Saturday 24 February 2018

Like it or not, Zuckerberg uses fillers

'So' may not be a useless conjunction, says Mark Forsyth, but a certain billionaire might like to try 'gadzooks'

Mark Zuckerberg Photo: AP
Mark Zuckerberg Photo: AP

Mark Forsyth

Mark Zuckerberg, the Facebook founder and billionaire, is being taken to task. Not for invasions of privacy, or enabling millions of people to waste millions of hours of their working lives. No, a host of commentators – including institutions as august as The New York Times – are attacking him for the heinous enormity of beginning his sentences with the word "so".

This does not seem to include the useful, meaningful so, as in King Lear's "So young, and so untender?", but the useless so, the so that does nothing for the meaning of the sentence, the so that you find in "So, how are you?"

There are fears that people are doing to "so" what teenagers did to "like", taking a word and mercilessly beating the meaning out of it. And Zuckerberg does it all the time.

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