Jump to content

So what is this thing about starting titles with "so" all about then?


You are about to reply to a thread that has been inactive for 2318 days.

Please take a moment to consider if this thread is worth bumping.

Recommended Posts

And that means it's perfectly ok to start a sentence with a conjunction now? But I never really agreed with that rule anyway. Nor do I follow it myself. So I'm hardly in postion to criticise.

But I think the reason why it seems so strange to me is that I interpret it as: "Now that all have been said and all the facts are on the table, what is the conclusion?" In other words: The OP has already made up his/her mind, knows the answer and is not interested in hearing what others have to say. Could work as a header for an article (although the gimmick would grow old fast) but it's hardly the way you'd usually start a discussion, is it?

Link to comment
Share on other sites


ChinRey wrote:

And that means it's perfectly ok to start a sentence with a conjunction now?

Yes. Unless you're in a country where language is more strongly policed (like France!).

I don't really perceive it in the same way as you seem to. If someone starts off a chat with "So last night I went and did x, then y." or "So I can't figure out how to do z." I'll assume that it's because they want to pass on information but without pretext to creating a conversation. It skips the preamble, the how-do-you-do's, and gets right into the meat of the topic. I don't read it as dismissive of rebuttal in and of itself.

It's also used in questions, like in this thread's title (proliferation here seems most obvious, as it sounds more equal-footed than Why, How, Where - which often sounds more parent/child or teacher/student) . You're right that it's often used in blog/news headlines - from my angle Gawker, Vice Media* and Condé Nast are more to blame than Zuckerberg. Reason for that, I think, is that it reads forcefully (so, listen, I've got something to say...) without as much aggression as the older, more easily-read-as-clickbait approach (here's what I learned from... or find out what happened when...).

*Mentioned because they were the last folks I had this conversation with, funnily enough!

Link to comment
Share on other sites


Freya Mokusei wrote:

It's also used in questions, like in this thread's title (proliferation here seems most obvious, as it sounds more
equal-footed
than Why, How, Where - which often sounds more parent/child or teacher/student) .


That is interesting because it is exactly the opposite to how I see it. Starting a question without any previously established context with a "so" almost automatically turns it into a rhetorical one and rhetorical questions are definitely power language. They're one of the oldest manipulation tricks in the book.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


ChinRey wrote:


Freya Mokusei wrote:

It's also used in questions, like in this thread's title (proliferation here seems most obvious, as it sounds more
equal-footed
than Why, How, Where - which often sounds more parent/child or teacher/student) .


That is interesting because it is exactly the opposite to how I see it. Starting a question without any previously established context with a "so" almost automatically turns it into a rhetorical one and rhetorical questions are definitely power language. They're one of the oldest manipulation tricks in the book.

Right, exactly. I think we're actually agreeing - I'll rephrase. :D My mistake was using equal-footed, when I should have emphasised more equal than older methods.

Power language escapes the worry of appearing to be weak and needing help. It says "maybe you agree that this is a problem" rather than "maybe you could help me".

It allows folks to ask questions without losing or risking ego status or knowledge levels. It's probably used reflexively online (in response to folks being told - or worried about being told -  they're idiots for asking simple questions).

Now that words live forever, ego and perception of knowledge/maturity is a lot more important to people in the SocMed age than it used to be.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


ChinRey wrote:

And that means it's perfectly ok to start a sentence with a conjunction now? But I never really agreed with that rule anyway. Nor do I follow it myself. So I'm hardly in postion to criticise.

But I think the reason why it seems so strange to me is that I interpret it as: "Now that all have been said and all the facts are on the table, what is the conclusion?" In other words:
The OP has already made up his/her mind, knows the answer and is not interested in hearing what others have to say.
Could work as a header for an article (although the gimmick would grow old fast) but it's hardly the way you'd usually start a discussion, is it?

Bingo! You figured it out.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


Freya Mokusei wrote:

Right, exactly. I think we're actually agreeing - I'll rephrase.
:D
My mistake was using
equal-footed
, when I should have emphasised
more equal than older methods
.


Aww, I misread that as "more equal than others" at first. :P


Freya Mokusei wrote:

Power language escapes the worry of
appearing
to be weak and needing help. It says "
maybe you agree that this is a problem
" rather than "
maybe you could help me
".


That's possible. From the article you inked to (thatnk you btw.) I think I can see two other possible explanations:

One is of course thoughtless emulation of powerful people, like Mark Zuckerberg who clearly uses it as power language: "This is what I say, so it has to be the truth."

Another explanation is the common confusion between internet forums and private sphere. When you ask a family member or close friend "So how did it go?" the question is actually in a previously established context, allbeit a tacit one. It's easy to forget that is not the case on the internet.

