Went, Goes, So

When writing I start a lot of sentences with the word SO. And that is bad. Sloppy, lazy, bad grammar, bad writing.  Recently I have noticed, when speaking, people are starting sentences with SO – lots and lots of people. It irks me, my ear picks it up immediately and I automatically frown. Since I am also guilty of this, not so much in speech I don’t think, but in writing, I have no standing in criticizing anyone else. Still, it grates.

There is this bit of language usage where instead of saying ‘he said’ a person says ‘he went’ or ‘ so he goes…’ and ‘then I went..’ Went and Goes instead of  said or says. 

I always thought this was a New York thing but I’ve heard this usage in movies and tv shows so I’m guessing not. Unless the scriptwriters are New Yorkers – could be, probably not.  What say you? Do people talk this way where you live?

I use a lot of slang, but to my mind it’s not slang so much as a regional/cultural language quirk. When I was writing papers in college I wrote the way I spoke, as I do even now on this blog, and it cost me in the grade department. It’s why I could never be a professional writer or even be successful in graduate school. You know my writing style, can you imagine a thesis written in this style? Me neither.

The question is, can I write ‘properly’? In good, solid academic English? Probably, if I tried really hard, if I really put my mind to it, of course I could. I simply don’t have the inclination therefore it mustn’t be important to me. My love affair is with words, in and of themselves, words are solid things to me. I can feel them, smell them, taste them. How I put them together in a sentence is personal.

The only time I labor over how I choose and use words is when I write poetry. While I think in quatrains they aren’t always exactly how I want them the first time they present themselves, well rarely.

If you have ever seen my notebooks (and you have if you remember) then you know how carefully I craft a poem.

Prose and poetry – different voices, different effort. Even my humorous poetry is carefully honed. Therefore not a matter of content or even intent.

I’m just meandering …

16 thoughts on “Went, Goes, So

  1. I’m afraid I’m one of those awful people who starts the occasional sentence with so. I tend to write ‘stream of consciousness’ on my blog without much care for structure. If I started rereading and correcting what I write it would never get posted.

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    1. I use it more than occasionally as my friend David ever so gently pointed out to me some years ago. I also start sentences with ‘But ” – also lazy, I think, don’t know what the general consensus of opinion is on that. Obviously I do not write at a professional level, mostly I write they way I tawk…doesn’t make it right or good – but it is what it is, eh?

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  2. For the life of me I can’t remember if I say went or goes instead of said or says! I don’t think I do but I’ve heard/read it before so maybe it was from me? I’m tired tonight so can’t think. And I’ve just used ‘so’ in two consecutive sentences. Ay yi yi! I don’t start sentences with ‘so’ but I’ve heard it from others frequently. I have unfollowed several people on IG who begin everything they say with ‘so’. Even with my sound off and the captions on, it irritates me to read it at the beginning of sentences!
    I like the way you write because I love the way you tawk!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Unfortunately I start sentences with ‘so’ far to often…also ‘but’ I’ve started to keep on eye on that, well starting now anyway LOL I had a friend who would go bonkers over went and goes instead of says and said. Again I don’t know how often I use that nowadays – I rarely listen to myself – unless the NY accent is really strong – then I hear me and I think “Who the hell is talking like that? Oh – it’s me!”


  3. I’m guilt of the “so” . When someone else starts a sentence off with so, I normally interrupt and say buttons.
    Growing up, we all said goes and went in place of said or says. I don’t think I use it as much as I used to but it still comes out.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It took me more than a minute to get the connection between so and buttons…Good to know that other people use went and go…I don’t ‘hear’ it because I am so used to it.


  4. I start with so all the time, and I know it’s wrong but for some reason it does not bother me in the least :). I’m also sloppy in general. I figure there’s writers, there’s editors, and there’s people who are both but I’m no editor.

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    1. I am actually a very good editor – for both content and technical stuff. I don’t bother a whole lot with it on the blog – poetry I work my butt off to get exactly right. I hate all the amateur ‘poets’ – short lines don’t make a poem in my estimation. And for pity’s sake don’t mix metaphors. I always say I hate prose poetry but then – when done right? One of my favorite poems is a prose poem but it is magnificent!

      Liked by 1 person

        1. https://www.jeannetteencinias.com/beneath-the-sweater-the-skin

          Beneath the Sweater and the Skin by Jeannette Encinias

          How many years of beauty do I have left?
          she asks me.
          How many more do you want?
          Here. Here is 34. Here is 50.

          When you are 80 years old
          and your beauty rises in ways
          your cells cannot even imagine now
          and your wild bones grow luminous and
          ripe, having carried the weight
          of a passionate life.

          When your hair is aflame
          with winter
          and you have decades of
          learning and leaving and loving
          sewn into
          the corners of your eyes
          and your children come home
          to find their own history
          in your face.

          When you know what it feels like to fail
          and have gained the
          to rise and rise and rise again.

          When you can make your tea
          on a quiet and ridiculously lonely afternoon
          and still have a song in your heart
          Queen owl wings beating
          beneath the cotton of your sweater.

          Because your beauty began there
          beneath the sweater and the skin,

          This is when I will take you
          into my arms and coo
          you’ve come so far.
          I see you.
          Your beauty is breathtaking.

          Liked by 1 person

  5. i have noticed when i make a video, i start with “ok”. lol writing nurse notes for way too many years, my writing skills are crap. oh well, as long as the point is understood, does it really matter????

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It matters if you are writing for profit – be it academic, a good grade, or for pay, books, newspaper/magazine articles. It matters if you are personally invested in writing well. It matters if that’s who you are from the get-go. It matters if you want it to.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I”m trying to remember if there is or ever was a legitimate reason to begin a sentence with “so.” I think there is; I think it designates that you are about to say something ironic:

    So you’re actually attempting to talk about grammar in a blog?

    Used otherwise, I think it’s just filler, possibly the equivalent of “ahem . . . ” but with less confidence. I’m just grasping here. I listened to an interview of a young professional on NPR one day and every. single. answer. he gave began with the word, so. I finally clicked it off, without ever managing to pin down why I found it so irritating, and why the practice made me think less of the speaker’s credibility.

    It’s good that we keep this stuff on the radar. Maybe we can slow down the total degradation of the language.


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