So… let’s get something straight, I have started the heading of this article and the first word of this sentence with ‘so’ on purpose to highlight the fact that it’s used too much.
I have touched on why it’s important to write for your audience… and apparently everyone starts their sentences with that superfluous two-letter word.
“So… I might have killed the cat”
That’s a valid sentence in real life. You don’t know how to tell someone you ran over the cat. The ‘so’ is used when you’re searching for the words in an awkward situation… use it to highlight that awkwardness.
When you’re writing, you have the chance to think and edit. A lot of the time the word ‘so’ is used because the writer doesn’t know how to start the tweet or post – or they’re a lazy writer.
“So... someone has found pics of Simba in a bikini and they're shocking!”
Why the hell do you need that ‘so’?! Cut it and the sentence makes sense. Even if Simba’s bikini pics are actually jaw-droppingly shocking, you still don’t need the ‘so’.
Sure, a lot of people in regular life start whatever they have to say with ‘so’ but it doesn’t mean that you have to write it in everything! Use it sparingly and it will have more of an impact.
The same goes for ‘um’. Feel free to re-read this whole thing again, simply replace each ‘so’ with ‘um’.
See more about Iain Duguid. For any freelance work, contact him here.