language & grammarThe Emperor decrees

The Emperor decrees that ye shall no longer respond to questions with “So…”

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I have been declared Emperor of the World. Let us not waste time explaining why or how; let’s all simply accept the fact that we are better off, as a result; hence, my next decree:

Emperor’s Decree No. 23Q: Citizens of the Empire are no longer allowed to answer someone’s questions by leading off with the word “so.” For example:

Interviewer: Is your novel about “coming of age,” Mr. Writerly?

Mr. Writerly: So…in the book, I try to examine youth as, etc, etc.

Although this type of response is as trendy and “NPR-ish” as inserting the phrase “sort of” (pronounced: “srtiv”) after every five words of a statement, leading off an answer with “so” makes it sound as if you are relieved that the interviewer finally shut up for six seconds and allowed you to continue to talk about yourself. It’s arrogant and it is a sure way to kill the flow of any discussion. And it will stop as of today. The Emperor has his eye on all of you pseudo-educated, neo-snobs…

The Punishment: Violators will be locked in a cell with a small desk, a quill and ink, and no food. They will be forced to write five-hundred word requests and to make arguments as to why they should be fed, each day, for a span of two weeks. Eight hours after each request, they will receive a note in response from the Emperor. The note will be engraved and gilded. It will read, simply, “So?” (In his divine munificence, the Emperor will provide a protein drink per day.)

Now, go forth and obey.

The Emperor will grace the world with a new decree each Tuesday morning.

Chris Matarazzo is a writer, composer, musician and teacher of literature and writing on the college and high school levels. His music can be heard on his recent release, Hats and Rabbits, which is currently available. Chris is also the composer of the score to the off-beat independent film Surrender Dorothy and he performs in the Philadelphia area with the King Richard Band. He's also a relatively prolific novelist, even if no one seems to care yet. His blog, also called Hats and Rabbits, is nice, too, if you get a chance...
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6 Responses to “The Emperor decrees that ye shall no longer respond to questions with “So…””

  1. Even worse is : “So … yeah”

    Shalom
    Hermann

  2. I thought I was the only one who thought this was a problem. Well said.

  3. Hermann — agreed!

    Sarah — Thanks! It does ring so arrogantly, doesn’t it. (Lord knows, the one thing the Emperor hates is arrogance.)

  4. Exactly, Chris. It’s like the person answering the question is saying, “Geez, your question was really stupid. Let me help you out by answering the question you should have asked.”

  5. Well put, Joseph.It is certainly a”stopwasting my time with yourwords” sentiment.

  6. Particularly infuriating when the respondent is speaking with an accent of the British Empire. The word “so” becomes drawn out into something like “sow” or “sa-ooh”

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