I’m sorry to point this out, but the latest bad speech habit is the simple word, “so.” Now that I’ve mentioned it, you will notice how prevalent its misuse is.
Often it is used at the beginning of an explanation of some type, as in:
“So, I had coffee this morning and I’m still sleepy.”
“So, you go down that street and turn left.”
In that context, we would expect “so” to connect two statements. If you want to check if it’s being used appropriately, substitute a similar word, such as “therefore.” It’s obvious in the examples above that it doesn’t make sense.
So, it’s a meaningless, throw-away word.
This improper usage first came to my attention a year ago or so when we were interviewing a young physician for a video. He is extraordinarily articulate, but each time we started a new topic, he would use “so” at the beginning of the first sentence as something of a technique to center himself and focus. It was not a problem for us because we could simply edit the errant “so” from any segment.
But, I’ve been hearing it more often, such as from young political commentators. Recently I been catching myself picking up the irritating habit! I’m now monitoring myself closely and mentally correcting myself to prevent it from becoming a weed with deep roots.
Join with me in this my anti-bad habit movement by repeating this mantra: Meaningless so’s have got to go! Meaningless so’s have got to go! Meaningless so’s have got to go!…