Why do people end sentences with “so”? What effect does it have on conversation?


Welcome to Part II of our discussion on the word so. Last week we explored the sentence-initial so, and today we’ll be looking at ending sentences with so—a phenomenon called “the dangling so.” Despite its widespread usage, this construction seems to irk people even more than the sentence-initial so; there’s even a Facebook group called “I Hate People Who End Sentences with ‘so…’”

Just to clarify, we’re not going to be discussing so used as an intensifying adverb, as in “I love her so.” That usage is not included in the concept of the dangling so. Instead, we’ll be exploring an emerging use of so, in which it is used as a conversational tool. When written out, the dangling so is often followed by ellipses, as if to suggest that a thought is continuing after the sentence ends.

In the episode of Lexicon Valley mentioned last week, the hosts conclude that the dangling so is used when there is a shared understanding. If someone ends a sentence with so, the speaker is making the assumption that the listener will understand what the speaker would say, had the speaker continued. Look at the following example:

Speaker 1: How was your date?
Speaker 2: Well, he didn’t show up, so…

In this example, Speaker 2 ends her sentence with so because even without verbalizing her thought, there is a tacit understanding that her evening did not go as planned. From the incomplete spoken information alone, Speaker 1 knows that the date did not go well, or in fact, happen at all.

An article in Crain’s Chicago Business looks at a subset of the dangling so; writer Lisa Bertagnoli suggests that sometimes when people end sentences with so, they’re bragging. “Unofficially, it has become a way to boast without outwardly bragging,” Bertagnoli writes. Linguist Betty Birner tells Bertagnoli,”‘So’ said with a downward, final-sounding pitch tells listeners they don’t have to respond, while and upward or rising pitch begs a response.” Often that response will be congratulatory, like “That’s great!”

Last week, Terry Gross interviewed writer/director/actor Lake Bell about her new film, In a World. Lake Bell uses the dangling so when talking about her accomplishments:

Bell: We won an Emmy last year and we got nominated again this year. So we’re really proud because it’s a little—it’s sort of this mini comedy family that we’ve been—we’ve taken this little web series that was a–that was actually the pilot for the web series which was five-minute episodes.
Gross: Right. Right.
Bell: And then it upgraded itself to Adult Swim at 11-minute episodes. So…

Here, Bell is boasting—in the most humble way—about the success of a web series. She could have continued her sentence, but Terry Gross and her listeners knew where she was going with that thought. Bell retains her humility by implying that she’s been very successful without having to say it forthright.

While many people find the dangling so to be grating and annoying, others find it to be a valuable conversational tool. In the examples above, it has helped people leave unpleasant, impolite or self-congratulatory statements unsaid, instead allowing them to tap into an unspoken and shared understanding. Perhaps sometimes leaving words unsaid can create a stronger bond between speakers.

Do you ever hear the dangling so? Do you use it yourself? What other ways can the dangling so be used in conversation? Have you heard it being used in languages other than English?


  1. Phil -  November 14, 2016 - 9:18 am

    My wife uses the dangling “so” A LOT, but only when she’s on the phone talking to one of her friends. To me, the way she uses it reminds me of a conversation between a pilot and a control tower. Her “so” reminds me of a pilot saying “over” when he’s had his say and is turning the conversation over to the tower.

  2. BigSoph -  October 13, 2016 - 6:00 am

    The next time someone ends a sentence with a dangling ‘so’, reply with “a needle pulling thread?” and a the best genuinely quizzical look you can muster

    • BigSoph -  October 13, 2016 - 6:01 am

      And if they don’t get it, break into song with “Ray! A drop of golden sun!”

