I’m no grammarian, but there are some bad habits that I can’t ignore. At some point I have to say something. Today I’m writing a short post to rant about this “so” epidemic. People, “so” is not an adjective. Do not use “so” when you mean “very.” Wrong: “This tastes so good.” Better: “This tastes very good.” Even better: “This tastes delicious.” That’s another thing. Expand your vocabulary so you don’t overuse the word “very.” There are plenty of adjectives out there for you to use. Varying them will color your language as well as make it more powerful.
Another instance of “so” that I can’t stand is when people constantly end their sentences with it. I haven’t come across this in writing but I have heard a lot of people do this in speech. It’s as if their mouth is running faster than their brain. I get the feeling that people who do this feel the need to keep going to make themselves sound smarter but didn’t formulate the rest of what they were going to say. There’s nothing wrong with having a short sentence to express an idea. Trailing off at the end of the sentence like that makes you sound weak and marks you as somebody that I wish to no longer converse with.
I’m guilty of some bad habits myself. I say the word “but” a lot when speaking. This alone isn’t bad, but I sometimes pause afterwards and automatically say “um.” The effect is “but um.” I’m trying to remedy this by making myself say “ching” immediately afterwards. Hopefully this will cause me to be more conscious of what I’m doing and will help me stop. Why “ching?” Years ago a friend of mine used to emulate rim shots with “Baddum Chink.” Whenever I say “but um” I think I’m sounding like I’m starting his rim shot impression. I changed the ending to “ching” because if people don’t know what I’m doing and I suddenly say “chink” out of nowhere I’ll have to answer more questions than I want to.
I have one other bad habit that I think I’m successful at getting over. When I want to make a point that I find slightly humorous, I used to give a small laugh for emphasis. There’s nothing wrong with that in of itself, although I’m finding that by not laughing at all the point is more effective. The problem was that I would laugh as I spoke, causing me to always repeat what I was saying. The result was me having to repeat a joke that was only mildly amusing, causing it to be even less funny. I started noticing other people doing it as well. As it’s also one of my bad habits I’m holding off mentioning it to them… for now.