12:11
"So" suggests careful listening, a summing-up of what the group thinks about what is under discussion.

Compare, "So, I think we can agree that Donald Trump is right to say that Hillary Clinton has serious health issues," to "I think that Trump is right to say that Hillary Clinton has serious health issues." Both statements are saying pretty much the same thing, but the first one includes the group, inviting them to agree with the speaker and with Donald Trump, as if this is a consensus that has been reached, the speaker merely summing it up as something the whole group must basically agree with. The second one is just what the speaker thinks about what Donald Trump has said, nothing more, which invites further argument: disagreement.

It's just another salesman's trick, "So I think we can agree that the fur-lined hubcaps make a lot of sense as an option on our new car," instead of "What about the fur-lined hubcaps?" The poor fish then goes along with what "makes sense," instead of stopping to think if it really makes sense or not.

One verbal tic that a friend of mine has is to say, "I mean .... " Yeah, I know that you mean it; you just said it! He gets me saying it after a few hours of exposure to this! It's a funny one because it suggests that he is presenting a more complete way of saying something, except that it's being said for the first time. It's like hearing "I find clowns scary. I mean that one time we went to the circus and one killed my dad," compared to "I mean, I find clowns scary."

seafire6b
12th Sep 2016, 12:31
I'm pretty much with GOULI on this.

"So": often suggesting a question mark at the end of a statement and then being interrogative, seeks a response, rather than the "therefore", "thus", "consequently", or "accordingly" alternatives. So, that's my tuppence-worth anyway!

I also agree with Basil regarding "obviously". More than once I've taken call-centre staff to task about their infuriatingly repetitive misuse of the word.

ORAC
12th Sep 2016, 12:36
At this moment in time, I must disagree.

Stanwell
12th Sep 2016, 12:46
So, why do you ask, ETOPS?
It's just another buzz-word that's lately become fashionable amongst the semi-literate.

Not quite as bad, though, as my younger brother's business-speak.
He tries to introduce that into everyday conversation.
Now, that is painful.
Give them a year or two and they'll find another, equally annoying, way of trying to express themselves.


In much the same vein, at a social gathering, you'll find a brat, in your face, asking impertinent questions...
Why do you ask that?, I say.
Because I'm interested, that's why!
Oh?
.

JDJ
12th Sep 2016, 12:57
Most of the usage I've noticed is in situations that people used to use "well". For instance, "So, it works like this...", "So, I work here because...". Either word is unnecessary; when I used to edit audio on interviews for radio and TV, I would often remove this kind of thing when possible.

zetec2
12th Sep 2016, 13:05
Must include what a lot of the F1 circus say during the interviews "for sure" another pet phrase ?.

late-joiner
12th Sep 2016, 13:09
Have noticed it is often used by scientists on tv about to explain a [complex] concept.

Was also used by Tony Blair a lot to address us from his pulpit.

Lonewolf_50
12th Sep 2016, 13:56
So - why begin every sentence with "so" ?



Because "a needled pulling thread" takes too long to say.

G-CPTN
12th Sep 2016, 15:12
So I was watching some political TV prog this weekend and many of the talking heads began each reply with "so" :confused:
For sure. . . .

Tankertrashnav
12th Sep 2016, 16:55
Must include what a lot of the F1 circus say during the interviews "for sure" another pet phrase ?.

Has anyone in the F1 world ever described a car as "fast" instead of "quick"? Might be one of those things like aircraft/plane to weed out those "in the know" from the rest.

Helol
12th Sep 2016, 17:01
The most over used word is 'absolutely' rather than a simple 'yes'.

lomapaseo
12th Sep 2016, 18:43
whatever .................

obgraham
12th Sep 2016, 22:12
Look......

Out Of Trim
12th Sep 2016, 22:20
So, I thought it was just me that had noticed this.

I recall watching an American Female Pilot being interviewed at an Airshow about the F-35. Every question she answered began So..

I couldn't believe it. Must have picked this strange habit up from somewhere.. :confused:

Geordie_Expat
12th Sep 2016, 22:23
Another annoying habit these days is answering a question with "Yeah. no..."


Why ? Surely one or the other.

SASless
12th Sep 2016, 22:42
"So....you see what I am saying?"

After about the third time in the first three exchanges in a conversation I hear that from my Niece, a High School Principal, I want to throat punch her!:mad:

Attempts to convince her that she should set the example for her students usually gets a reply along the lines of "I see what you saying!".:roll eyes:

The American Public School (Government run schools) are not necessarily turning out scholars and far too often they return to perpetuate the process.

FullOppositeRudder
12th Sep 2016, 23:40
Then there are those who finish any/every point they trying make in a (perhaps controversial) discussion with "Right?" (spoken in a rising pitch).

obgraham
13th Sep 2016, 02:24
This seems a particular foible of Fox News bimbos.