      Continue as needed

      • SoundOfMusicLover -  November 4, 2016 - 12:57 am

        You mean follow with, “A needle pulling thread. La, a note to follow So.” If you do it your way you mess the whole song up looking retarded for not knowing your scales, messing up the song from the movie, and not knowing how to use the word so… Triple threat there BigSoph…

  3. shalini -  July 25, 2016 - 2:55 am

    when talking about something important, dangling so can be irritating. You want the other person to complete his entire thoughts so that there is no confusion, or so that you can confront them for that statement and they don’t have a choice later to say that they didn’t mean that. :P

  4. bob -  July 6, 2016 - 8:16 am

    This is a concept that exists in other languages, leaving things up to inference. Much of the Japanese language is left to the inference to the listener, as spelling things out is often considered rude or a waste of the listeners time, when he or she is perfectly capable of figuring out what comes next.

  5. terry -  April 15, 2016 - 10:00 am

    Longmire… so…. hee hee

    • bob -  July 6, 2016 - 8:16 am

      This is a concept that exists in other languages, leaving things up to inference. Much of the Japanese language is left to the inference to the listener, as spelling things out is often considered rude or a waste of the listeners time, when he or she is perfectly capable of figuring out what comes next.

  6. Alex -  March 10, 2016 - 8:12 pm

    How do you tell a girlfriend that her constant use of dangling so drives you crazy?

  7. Miriam -  February 27, 2016 - 8:25 pm

    My boyfriend does this and it drives me to distraction. He ends nearly every sentence with a dangling ‘so…’ I’ve tried to count them and I lose track.

    My impression is that he’s doing it just to fill a space, or because he’s awkward. But it becomes all I focus on, and I wait for it to happen with gritted teeth.

    My question: how do you bring this up with someone without sounding arrogant or making them even more self-conscious? I tried to correct his grammar once and that didn’t go too well.

    He’s a professor, by the way.

  8. jean -  July 22, 2015 - 12:19 pm

    I despise the dangling “so”. It usually sounds to me like the person is bragging. Or if not that, like they are just too lazy to articulate the rest of their thought. I always want to say “So….what? Finish your thought!!”

  9. Julia Cochran -  May 8, 2015 - 12:19 pm

    Ending a sentence with “so” can give the impression that the speaker wants to maintain control of the conversation by giving the impression that he or she is mid-sentence and should not be interrupted.

  10. Julia Cochran -  May 8, 2015 - 12:17 pm

    Ending a sentence with “so” often sounds to me as if the speaker is attempting to maintain control of the conversation by giving the impression that he or she has not yet finished speaking and should not be interrupted.

  11. Steve -  March 28, 2015 - 3:09 pm

    This kind of speech indicates a person who does not choose their words. I call these people “babblers” because they babble on and on and say nothing, but apparently are in love with the sound of their own voice.

  12. Isabelle -  October 13, 2014 - 3:30 pm

    I use a dangling ‘so’ to show the other person in the conversation that it is an appropriate time to extrapolate from the data. It speeds up most conversations between people who are of relatively the same level of intelligence. If the other person can’t extrapolate on an item, then we invest the time to talk about it further. However, if they are able to extrapolate then we just move right along, and it saves us that time.

    Some people are not able to extrapolate. After adjusting to completing all of my sentences for someone who doesn’t extrapolate well, the people who are used to extrapolating start telling me that I am over explaining things.

    It will be frustrating for one group or the other, no matter which way you choose to go.

    • Susan -  December 28, 2014 - 6:20 pm

      I, too, have been accused of over-explaining myself. It’s SO frustrating! :-)

    • agreed, so.. haha -  December 7, 2015 - 7:28 am

      Well said Isabelle. It took me a while to realize a bad habit of mine. Whenever my intelligence and skills would increase, I would treat others as if theirs had increased. It would be the next intellectual minimum of the social world. I would not explain the information enough, so people often looked puzzled. The habit developed because I felt guilty for having a greater knowledge or success in that partucular subject. The guilt came from mental abuse in my past. I then tried to gently compensate for people, and now the people that would understand with few words have to listen to redundant explanations. This post might even be an example. Your post is encouraging, because I want to talk less and do more like I used to. I am not a fan of narrarating my life to others. Thank you Isabelle.

