Is “So” is the New “Well”? Fun Trends in Verbal Throat-Clearing

So have you noticed that no one on the news can begin a sentence without the word “so”?

So this has been happening with such frequency on TV and radio news, from anchors to reporters to people-on-the-street-answering-questions, it has me wondering: where did this habit come from?

So they do it in a way that pays no attention to the meaning of the word, as in “thus” or “for that reason”. So they’re just saying “so” as a kind of motivational noise, like the grunt we older people make when rising from a sofa.

So there’s no comma. So it’s not, “So, what I mean is…” So it’s more like: “I am starting to speak now.”

So it’s also not just newsy people priming their sentences with “so.” So it’s regular people, friends of mine…even, to my bemusement, myself!

(So if I hear The Mate say, “So I’ll be working on the gutters this morning,” I will consider that as a sign of impending Apocalypse.)

So it’s also showing up now in print, like on Facebook and blogs. So I’d give an example, but I don’t want to embarrass anyone. So keep an eye out for it, and you’ll soon see what I mean.

So, when did this start? (So did you notice–that time I actually used the word properly, logically, as in, “Okay, people, let’s think about this”?)

(Orig. photo by Abigail Porter)

So I’m also wondering, is this just an American thing? So you folks in other countries, are you prefacing your English sentences with “so”?

So another question: what did we use as sentence skid-greasers before “so”? So was it “well”?

So I think it was “Well.” So it might also have been “Um,” or “ah.” So maybe in Ireland it was “sure.” So maybe it still is. So you go, Ireland!

So what do you think? 

You Scratch My Media, I’ll Scratch Yours: Yin-Yanging in the Digital/Cable Age

“So should I join Facebook?” The Mate mused a few weeks ago.

I was startled. “You?! Why?”

Him: Well, you do seem awfully caught up on things like babies and hospitalizations and retirements and stuff. I always have to find out from you what all our friends are going through.

Me: Exactly! You find out from me! So what would you need to join for? It’s perfectly obvious to me that Facebook would drive you mad with its stupid advertising, not to mention all its bells and whistles which even I can barely keep up with. You think I want to listen to you grousing about that?

[That last part was unspoken, you understand.]

Him: Yeah, guess you’re right. You can keep doing my Facebooking for me.

Which, it occurred to me the other day, is only fair, because The Mate does my Lamestream Media-ing for me. I can’t abide TV news in this day and age–sorry, my heart will always belong to Walter Cronkite. When Al-Jazeera America was on, I watched that pretty happily, mostly because they were so shunned by U.S. advertisers that most of their ads were for their own programming. But CNN? MSNBC? Faux “News”? No, no, and NO. Too much snark. Too much slant–even when it’s a direction I agree with, I don’t like feeling the bias. And WAY too much focus on stupid stuff, like Donald Trump rallies, than on real stuff, like what the hell is going on in Venezuela anyway?

(Orig. photo courtesy Wikimedia)

(Orig. photo courtesy Wikimedia)

But I do appreciate knowing what’s going on. NPR only covers so much, and I only have the radio on occasionally, like when I’m making dinner or driving to town during the hours of Morning Edition or All Things Considered. [Given my 4 a.m.-1 p.m. work hours, that doesn’t happen very often.]

Enter The Mate. He watches CNN and MSNBC daily, during his morning and afternoon workouts. (Also a lot of ESPN, which can sometimes get pretty political in itself.) Thus…

Me: [arriving home from work mid-afternoon] Hey, babe, how’s the world been going today?

Him: Well, the House and Senate passed Zika virus funding bills, but they don’t match up, so they’re going to conference. And Puerto Rico’s still broke. And there was a big plane crash in Egypt. And…

Me: [thinking about all the advertising, snark and slant I didn’t have to expose myself to]: Ahhhh….

So here’s to Media Buddies. A whole new definition of marriage. 🙂




Kristen Lamb Envy: I Want to be a Maven Too!

First of all, I’d like y’all to meet my Blogging Guru, Kristen Lamb. If you haven’t been to her website yet, run, don’t walk. Here’s her latest:

Doesn’t matter if you’re a writer or not–although if you are, Kristen has plenty of good advice for your craft. But if you need help or even just ENCOURAGEMENT dealing with social media, Kristen’s your gal–and along the way she’ll make you laugh so hard you’ll probably need to change clothes.

Don’t believe me? Check out

Kristen’s been blogging since 2005, she founded WANA International, (“We Are Not Alone”), an organization dedicated to guiding writers toward their goal, and  she just published a book on social media. She’s all OVER the internet, and as a fellow writer and dedicated techno-wuss, I ought to have serious tech-envy of Kristen. But what I really envy is her title. Here’s what Author Magazine had to say about Kristen last month:

Kristen is the author, most recently, of the highly recommended Rise of the Machines: Human Authors in a Digital World, a prolific blogger, and a social media maven. 

Did you catch that? She’s a MAVEN. 

Merriam Online defines “maven” as “one who knows a lot about a particular subject; one who is experienced or knowledgeable.” It goes on to provide examples of both male and female “mavens,” but I’m pretty sure I’ve only ever heard the word used to describe women. (Wait, so…women are mavens and men are, what, experts? Hmm.  I’ll save my thoughts on that for another post.)

I want to be a maven too! Such a cool word, rhymes with raven, bears the cachet of sophistication…really, who wouldn’t want to be a maven?

So I’ve been thinking of what I could be a maven of. I was a damn good high school teacher, but there are plenty of Master Teachers out there, so Education Maven doesn’t fit. I know quite a bit about running and hiking, but Outdoors Maven? Nope–too many REI employees out there to kick my butt.

Here’s what I settled on: I’m a pie maven. Yup. I can tell you everything you need to know about crust and filling, and I can bore the pants off you with my history as a piemaker.

I got this. (courtesy

I got this. (courtesy

Pie Maven. I like the sound of that.

Gretchen Wing, Pie Maven (courtesy

Gretchen Wing, Pie Maven (courtesy

What about you? If you could be a maven of anything, what would it be? Or…maybe you already are one??? Do tell!