So About This Ed Bott Character…

So Ed Bott was wondering why so many Microsoft people start their sentences with the word "so." "So" is a weird word. It tries to mean "apparently" and "greatly" and "thus" all at once. I actually had someone tell me that starting sentences with that word made me sound smarter. I laughed since I view it as an empty filler word -- a Twinkie snack cake in the English language. It's a verbal tic many Microsofties have that gets from one thought into another. It tries to make it sound like we were listening to the last thing you said. (Don't worry: we weren't.)

So why do we use this extra word? Probably because somebody smarter than us did it first and we're just copying them. Rather like the period where so many people ran around imitating a beer commercial by screaming, "Wazzup." You know: people who are smarter than we are.

Comments (5)
  1. So it is a common verbal tic at Carnegie Mellon. That is where I first heard it and I sort of assumed it drifted to Microsoft and other hi-tech companies (I’ve heard CMU alumni at Sun do the same thing) from CMU. But I could be wrong.

  2. johnmont says:

    So that’s really interesting.

  3. guilty. picked it up from all the MS stuff i’ve read. have done some quick proofreads on my own blog posts and seen like 3 sentences in a row start with the word ‘so’. don’t know how to kick the habit?

  4. Kurtiss Hare says:

    In the same vein as "so," is "kind of" and "sort of."  Smart people use it to identify each other.  It’s this kind of verbal gang-sign for technorati  that usually precedes some creative analogy describing the given concept.  It simultaneously downplays the strength of the description and alerts the listener that the concept is important and paradigm-changing enough to deserve deprecation.

  5. After my previous posts on language where several commenters pointed out that language is an evolving…

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