To the editor of THE EAGLE:
I realize it’s not the most burning issue of the day, but I’m recruiting people to fight back against a language infection that is becoming rampant. I’m talking about the annoying habit of beginning a sentence with the word "so."
I first noticed it on the radio, particularly on NPR, and especially at the station in Albany. NPR hosts are notorious for fumbling around and hemming and hawing and stuttering as they try to ask a question. I guess the idea is that what they have to say is so incredibly profound it takes a Herculean effort just to get it out. In contrast, for a breath of fresh air listen to the BBC. Their reporters are actually prepared when they show up for work, so their questions are concise and right to the point without all that pretentious fumbling around.
The infection has spread to cable TV, but I don’t think I’d seen the "so" virus in print until Derek Gentile crossed that unfortunate threshold a couple weeks ago when the first word of his column was "so." My advice to Derek is if you’re going to mimic lazy, sloppy conversational fill-ins in your writing, then you might as well go all in. So, like, I mean, uh, you know. . . go for it!