Why so?

These days and more posters have adopted the very odd practice of opening posts with the word “so”, when the post is not following directly from something they had said previously or in direct reply to someone else… Increasingly it is even being used to start the opening post of a new thread.

The word “so” is a conjunction, linking something by way of explanation or expansion or question, and quite out of place opening something new. (It can also be an adverb, as in “the music was so loud”.)

What is it that makes people do this? It is such weird misuse of English!

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so what?

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Art thou trying to move this topic to the Music Room by quoting Miles Davis work?

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More music, Dutch folk.

A great album.

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Surely it’s just a reflection of the trend over the last few years of people starting answers to questions (e.g. in interviews) with a largely spurious ‘So, …’. Semantically empty, sure; probably incorrectly used; slightly irritating, possibly. As it becomes more and more common, it’s only a matter of time before it migrated from being a semantically empty answer-starter (not terribly dissimilar to ‘Well, …’) to being a semantically empty thread-starter (perhaps akin to ‘Hi All’).

Languages evolve. It’s what they do. They are not contractually obliged to evolve in ways that we like or enjoy.

Mark

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So what is a song by The Anti-Nowhere League! Much better than Miles Davis….

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Agreed!

Innocent Bystander,
I agree entirely with your thoughts.
I believe that many people have forgotten that there is such a thing as “writing for purpose”, that is, using a form of language which is appropriate to the medium. It seems that, sometimes, people writing on this forum and elsewhere appear to believe that they are actually standing in front of those with whom they are communicating and write as they would speak. Most on the forum are very lucky to have English as their first language and we should use its richness, nuance and sophistication with care.
Another correspondent has mentioned the evolution of the language and he is right. The language does and should evolve, but those of us who use it should try to ensure that its elovution is progressive, enriching and helpful, not a race to the bottom!
Brian D.

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But not as good as the one sung by Lotte Lenya in Cabaret (stage version). :grinning:

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For me, saying “ So “ in English or “ Alors” in french, while beginning a sentence, is not correct grammatically. So what? :grin:
But why not? The use of “ So” is like to say : “ here is what I tend to think “, or ,after a moment of thinking, the “ So “ points that you are ready to formulate finally what you were thinking.

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Language inevitably evolves. Sometimes the evolution can be irritating, but one thing is certain, it will continue to evolve. :thinking:

So, could be intended as a simulacrum of leverage. Like the salesman putting a foot in the door. Perhaps ?

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In the words of E J Thribb: so, farewell then …

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So long…

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…and thanks for all the fish!

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‘So’ is now frequently used as what the linguists call a discourse marker. ’ Discourse markers are words or phrases like anyway, right, okay, as I say, to begin with. We use them to connect, organise and manage what we say or write or to express attitude’

Writing on an Internet forum is perhaps closer to oral forms of expression than formal writing. As some have argued, language is an evolved system rather than a designed one. Words and phrases
change through time. Some analysis of discourse markers here:
Cambridge grammar

So, I’m going to suggest it is a trend in language where the speaker wants to join or react to a conversation. This is different from using ‘so’ as a pure conjunction. And like rising intonation where no question is implied it could be an unconscious trend.

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Yes.
So, can give some depth towards a casual phrase to encourage a response. Such as…
“So, I have recently noticed that kitchen foil has got a bit thinner again”

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Often so “so” is used at the start of a change in conversation amongst others who have a case of verbal diarrhoea.
When someone has taken centre stage too long telling a story that no one has any more interest in listening to.