Press question mark to learn the rest of the keyboard shortcuts. And it's helping us communicate better. Michael Lewis, in his book The New New Thing, published in 1999, noted that “When a computer programmer answers a question, he often begins with the word ‘so.’ ” Microsoft employees have long argued that the “so” boom began with them. Often so is used in a similar way as the last example, as a conjunction, but placed at the start of a sentence; The puppy was cute. In fact, a substantial percentage (often as many as 10 percent) of the sentences in first-rate writing begin with conjunctions. Cancel Unsubscribe. A leading-edge research firm focused on digital transformation. .” epidemic infests every media interview. So next time you notice somebody starting a sentence with “so,” don’t get so irritated. She hasn't seen any convincing evidence for "so" starting in Silicon Valley. But Bolden, although not a historical linguist, has her doubts about Lewis' claims. Maybe that's where Zuck learned it. Loading... Unsubscribe from chimpycc? This usage seems like a discourse marker, a way of saying "right then, pay attention, I'm about to give you the answer". Many Silicon Valley engineers learn English as their second language — and almost all of them speak this way, according to Lewis. But Bolden, although not a historical linguist, has her doubts about Lewis' claims. So is supposed to be used in something like, "The grass is tall, so it will be mowed." You can pull a complete thought out of the examples. — I indicate that I've been meaning to ask this question for a while, that it's been on my mind, or incipient," she explained. The use expanded to "The grass is tall. Sometimes it's justified for the sake of verbal flow. Busy people are worried people, and so to feign an air of self-importance, they avoid appearing relaxed or open to distractions. However, the context of a conversation is not enough to satisfy the complete thought/complete sentence rule. ...so do you think we'll have enough beer for the party?". It appears in writing as far back as Chaucer and Shakespeare. Because it's perfectly normal to do so. as well as other partner offers and accept our. He claims programmers, especially of the Microsoft variety, started, or at least popularized, beginning answers with "so." 0 1. Except for … From the Chicago Manual of Style: "There is a widespread belief—one with no historical or grammatical foundation—that it is an error to begin a sentence with a conjunction such as and, but or so. For example, "So, do you want to go get some lunch?" Account active 6 September 2018 It’s a topic that piqued the interest of comedian Limmy, but he wasn’t sure precisely what bothered him about it. It’s become hugely common, even among expert speakers during formal interviews (just listen to NPR while various experts are interviewed). Fast Company recently attacked the use of "so" at the start of sentences, claiming it insults your audience, undermines your credibility, and demonstrates discomfort with the subject matter. The most successful people succeed because they are clear on their why. So you're saying you've been saving this for just the right occasion? you do it too, like the start of the question" So why do so many people start a sentence with "so"? " They signal what’s coming next. It is also synonymous with the word therefore and the less-common ergo; these conjunctive adverbs are often called “transitions” in formal writing classes. "When I ask — 'So how did your interview go?' Starting Sentences with “And” or “But” One of our subscribers wrote to ask about starting sentences with and or but. It appears in writing as far back as Chaucer and Shakespeare. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg notoriously uses "so" to start sentences. As a result, he claims, "so" alienates your audience. ”. Some people use it as a forced segue into what they want to say, even if it doesn't fit into conversation organically, or if they want to change the subject. Why do so many people start their sentences with ‘so’? The word "so" appears at the beginning of sentences in two ways: before questions and before answers, especially during interviews, Galina Bolden, associate professor of communication at Rutgers University, who published research in 2008, focusing on the first example. She wondered whether it is considered grammatically correct to do so. The operative word here, though, is sentences. Sign up for a daily selection of our best stories — based on your reading preferences. We have been breaking this rule all the way from the 9th century Old English Chronicle through the current day. The “So . Press J to jump to the feed. When you break that weekly figure down, it only comes to one sentence beginning with "so" every eight or 10 minutes. He has a point. So everyone is starting their sentences with the word "so" these days. chimpycc. Ssssooo that I could think of what I want to say. Alice: Because I said so. She hasn't seen any convincing evidence for "so" starting in Silicon Valley. Answering a question with “so” or “well,” she says, ”signals, ‘I’ve understood what you said and am now going to give you an answer to your question.’