Trends in how people speak seem to come around like flu viruses. I recall very well the ranting of my first chief reporter at a sudden proliferation of the use of ‘sooooo…’ at the end of a sentence.

Suddenly, everyone seemed to be doing it (this was about 20 years ago). It was, as she quite rightly pointed out, as if they a) couldn’t be bothered to finish their sentence b) didn’t know what they would say anyway or c) expected you to complete their thought process by mind reading.

What has been eating away at me for a number of months now is the leap the word ‘so’ seems to have made to the beginning of sentences. Every other interview you hear on the TV or radio seems to have someone who apparently thinks it makes them sound clever to begin the answer to every question with it.

“So, what we’ve discovered is…”

“So, I won’t be resigning today because…”

“So, the research tells us that idiot-speak is catching…”

Some people even do it at the start of every single question. What’s wrong with a clear sentence? Pause briefly for thought if you have to, but drop the pretence and I will be eternally grateful for once again being able to listen to the Today Programme without cringing.

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