Reader Paul Ruff notes that “so” is replacing “like” as the all-purpose, meaningless word with which to start a sentence.
We used to hear conversations such as:
“Like, I’m going skydiving tomorrow.”
“Like, wow, that’s awesome!”
“Like, without a parachute!”
“Isn’t that like, dangerous?”
“Like, I’m using Google Cardboard, silly.”
Today it seems we’re more likely to hear exchanges like this:
“So, are you coming to the company picnic?”
“So when is it?”
“So it’s next weekend.”
“So, do you mean this coming weekend or the one after that?”
For some reason, “so” doesn’t bother me as much as “like” in this context. It still annoys me, though.
“So” is a contraction, similar to “and” or “but”.
It isn’t strictly wrong, in English, to open a sentence with a contraction. But they should be used this way, if at all, only cautiously and sparingly.
What we definitely don’t need are sentences that start with “so” by default. Where the word becomes synonymous with “uhh” or “well” or some similar placeholder.
There are some legitimate uses for the word as a sentence opener: “So what?” “So long!” Recently I saw a bumper sticker that read: “So many cats; so few recipes!”
DISCLAIMER: No animals were harmed in the writing of this blog post.
(This article is part of my series on words that are #worth1000pictures.)