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Beginning a response with the word "So..."

Beginning a response with the word "So..."

Beginning a response with the word "So..."

(OP)
Not sure if this topic has been covered here, but I see a tremendous amount of professionals, researchers, etc, beginning responses (often to journalist's interview questions) with word "So".
For example:
Journalist: "How did you discover the cure for this disease"
Scientist: "So...I was doing research on these cells and noticed some anomalies with the t-cells"
Journalist "What sort of anomalies did you notice?"
Scientist: "So...I noticed they were growing at a faster rate...[etc. etc.]..."

I'm not even sure if this is proper grammar, but I hear it 'so' often and something about it sounds like a shortcut and just not right. I'm curious about what the consensus of this group is on that particular phenomenon.
--Jim

RE: Beginning a response with the word "So..."

I frequently use "so" to begin a sentence. I intend it to mean roughly the same as "thus", "therefore" or "accordingly". As far as I know it's grammatically correct when used this way, but I tend to agree that it sounds like a delaying tactic while one collects one's thoughts.

RE: Beginning a response with the word "So..."

Some people do the same thing with the word "well" at the beginning of almost every sentence.

Jim

RE: Beginning a response with the word "So..."

It is similar to the German use of "Also" at the start of a sentence - I believe usually in response to a question.

It is quite like saying "Well, I was waiting for a bus when..."

Perfectly acceptable in my opinion - if not over used.

Aspiring to mediocrity since 1957

RE: Beginning a response with the word "So..."

I usually only use it when bringing up a question to someone. Mostly used as a padding word I do agree.

"So how about this unusual weather we have been having?"

Could mean the same thing without the leading word, therefore padding. Otherwise I believe grammatically correct.

Learning - A never ending quest for knowledge usually attained by being thrown in a situation and told to fix it NOW.

RE: Beginning a response with the word "So..."

So... I see that most do agree that it is quite correct usage of the word 'so', in that regard.

HJ, correct, on the usage of the word 'Also', and it is used primarily when someone is trying to reiterate something that happened in the past. (kind of a dramatic interjection)

Ben
"If it works don't fix it! If it doesn't use a sledgehammer..."
How to ask a question, when posting them to a professional forum.
Only ask questions with yes/no answers if you want "yes" or "no"

RE: Beginning a response with the word "So..."

@ ANFPS26,

When my co-workers start a sentence with “well” I usually interrupt them before they continue with “That’s a dip subject.” smile (Water wells are usually dip)

Have fun.

---- Andy

RE: Beginning a response with the word "So..."

It may or may not be grammatically correct to begin a sentence with 'so', depending on how 'so' is being used. 'So' can be used as several different parts of speech. As an pronoun, adjective, or adverb, I think you'd be hard pressed to find a grammatically correct usage for 'so' at the beginning of a sentence. As an interjection, 'so' would be the entire sentence.

When 'so' is used as a conjunction, it may or may not be grammatically correct at the beginning of a sentence. The purpose of a conjunction is to join two clauses. As karluk said, ' "I intend it to mean roughly the same as "thus", "therefore" or "accordingly". ' Those are all conjunctions that are joining two clauses. One clause is a premise which precedes the conjunction, and the second clause is the conclusion that follows the conjunction. It's not necessary that the premise, conjunction, and conclusion be in the same sentence, but it is necessary that the premise precedes the conjunction. So, if the premise is presented in a previous sentence, it's grammatically correct to begin the concluding sentence with a conjunction, such as 'so'. If the first clause has not been presented, it would be grammatically incorrect to begin a sentence with a conjunction.

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RE: Beginning a response with the word "So..."

With respect to the dialog presented in the original post, I would say that neither 'so' is grammatically correct.

Quote:

Journalist: "How did you discover the cure for this disease"
Scientist: "So...I was doing research on these cells and noticed some anomalies with the t-cells"
I can see no grammatically correct interpretation of the word 'so' in that response.

Quote:

Journalist "What sort of anomalies did you notice?"
Scientist: "So...I noticed they were growing at a faster rate...[etc. etc.]..."
Here, 'so' would only make sense as a conjunction with the previous response.

Would you consider the following sentence grammatically correct?
"I was doing research on these cells and noticed some anomalies with the t-cells, so I noticed they were growing at a faster rate."
Although that it structurally valid, I don't find it semantically valid because the conjunction 'so' implies a relationship between the premise and conclusion that doesn't hold, at least not for me, in this sentence.

However, the conjunction 'and' looks to be a better fit.
"I was doing research on these cells and noticed some anomalies with the t-cells, and I noticed they were growing at a faster rate."
I know some who would balk claiming this to be a run-on sentence, but that's another topic.

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Good Luck
To get the most from your Tek-Tips experience, please read
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RE: Beginning a response with the word "So..."

Quote (Andrzejek)

When my co-workers start a sentence with “well” I usually interrupt them before they continue with “That’s a dip subject.” smile (Water wells are usually dip)
We used to say, "that's a deep subject," because wells are deep.

James P. Cottingham
I'm number 1,229!
I'm number 1,229!

RE: Beginning a response with the word "So..."

Quote (CC)

Here, 'so' would only make sense as a conjunction with the previous response.

It would make sense if 'So' is a proper noun. <grin>...Ah, So.

santaMufasa
(aka Dave of Sandy, Utah, USA)
“People may forget what you say, but they will never forget how you made them feel."

RE: Beginning a response with the word "So..."

I have to agree with CC
in the two examples original given "So" does not make sense and is clearly just being used as a filler similar to 'Er', 'Um' or 'For sure' (popular with F1 drivers & gets my goat).

I would be hard pushed to find a valid example of it being used as an answer to a question & would normally consider it to be uses as a continuation as is " blah blah so we blah blah'

A Maintenance contract is essential, not a Luxury.
Do things on the cheap & it will cost you dear

RE: Beginning a response with the word "So..."

Thinking further one way I can see it being used to start a sentence is as a response to a question.

Quote:


So what you are saying Mr politician is you don't have a clue.

A Maintenance contract is essential, not a Luxury.
Do things on the cheap & it will cost you dear

RE: Beginning a response with the word "So..."

(OP)
ipguru,
Yes, in your example the "so" begins the third sentence. The first sentence presumably a question which was responded to by the politician as the second sentence. Now the third sentence beginning with 'So' relates back to the first question. Also in that example it's not followed by the ellipses/pause by the speaker.

In my example the 'So...' was said, as you suggested, as an 'Er...' or 'Um...', which was the point I was trying to get across. I hear this on interviews on NPR all the time, and it sort of grates on me--these are often people from academia responding like this and it just seems like a less refined speaking manner--not far from the 'Valley Girl' speak of the early 80's still in use today.
--Jim

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