So, what you're saying is that this sort of sentence is so, so wrong?
Moreover, I would say that sort of sentence is vastly, terribly wrong.
So, a needle pulling thread.
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Like, 'so', is like the 21st century version of like 'like'?
So... Frozen (spoilers):
So.. you want to get dinner sometime?
it so undermines your credibility
Who sews whose socks?
Sue sews Sue's socks.
Who sees who sew
whose new socks, sir?
You see Sue sew
Sue's new socks, sir.
Verbal fillers are a ubiquitous human linguistic tic. Like, Uhm, Actually, Basically, and yes, So are all just part of talking to one another without spitting out the first thing that surfaces in your mind. In Arabic, it's yani, which even I picked up when I lived in Egypt and was speaking Arabic on a daily basis.
IMO, any of these are actually a good thing. It means that the person you're talking to is thinking through what they are saying. Maybe they are making sure they are accurate, or trying to keep from offending you. Maybe what they are talking about has some gravitas, or they're not totally confident in how they are portraying their own thoughts.
Any verbal filler has the potential to "undermine your credibility", but most people don't hear it in day to day conversation, as they shouldn't.
So apparently Seamus Heaney was wrong. He opens his translation of Beowulf with the word "So..." That's his translation for the Anglo-Saxon *"hwaet". *He explains,
Conventional renderings of the word "hwaet", the first word of the poem, tend towards the archaic literary, with "lo" and "hark" and "behold" and "attend"...But in Hiberno-English Scullionspeak the particle "so" came naturally to the rescue, because in that idiom "so" operates as an expression which obliterates all previous discourse and narrative, and at the same time functions as an exclamation calling for immediate attention.
Not wrong, it just reveals you for the superficial jerk that you are. Now, the French version, "alors" demonstrates sophistication, while the Japanese "ano" lets people know that you have nunchaku handy in case they step out of line.
It has been annoying me for a few years now. It's as if the speaker's as bored with your question as they are with their answer. But it never occurred to me that its user was unsure of themselves. I guess it would have to take a user to come up with that idea. I am consequently more sympathetic and bothered less by the expression. But by not very much.
There is no actual data cited in the article and it makes a general statement that ignores that the word has several meanings, so I will ignore it.
It is - and always has been - quite acceptable to declaim, or declare, with an unsolicited 'so'. It's when the 'so' begins a solicited response that it becomes insufferable.
So you are!
I feel like this is more relevant to "professional speaking" rather than colloquial communication. It's not that different from relying too much on a particular transition, or any other verbal hiccup that one happens to use -- whether it's "um" or "you know" or "et cetera."
Now, what does irk me -- even when I do it myself! -- is when people END sentences with "so"! It's more common in the midwest, I've found, but certainly not restricted to there.