Having moved beyond the intellectual confines of my career in finance, I now have time to ponder the great questions of our time. Like for instance, why do people overuse the word ‘so’ so darn much? Do they not realize in conversation it makes them sound like ignorant hillbillies from Kentucky or West Virginia- or perhaps Idaho? I mean seriously why must you be so sorry or so happy or so sad? Just be sad or sorry or for God’s sake be happy.
The worst abusers though, and near the bottom of the gene pool, are those word challenged orators who punctuate the end of a sentence with ‘so’. For example, “Went fishing over the weekend and my dog jumped out of the boat…so.” So what? What did you do? Did you go back a get the damn dog? This has annoyed me to the extent that I actually undertook some research on the matter. Remember from high school English the dangling participle? Well l learned that something called the dangling so has mutated its way into our language. Under this principle, as used in conversation, the ‘so’ in my fishing story is dangling and serves to invite the other person to finish the thought or sentence.
That works okay for married couples and close friends who have been known to complete each other’s sentences. But do you really want to put that level of trust with the guy running the taco truck? “I’m thinking I’ll take the burrito with eggs and potatoes; really didn’t get any breakfast this morning so…?” I’ve just given the cook free rein to alter the order. He may think I need beans in my meal to give the office something to remember me by.
I implore you to spend the rest of the day listening for the word so. When you hear it, think of a good replacement that may actually convey the emotion in a stronger fashion. Instead of, “I’m sooooo proud of you son.” Try, “I’m really proud, or I’m hugely proud, or you’ve made me incredibly over the top proud of you.” Just drop the “so”, it makes you sound like a Valley girl. Nobody wants that.