  13. Ron Slade -  September 10, 2014 - 9:03 am

    I first noticed the “so” ending when females were conversing. Now I hear it used by men, as well. In one particularly grating usage, it is clear to me that the speaker is trying to hold on to the dialog, and in using “so…) hopes to preclude the other person from interrupting. In reality, that other person is looking for a way to leave.

    • Tricia -  October 18, 2014 - 12:33 pm

      I think you are right on the money with your thought above about holding on to the conversation. I was trying to figure out why people would always put a “so” on the end of their sentences and you hit it on the head…especially the looking for a way to leave idea!!!
      Thank you!!!!

  14. sarette -  July 13, 2014 - 4:11 am

    Please tell me about the sentence-initial “anyway”. It also seems to be prevalent and ti seems dismissive of the prior speaker’s conversation and commanderesee the conversation in a most irritating way.

  15. Jay -  June 10, 2014 - 11:02 am

    I love it when individuals begin their sentences with “Yeah, so…” – I always interrupt them and say “Huh?”.

    Nine times out of ten, they snap back and say “That is NOT how you respond to someone you don’t understand.. you say ‘Pardon me!’ “.

    It all comes back in a vicious circle, and I acknowledge their correction with “Yeah, so…”.

    Infuriates them to no end! =)

    • Timmy -  December 7, 2015 - 7:31 am

      I find your method fun and witty

  16. gray -  April 22, 2014 - 6:01 pm

    I’m more put off with the “Okay, so..” at the BEGINNING of sentences, so much so that I rarely ever read beyond the two words. To me it’s a sign the writer is immature and has no command of the English language, so …

    • Susan -  December 28, 2014 - 6:22 pm

      ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!!!

  17. leoperidot -  December 30, 2013 - 5:47 pm

    I have to confess, I use ‘so’ a lot more often than I should. I end lots of my sentences with ‘so … yeah’ especially when I’m talking to an answering machine. I never know when to hang up, so basically when I say what I want I just say ‘so, um, so, um [very long pause] so yeah.’ and then hang up as quick as I can. (I hate answering machines!!) I use the dangling ‘so’ as like a ‘so … yeah’ except replacing ‘yeah’ is a shrug/’them’s the breaks’ expression. I also say ‘so’ at the beginning of a lot of sentences. It’s a habit I really need to break but can’t seem to. I only use dangling so and ‘so … yeah’ when I speak or I’m writing dialogue in a story. Never when I’m writing narrative.

  18. Tech Diva -  December 28, 2013 - 5:25 pm

    I am an humble computer teacher, therefore, not an expert on the English language. The disturbing use of “so” that I encounter most frequently is what I call “The Chandler SO”, which I named after Chandler Bing from Friends (USA). A few examples are: “I am SO not going to do that!” or “That is SO the biggest meal I have ever eaten.”

    Surely, this is not the correct way to use the word so. If I am wrong, please let me know, so I can stop obsessing. If I am correct, I would appreciate being directed to any articles or blog posts that have been written on this topic.

  19. Lucy Ambler -  September 25, 2013 - 9:35 am

    Thank you! I found this article really helpful as it points out the positive reasons for ending a sentance in ‘so…(+ facial expression)’. Sadly I think this habit leads to laziness & implied understanding. While that may be appropriate in closer frieldships, I don’t think is in general conversation or with mild acqaintances. This habit has the ability to hinder people being understood & able to connect with what they experienced as well as how to express that. And we don’t need any more hindrances! :-(( However, I guess the habit of ending sentences in ‘so…’ helps reduce the amount of information we are overwhelmed with each day! ;-D.

  20. Joe Bates -  September 11, 2013 - 10:18 am

    This is just another example of a fad that caught on, and now everybody who uses it looks stupid. Not only is it not correct, it interrupts, and starts over a thought that someone is responding to. It doesn’t matter I guess. A huge segment of us never learned to use or write the language anyway. So….

