10) So… Why are we Starting Sentences with “So”

So… I keep hearing sentences starting up with “So.” Where did this all come from — and why are people doing it so much? See the BBC article on the subject at….

http://news.bbc.co.uk/today/hi/today/newsid_9644000/9644002.stm

But we’re interested in your feedback too. Remember, when providing links, our spam filter holds your comment for approval if you insert more than one link in a reply. (We’ll eventually approve it – but you won’t see your posting immediately.) Let’s see if we can get to the bottom of this?

7 Responses to 10) So… Why are we Starting Sentences with “So”
  1. John Lindner Reply

    So what’s the problem? There are a “few” (very few) instances where “so” may be appropriate, but I think it’s a habit of people who are trying to be writers.

  2. Gert Reply

    I have been noticing this affectation being used more and more by interviewees on TV news shows and talk shows. It’s SO annoying.

    • Anonymous Reply

      It makes me crazy!

      • tanya Reply

        Annoying, affected. You hear it a lot on NPR from supposedly well-educated “experts” but now even ordinary middlebrows begin speaking with, “So…”

  3. Erroll Reply

    My biggest peeve is people who answer your question starting with the word “so”. It seems to happen almost all the time now. It’s totally irritating. A more appropriate “beginning word” to an answer may be “Well,…” (indicating that the answerer is thinking about what they’re going to say. “So” seems to mean that they only barely heard your question and are just saying what they would have said anyway, as thought they were continuing a thought process that had already started in their minds, or your question triggered a rehearsed”automatic” response that required hardly any thought at all, which is insulting.) Or just ANSWER and skip the “so”! (probably the best option). If I ask someone directions, it is disturbing to me if they answer “so you walk down 3 blocks and make a right”. It sounds WEIRD. I would expect them to say, “Okay what you do is, you walk down 3 blocks and make a right”, or even better and more direct, “walk down 3 blocks and make a right”. “So” actually means “therefore”. Would a person answer “Therefore walk down 3 blocks…” as if to say, “well you asked me directions and therefore here is my answer”? It simply sounds awkward, illiterate and wrong, and in my opinion it IS wrong. I once had an English teacher who taught us that if a word adds nothing to a sentence, just omit it. A lot of people need to omit this annoying “so”, and fast!

  4. Karen H. Reply

    This is now rampant in interviews on Public Radio, both the headquarters shows, and the ones they simply air. It is horrendous. I can overlook it when the show is nrrative or story based journalism, but from the news anchors and their news associates, it is becoming pervasive. Hearing it so often makes it very difficult to avoid slipping into, much like the adverbial “Like,” from Valley Girl casual dialect.

  5. Brucew268 Reply

    It feels as if its detractors might be misunderstanding the use of “So”, or they have a highly prescriptive static approach to language rather than dynamic usage approach. However, perhaps it is used a bit too freely. Below is a link to an article I found helpful:

    http://www.dictionary.com/e/sentence-initial-so/

    Brief excerpt: In a 2010 New York Times article Anand Giridharadas sums up insight Bolden supplied via email: “To begin a sentence with ‘oh,’…is to focus on what you have just remembered and your own concerns. To begin with ‘so,’…is to signal that one’s coming words are chosen for their relevance to the listener.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Please enter your name, email and a comment.