So What?

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A podcast listener named Wes Bellmore writes in to say:

Hi freakguys…

So, you may not be aware of this, but an amazing number of the guests on your podcast begin most of their sentences with the word “SO” when they begin to explain something arcane.

“So, what we found was….”
“So, it’s interesting that…”
“So, when you look at…”

So, I have been listening to globs of your podcasts back-to-back (thanks to Stitcher) and this verbal tic is getting to be like Chinese water torture for me.

So, the CBC radio program Quirks and Quarks did a piece on the “SO” tic a while ago, as someone on that program noticed THEIR guests were saying it all the time. I can’t remember what Q&Q said about it.

So, I love the show, I wish economists ran the world.

So, best regards. Wes

So, the facts are that: Wes is right; I am likely the biggest offender; but I’ve found “so” to be so useful in radio writing that I haven’t been able to stop myself.

Well, maybe there’s an alternative …

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  1. Paul Clapham says:

    So, it looks like Wes has a good memory for titles. The Q&Q episode was just over two years ago (March 7, 2009), and here’s the link to the CBC web page where you can listen to the podcast of the episode:

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  2. Chap says:

    As long as “So” is not replaced in frequency by the completely useless and redundant phrase “It is what it is”, to the continued use of ‘So’ I say “so be it”.

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  3. Wilson says:

    I’ve noticed that your guests are also big fans of the “double is”, as in “The reason is, is that …” For some reason this sets my teeth on edge, but I try to ignore it.

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    • Wes Bellmore says:

      Keep your ears open for the “double do”, as in “we don’t do that, but what we do do is…” I then always yell out “YOU SAID DOO DOO.”

      I should be writing for Sarah Silverman.

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  4. Faye says:

    This is fantastic. I do public speaking at my work and have been working on my tick(s). Love this and will pass it along.

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  5. KJB says:

    I have noticed this among academics; it has been driving me crazy! Along with the NPR guest habit of saying “Thank You” in response to the host say “Thank You”….

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  6. Dennis says:

    I work with a woman who has taken to ending–yes, ending!–her sentences with “so.” It wouldn’t be so bad, but she’s a radio host. Needless to say, we edit out that nonsense.

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    • Shane says:

      Haha, here in Ireland I hear that a lot! It can mean either nothing at all or “therefore”!

      …I’ll be off, so.

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  7. Michael says:

    “So” is the new “um.”

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  8. Brandt says:

    This is HIGHLY prevalent in the business/corporate world. I fall victim to it myself. It’s like its a preface for “what I’m about to say is really important, brace yourself”. Also often accompanied by the afore commented “it is what it is”. Though “So…” is much more prevalent. The worst corporate word I hear today is “Ask” as in “…the ask from our stakeholders is…” aka the requirements or the request. I cringe every time I hear “ask”.

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