. Find out why Close. In addition, communications professor Galina Bolden of Rutgers University notes that beginning sentences with so, “communicates that the speaker is interested in or concerned about the recipient…. Whether you’re an entrepreneur, a creative, or someone who is simply committed to achieving your goals make sure you’re clear on your why . The word "so" appears at the beginning of sentences in two ways: before questions and before answers, especially during interviews, While Bolden said "so" appears less frequently before answers, the journalist Michael Lewis noticed its prevalence when exploring Silicon Valley for his 2001 book ". In that sentence, so is a conjunctive adverb. Maybe that's where Zuck learned it. One way to understand why this one is a type of adverb is to see that it modifies the whole sentence that follows it, as adverbs often do. So, I picked it up. maybe its a habit i do it to break a silence especially when it is an awkward slience. It also invokes prior conversations between the speaker and the recipient, drawing on their relationship history.”. And end it with, that'd be great. In this case, so introduces the listeners to an idea. Sydney: Why do I have to do this dumb homework? Why do people start sentences with 'so'? In a Q&A with New York Times' blog Bits last month, he dropped it four times in just the first answer. But people often answer questions with a "so," and this serves a different purpose. And so people do a kind of dance, especially if it’s the first time they’re talking negatively about a known-in-common third party.” A turn-final so doesn’t have to be negative. According to data from both the U.S. and U.K. in the 1970s through the 2000s, however, the former is much more common. recently attacked the use of "so" at the start of sentences, claiming it insults your audience, undermines your credibility, and demonstrates discomfort with the subject matter. It indicates a way to close an interaction, or dismiss a notification. Now, so is commonly used at the beginning of a sentence to mean "as a result" as it was traditionally used, but also with the same meaning as "uh," as an initial attention-getter. "It also invokes prior conversations between the speaker and the recipient, drawing on their relationship history.". So, it will be mowed." There’s a reason we do it. It has been so for centuries, and even the most conservative grammarians have followed this practice." ‘We accommodate, and converge with, the group of people we want to belong to. In fact, a substantial percentage (often as many as 10 percent) of the sentences in first-rate writing begin with conjunctions. The 1959 edition of Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style begins two senten… .” should be given a fixed penalty notice. A worrying number of Britons are prefixing what they say with a superfluous ‘so’ in an attempt to sound ‘with it’, but instead are coming across as impressionable twats. These types of adverbs at the beginning of a sentence (also sometimes called … Subscribe Subscribed Unsubscribe 21. 13, 2020 Don't undermine your message, or your relationships, with these instant conversation-killers. While Bolden said "so" appears less frequently before answers, the journalist Michael Lewis noticed its prevalence when exploring Silicon Valley for his 2001 book "The New Thing," The New York Times reported. PEOPLE should stop using the weird Americanism ‘so’ to start sentences, it has been decided. “Unofficially, it has become a way to boast without outwardly bragging,” Bertagnoli writes. Here's How People Will Learn To Speak English In 5,000 Years. Victor. Over the last few years, lovers of language have casually observed an increase in speakers beginning sentences with the word so. The answer is yes. So – So, you’ll also find this one at the beginning of a sentence, namely as a way to “manage” the conversation and sound fairly authoritative (or condescending). They frown or squint and seem to have a … No, it has not. since. An article in Crain’s Chicago Business looks at a subset of the dangling so; writer Lisa Bertagnoli suggests that sometimes when people end sentences with so, they’re bragging. "It communicates that the speaker is interested in or concerned about the recipient," Bolden said. "My cat had her first litter of kittens today! It is widely believed that the recent ascendancy of so as a sentence opener began in Silicon Valley. John Rentoul of the Independent on Sunday, author of The Banned List: A Manifesto Against Jargon and Cliche, explains why he is not so impressed. SO there! So everyone is starting their sentences with the word "so" these days. Many pretentious people believe it's wrong to start a sentence with a conjunction. The "so" boom is likely a natural progression of language — not a spinoff of tech-industry jargon. So you're telling me verbal flow is an important communication tool? Fair enough. Adding "You know," makes you sound intelligent and informed. ", "That's great! What are some new ways in which so is being used in colloquial speech, and what cues do these utterances send to listeners? To be “legal,” your sentence must express a … The supposed rule is without foundation in grammar, logic, or art.’ Modern American Usage (1966) And (do you see what we did there) if they still don’t like it, here are some more examples of people doing it. Look, I’m not going to say I’ve never used this, but I hate myself every time I do. "So" at the start of a question often marks the beginning of a new topic that one of the parties wants to discuss, often called an "interactional agenda," according to Bolden. By clicking ‘Sign up’, you agree to receive marketing emails from Business Insider "'So' cuts across the borders within the computing class just as 'like' cuts across the borders within the class of adolescent girls," he wrote. It also is similar to a transition word, such as however or therefore, both of which could have been used instead in this example. Explanation of the English phrase "You know, (sentence)": You actually start a sentence with "You know," when you want to give someone information that you think they don't know. ‘A prejudice lingers from the days of schoolmarmish rhetoric that a sentence should never begin with and. Office worker Emma Bradford said: “My friends keep saying ‘So. There is a widespread belief—one with no historical or grammatical foundation—that it is an error to begin a sentence with a conjunction such as and, but or so. Thaaanks, New comments cannot be posted and votes cannot be cast. 6 years ago. Consider the following example: Speaker 1: Dr. Johnson, when did you start studying this disorder?Speaker 2: So, I had noticed certain … But the transformation of "so" from a midsentence conjunction to an interjection at the beginning of questions contributes to human relationships, according to Bolden. Many translations of the Bible are filled with sentence-initial ands and buts, and they even may be found in some of our more beloved—and prescriptive—usage guides. It has been so for centuries, and even the most conservative grammarians have followed this practice.". Beginning a sentence in conversation with the word “so” makes the speaker sound stupid. JEREMY Vine says anyone starting a sentence with the word “So . So yesterday I heard the news that Mark Darrah, a long time developer at Bioware, was leaving, and in the replies of his farewell tweet Greg Ellis (the actor who played Cullen in the Dragon Age games) implied he had a hand in Darrah's departure. Seamus Heaney, in his fantastic translation of Beowulf, uses it so:. But linguistically, the use of "so" at the beginning of sentences can serve an important function. It reminds me of every idiot who years ago prefaced sentences with “basically” as if something illuminating was … But people can get annoyed if you use it too much or use it to talk about a subject that you don't have special knowledge of. LOOK. Technically, “so” functions as either a conjunction or an adverb, which means it can be used either to connect two independent clauses in a sentence or to modify an adjective (so cool!). Subscriber But Fast Company's Hunter Thurman wrote that a speaker's use of "so" indicates something rehearsed and dumbed-down. The usage creates the impression that the speaker wants to sound intelligent. In fact, a substantial percentage (often as many as 10 percent) of the sentences in first-rate writing begin with conjunctions. "So what we want to do is build a pipeline of experiences for people to have.". Why You Shouldn’t Start a Sentence with Any of These 10 Phrases Catherine Holecko Updated: Jul. Someone using “so” like this may well be doing it because they’ve heard other people doing it. Most Creative People. r/AskReddit is the place to ask and answer thought-provoking questions. He claims programmers, especially of the Microsoft variety, started, or at least popularized, beginning answers with "so." Anybody can start, but not everyone will finish what they set out to do. ... Usually, whatever follows “so” is a carefully crafted sentence, evolved over many iterations and audience reactions. Beginning a sentence with the word "so" has become a regular occurrence in everyday conversation, and it has not been received entirely positively. Starting with so. When you use a conjunction at the start of a sentence, it makes much more of an impact. Firstly, has it ever been wrong to begin a sentence with and or but? Conjunctive adverb their sentences with the word “ so. to go get some lunch? sentence in with! 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