Ascend Charlie
13th Sep 2016, 02:49
"So" is often followed by "hopefully", as in the Thugby League player in the TV interview:

"Yair, we had a good game, so hopefully we will geddinta the foinals".

NRU74
13th Sep 2016, 08:08
Like so (used 'em both!) many people I'm no longer amazed that no yoof appears to be able to construct a sentence without using the adjective amazing, even when talking about quite mundane things.

Stanwell
13th Sep 2016, 08:19
You forgot 'awesome' .. and its superlative - 'totally awesome'.

alwayzinit
13th Sep 2016, 08:29
Mr T Blair had the habit of starting a sentence with " At this moment in time..."
rather than "Now"!.
Think it came under the principle of "Why use 1 word when 5 will do".
Used the drive me potty!
The other made up word that drives Mrs A and I loopy is "Physicality" when used by Stuart Barnes commentating on Rugby. It has been picked up by all his mates too now!:rolleyes:

ORAC
13th Sep 2016, 08:33
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Filler_(linguistics)

vctenderness
13th Sep 2016, 08:48
The most annoying unnecessary word used almost exclusively by pompous politicians, aka Peter Mandelson, is the prefix Look!

It implies that the listener is not intelligent enough to understand the words of wisdom about to be uttered by the speaker.

Loose rivets
13th Sep 2016, 09:52
So, today I feel so-so.

Loose rivets
13th Sep 2016, 09:57
Wrongly placed in this thread. Moved to its own thread with G-CTPN'answer.

pulse1
13th Sep 2016, 10:29
So, it makes a change from "I mean" which drive me mad.

Ascend Charlie
13th Sep 2016, 10:51
And the US sports players who say "Nowumsane?" as if we would know what they were saying.

ExRAFRadar
13th Sep 2016, 11:26
I started in IT back in the late 80's and that was a perfect time to be placed for hearing the usual crock of "Blue Sky, left field, run it up the flagpole, bat the ball round the court, see where it lands" rubbish

But then came GW1 and the bovine excrement factor really went through the roof.

I recall going to one Anti-Virus company whose product description brochure made me think I had turned up at an Arms Manufacturer.

"Smart targeted algorithms delivered by stealth software that can target individual viruses with minimum collateral damage to surrounding files"

Drove me mad.

Rosevidney1
13th Sep 2016, 12:47
I am amazed at how many politicians in the UK claim they are 'clear' even when they are trying to fudge truthfully answering the question put to them!

Effluent Man
13th Sep 2016, 13:09
The media are to blame equally with politicians for the current impasse. It has become a standard blocking move to fudge. They know that if they give a straight answer they are well and truly fecked and that the smart arse interviewer will have them for breakfast. It's a Geoffrey Boycott move.

Mechta
13th Sep 2016, 20:53
"You know", seems to be the favourite sentence ending of BBC Radio 4 interviewees. They should be given listener-activated shock collars for us to activate whenever they utter such annoyances. :E

Chef Bruz
13th Sep 2016, 22:59
So, I think we can agree that the use of the word "so" at the start of a sentence is compelling agreement by the listener to the statement...

I used to sell cars and in that profession you're always closing the deal. It promotes a meeting of the minds regarding the concept, a forceful use of linguistics.

So you now know what the sales professional is doing when he (or indeed she) is using the term! Every time you say "yes" in reply to their questions, you're moving (ever so slightly) towards agreement.

Null Orifice
14th Sep 2016, 15:22
So....basically....I'm clear with that....you know.

olympus
14th Sep 2016, 16:25
"Yair, we had a good game, so hopefully we will geddinta the foinals"

Hate the use of 'hopefully' when what the speaker means is 'I hope'. My dogs look at me hopefully when there is food around.

G-CPTN
14th Sep 2016, 16:43
Why are football supporters so keen on getting 'a result'?

Isn't that a given?

GrumpyOldFart
14th Sep 2016, 22:38
What about all these pseudo-intellectuals who pronounce the plural of 'process' as 'pross-ess-eeze'? Bunch of stupid so-and sos.

And our American friends who add needless syllables and words whenever they can. F'rinstance, they never say 'high speed' - it's always 'a high rate of speed.' Twarts.

Fairdealfrank
14th Sep 2016, 23:39
The most annoying unnecessary word used almost exclusively by pompous politicians, aka Peter Mandelson, is the prefix Look!

It implies that the listener is not intelligent enough to understand the words of wisdom about to be uttered by the speaker.

Paddy Ashdown does it as well.



Another pain in the arse expression loved by politicians and businessmen is:

"going forward"

Krystal n chips
15th Sep 2016, 05:19
There's a new one to add to the list......as seen recently on one of those "mission statements" that are useful for adorning walls, but sod all else.