All these explanations seem plausible and the reason may well be a combination of them.

Personally I don't think it will last though. Looks more like a fad than a permanent language shift to me.

That reminds me of a completely different question: Is Second Life still performant or is it functional instead these days?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I always viewed it not so much a question as being a way to introduce a topic they want to discuss.  Looking at the first page I see 2 thread titles that start with "So."  This being one of those.  I don't know about the other one; I did not open it  since it is not a topic I am interested in.  However this thread follows that idea even tho the title is ironic.

 

The OP is not asking a question, already knows the answer and just wants to discuss the fad.  I don't think it means anything more than that and as far as bad grammar of the day goes is it any worse than using non-verbs as verbs?

"I don't want to Monday today."

Link to comment
Share on other sites


Rhonda Huntress wrote:

... is it any worse than using non-verbs as verbs?

"I don't want to Monday today."

I think you made it into a verb there. But at least this time we know who to blame.

 

You always have to monday after you have sundayed

 - (old, ancient, traditional proverb that I just made up right now)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

i think that when something starts with So, then the writer is usually going to give an answer, and then put the question, and then put a context to both

unlike the traditional approach.  Put the context, ask the question, give an answer/conclusion. Which is the literary/academic approach

people like Mark Zuckerberg and others get that the internets (at least in their domains) is mostly about people wanting to know what a answer actually is or could be

iIf the answer given doesn't cause the reader to wonder how the writer came to that conclusion then they will not read it any further    

Link to comment
Share on other sites


wherorangi wrote:

unless you fly backwards in the world every 7th day. So can have 2 Sundays, then fly forward and have Tuesday next

(:

Yes but remember that saying is old, traditional and ancient. The days were far more strictly organized back then. Nowadays we can play with time zones and such of course and in SL we can even tuesday on Saturdays.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


wherorangi wrote:

i think that when something starts with So, then the writer is usually going to give an answer, and then put the question, and then put a context to both

Yes. That is probably the most plausible explanation when it's used for an article title.

 

The very first thought I had when I first saw a "So" question used as a thread title was something like: who is this So you are talking to? Is that even a name? And shouldn't there be a comma after it? Why are you posting private messages on an open forum anyway?

Next thought was: if there are two of them here, would they be So and So?

But my thought processes can be a little bit weird sometimes.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've noticed increasing initial-so in verbal conversation over the years (primarly on radio) and it's usually felt to me like a void filler or meaningless affectation. I'm also noticing more sentences beginning with "yeah, no".

The article you linked makes this comment...

"It’s a way for a savvy conversationalist to avoid awkward silences.

That suggests to me that the author of the article isn't a savvy conversationalist, or hasn't ever met one. I quite enjoy speaking with people who are not afraid of silence, and they're about as common as people who aren't afraid of the dark. There's nothing at all wrong with taking a little time to think things through before saying them... and then perhaps not saying them at all.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


Rhonda Huntress wrote:

The OP is not asking a question, already knows the answer and just wants to discuss the fad.  I don't think it means anything more than that and as far as bad grammar of the day goes is it any worse than using non-verbs as verbs?

"I don't want to Monday today."

If "Monday" is intended as a verb, which I'm sure it is, then why have you capitalised it? That's an error ;)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I just listened to a CBC radio interview with a scientist who managed three irksome sentence opening idioms and the improper use of personal pronouns in well under a minute.

"So,..." - I asked a question, why are you making it sound like your answer was unprovoked?

"Yeah, no..." - Make up your mind dammit!

"I mean..." - You haven't said anything, and already you know you were unclear?

"Me and him" - rude and improper!

It was clear to me that each of those openings was uttered as thoughtless filler, perhaps as the inintended consequence of consciously avoiding "ah" and "umm", which were curiously absent from the interview. The rise of "me and him/her" has been apparent to me for some time and I'm not sure what to make of it. My boarder is a routine user of "me and him", and my efforts to educate him have met with "f-off, Maddy".

I do deduct social capital coinage from anyone I hear uttering these things... except possibly for "f-off", which I suspect is more the result of being near me than any particular lack of grace.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites


Phil Deakins wrote:


Rhonda Huntress wrote:

The OP is not asking a question, already knows the answer and just wants to discuss the fad.  I don't think it means anything more than that and as far as bad grammar of the day goes is it any worse than using non-verbs as verbs?

"I don't want to Monday today."

If "Monday" is intended as a verb, which I'm sure it is, then why have you capitalised it? That's an error
;)

Ooooh, Rhonda's been deakins'd?

;-).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You are about to reply to a thread that has been inactive for 2318 days.

Please take a moment to consider if this thread is worth bumping.

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...