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Question: Is the use of the word "so" at the start of a sentence acceptable?
What part of speech is "so" in this case? - 0 (0%)
Do I just go with the flow? - 0 (0%)
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Author Topic: The use of "so" at the start of a sentence  (Read 117 times)
maria balina
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« on: July 22, 2017, 07:26:45 AM »

Hi, Mr. Carillo!

I'm here in San Francisco, USA and I noticed that most people start their sentences with "so" either as a response to a question or as a narration of an event.  Is this grammatically correct?  Should I just accept it as something peculiar to the native speakers of California?

I would love to hear your answer at the soonest time possible!  Thank you.
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Joe Carillo
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« Reply #1 on: July 22, 2017, 12:38:04 PM »

It's great to hear from you after such a long time, Maria!

A good number of native English speakers use "so" as a simple conversation starter --a short cut when talking with familiars--equivalent to "By the way..." or "This happened when..." It's actually idiomatic and nonliteral so we shouldn't strictly apply or demand grammatical correctness to the usage. It works for people who are too busy or too in a hurry to bother with the usual conversation formalities, and I really don't see any problem with it.
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maria balina
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« Reply #2 on: July 25, 2017, 08:01:18 AM »

Yes, it's been a long time since I posted a question!  However, I go over the English forum as often as I can even if I do not log in.  I'm also happy to know that you're writing for The Manila Times!

Thank you for your usual quick reply! ^^



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Joe Carillo
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« Reply #3 on: July 25, 2017, 12:30:30 PM »

You're welcome, Maria! I've actually been writing an English-usage column in the Op-Ed page for The Manila Times (both print and online) since July of 2002, six days a week except Sunday for the first two years and weekly after that; then last January, my column moved to the paper's expanded Education section where it comes out Thursdays (print edition only). It may interest you to know that I'm now on my 1,050th column in the Times, with the latest coming out this Thursday (July 27). It will be appearing only in the print edition, of course, so you won't be able to able to read it in the U.S., but I make sure to upload it to the Forum within the day of its appearance in print. There will be an announcement in the top part of the Forum's discussion boards as soon as the column is uploaded. Watch for it!
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maria balina
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« Reply #4 on: August 12, 2017, 07:02:31 AM »

Thanks for the info!  Oh, how I wish English teachers in the Philippines would avail of your English forum and newspaper columns!
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Joe Carillo
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« Reply #5 on: August 13, 2017, 12:01:02 AM »

Hi, Maria, glad to hear from you! Quite a number of teachers in the Philippines and in other countries--and not only of English but of other disciplines as well--have written me that they regularly follow my columns in The Manila Times and they have even ordered copies of my three English-usage books. Several of these teachers have actually joined this online Forum as registered members and, in fact, have contributed in no small measure over the years to the huge body of lessons and learnings that have accumulated in the Forum since its launching in 2009. I invite everybody anywhere in the world who is keen on doing a self-improvement program in English to partake of this body of knowledge online anytime 24/7. All that's needed to access it is a laptop or smartphone--and it's all for free!

Maria, I'll be delighted if you can help spread the word around about the Forum among your friends and acquaintances in the U.S., whether Pinoys or otherwise. For Facebook members, a very convenient way to access the Forum is through its Facebook Gateway, which issues a weekly Playlist Update on major lessons and general interest features. For the week of August 5-11, 2017, for instance, the Playlist Update can be accessed anytime by clicking this link. For even more of the Forum's huge trove of grammar lessons and features, they can check out the Forum Homepage by clicking the indicated link. Those who'd like to join the discussions or ask questions in the Forum's many discussion boards need to register a Forum members though. There's a Forum membership registration button for that purpose in the Homepage.
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