As most of this "statement" concerned the luminary himself, with the mandatory fixated smirk photograph, the little gem that stood out was " our centre of gravity is "......:ugh:

Meldrew
15th Sep 2016, 08:57
The most annoying thing for me is the questioning intonation at the end of a sentence. Brought to the UK by the Australian soap "Neighbours" Does this happen in the USA?

Peter-RB
15th Sep 2016, 10:43
Look, so it was Toni BLIAR who was always Clear.. You Know, so forget your Blue Sky.. Thinking..For-sure that will clear the decks, and give the results
l ..is that Clear..

yeahno!! :ok:

Geordie_Expat
15th Sep 2016, 11:21
And just to be really picky; why do cop shows insist on using the abbreviation GSW when "gun shot wound" has less syllables ?

G-CPTN
15th Sep 2016, 13:53
And just to be really picky; why do cop shows insist on using the abbreviation GSW when "gun shot wound" has less syllables ?
Because the initial report will be made in a notebook - GSW is quicker to write (and takes less space) than gun shot wound.

Seemples . . .

pattern_is_full
15th Sep 2016, 18:40
On the original question...

There is the Monty Python example, from 50 years ago - "So, anyway....." John Cleese even used it as the title of his autobiography.

Otherwise, as SASless and someone else allude to, it is a habit of academic speech. Go to any college classroom where a technical or logical progression is being explained, and the guy/gal at the blackboard will say something like, "We take such-and-such to be correct. So, it follows that........"

Janet Yellen makes me crazy with this - but she probably views give-and-take with congresspeople to be just such an academic discussion. Or at least falls back into the Socratic habit.

Similar usage occasionally in German and Spanish - "Also," and "Entonces," as semantically-null sentence starters.

Of course, popular culture will pick up anything that sounds authoritative in tone...regardless of whether the original function or meaning is understood or appropriate.

G-CPTN
15th Sep 2016, 18:54
On the original question...

it is a habit of academic speech. Go to any college classroom where a technical or logical progression is being explained, and the guy/gal at the blackboard will say something like, "We take such-and-such to be correct. So, it follows that........"
In this case, so means therefore.

Geordie_Expat
15th Sep 2016, 18:58
Because the initial report will be made in a notebook - GSW is quicker to write (and takes less space) than gun shot wound.

Seemples . . .


OK, write it but why say it ?

G-CPTN
15th Sep 2016, 19:02
OK, write it but why say it ?
10-4 good buddy . . .

Uncle Fred
16th Sep 2016, 05:19
There's a new one to add to the list......as seen recently on one of those "mission statements" that are useful for adorning walls, but sod all else.

As most of this "statement" concerned the luminary himself, with the mandatory fixated smirk photograph, the little gem that stood out was " our centre of gravity is "......

KnC - Unfortunately I have allowed those mission statements to drive me half way to the madhouse. That was until a friend of mine sent me this brilliant insight that mission statements should not be longer than eight words:
The Eight-Word Mission Statement | Stanford Social Innovation Review (http://ssir.org/articles/entry/the_eight_word_mission_statement)

I can now forward this idea to those odious organizations that think the longer the mission statement the better. I do not fly for FedEx but think their mission statement/logo is the absolute best of the best: The World on Time. Four words that say it all.

cattletruck
16th Sep 2016, 10:14
So is better qualified so.

Yes, but so...
Why is it so?
Be it so.
Not so.
And so...

Pinky the pilot
16th Sep 2016, 10:27
Yes, but so...
Why is it so?
Be it so.
Not so.
And so...

Ah so. (Desu ne)

Stanwell
16th Sep 2016, 12:19
And, of course ... "Make it so."

pax britanica
16th Sep 2016, 13:06
In the earleir days of radio for telecoms and broadcasting mikes were not the minature wonders theyare today and radio systems were also nowhere as good.

Broadcastsers were often trained to start a sentence with a meaningless starter word most of which would get lost in the mike 'noise' . In the telecoms world and in aviation people often started a sentaece with 'ugh/urr' or similar because on a two way link the voice switch lagged and cut off the first syllabull to the Speedbird 512 became ...bird 512 . as an example.

So that early broadcast tradition and the need for peopel to compose their thoughts suggested something simialr and as Ugh isnt very nice why not start with the word SO , it turns a question back on the asker and allows ears to catch the full part of whats said.

Thats what i were told when i were a lad by long time radio comms men. Also my better half worked on the old Speedbird london HF where they had a foot pedal mike and were encourage to 'err' at the start of each transmission as it was mostly going to be lost -modern twoway radios are much more sensitive and dont 'lose the inital sounds