Thursday, 8 November 2012


Some people I know have expressed mild irritation with the use of "So" as the start of a response in interviews. This is a trend that has been recorded online - as with many language usages, there are more notices/comments about AmE than BrE. It has even been called "the ubiquitous 'So'". So I was interested to read a comment on a recommended blog -
- which pointed out (just used those dashes, I realise, to avoid commas, which can be controversial) that it had been used by Seamus Heaney in his translation of Beowulf. This was more with the sense of Old English "Hwaet!", though, than with the traditional BrE use of suggesting a logical next step. It is more like introducing a new topic, or even chapter, especially in Irish English usage, it seems. So, next time you hear a politician on the Today programme answer with "So...", tell yourself that it doesn't have to be logical: it could just be story-telling.

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