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Sentence-Initial So

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So, can a sentence begin with the word so? Which ones? So is oftentimes used in place of therefore to conclude an explanation, but more people are using it as a general sentence-starter, in the same vein as well. Grant notes that while it may be grating to the ear, it’s not wrong, and it’s more productive not to peeve about it, but instead to record it and add it to the rest of the data we collect about our language. Ultimately, we learn about each other by doing so. This is part of a complete episode.

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  • I heard a really good discussion of recent research on Sentence-Initial So on Slate’s Lexicon Valley —- you can listen by going to their website and looking for the podcast “Lexicon Valley Episode No. 7: A Needle Pulling Thread.”

  • Grant really bugged me with his reply to this one when it first aired. I KNOW there has been an increase, because starting a response with “so” when one does not mean “therefore” irks the heck out of me. He finally admitted that the records were 10 or 15 years (I forget which) out of date, and I thought, “Duh! Right around the time this trend started!”

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