  21. Lucy Kemnitzer -  September 9, 2013 - 8:54 pm

    I am not sure I have heard more than one or two “bragging” uses of final so. What I do hear is the final so being used to allude to the known (or implied) consequences of an action, a situation, or an event, sometimes humorously or ironically. As in “They tried to get all their apples into three bags, so” Or “they all had different ideas about how to proceed, so” or “I have this dog, so”

    I don’t know if it makes a difference, but I am pretty old, but I converse with younger people a lot. I’m in California but I think I picked up this usage online.

  22. Rae -  September 3, 2013 - 5:28 am

    Yes, I have used the dangling “so” a couple of times. But then I try not to use to much. But I really do hate it when people answer questions or begin sentences with so. I know this one girl who when asked anything would answer with, ” yea, so..” In fact when asked for her name, she said, “Yea so my name is…!” I was livid!

  23. Lady from the river -  August 30, 2013 - 7:21 am

    My Mother in law uses “so” at the start, in the middle and at the end of every phrase, in a five minutes conversation, she probably says it about 20 times. It means a lack of self esteem in her case, it rubs me much up the wrong way, and English is my 4th language!

  24. Starving Artist -  August 29, 2013 - 8:03 pm

    Would it be fair to say that the dangling “so” is used as a hedge word?

    Also, I like Wolf’s observation about the condescending use—apparently the dangling “so” not only creates bonds, but breaks them too.

  25. jonathan -  August 29, 2013 - 4:52 pm

    i dont get it so. of far out i said it

  26. Vanessa -  August 29, 2013 - 4:35 pm

    I have the same situation as Holly Rust, except that I grew up in California. I use the dangling ‘so’ quite frequently, normally because my interlocutor and I clearly have an understanding of what I mean and there is no point in verbalizing the rest of the sentence – certainly not in order to brag.
    Friend: Why didn’t you show up to the party yesterday?
    Me: Well, I was feeling a bit sick and then I realized I had a dentist appointment at the same time as the party, so…
    There, see? No bragging. Just tacit understanding. :D

  27. Aeryn Sommers -  August 29, 2013 - 1:18 pm

    Forgive me if my grammar, punctuation, or facts are incorrect as I am relying on my own limited knowledge.
    I mostly use so at the end of sentences. I also use it at the beginning to give someone the okay to initiate a conversation. For example, if my friend Devon and I are talking on the phone and all of a sudden there’s nothing to talk about, we’d most likely endure the awkward silence until I rudely hang up. Okay, not the best example… Instead of doing that, let’s say she said ‘so’ and trailed off. That kind of announces her discomfort with the situation and it would prompt me to say something or wait for her hopefully impending comment. It ultimately depends on the type of person they are and your knowledge of them. I find that well is being used frequently in the same context as so. For example, it’s used as a filler of silence and the starting of conversations. However, I find that well is not typically used to end sentences. I have no idea if it’s trending now or old news. Also, a lot of teens use ‘so yeah’ to end sentences, especially in response to a question.

    This isn’t really relevant or anything, but there is no friend named Devon. I only have like two friends and I’m barely in high school. That’s kind of sad… But anyways I’m mildly introverted, weird, uncool; I spend most of my free time either reading, writing, drawing, or on my phone (writing in notes or on Wattpad), so go figure.

  28. Kate -  August 29, 2013 - 8:07 am

    It isn’t the end of a sentence. It’s an invitation for someone to pick it up where you left it dangling.

  29. Dena -  August 28, 2013 - 7:58 pm

    The Irish “so” is just a short form of the longer “so it is”. “Lovely day out, so [it is].” “She’s a grand wee girl, so [she is].” “I could murder a cup of tea, so [I could].” “Traffic’s mad, so [it is].” “We had a grand time, so [we did].” You’ll hear the whole phrase in many parts of Ireland, so you will. It’s such a lovely, musical rhythm, so it is.

    I think in America, people who are not confident in what they are saying often use “so” to convey, “I think I’m done talking but I’m not really sure.” Confident speakers don’t use it.

    • Eli -  February 10, 2016 - 12:21 pm

      Dena – thank you for this explanation! I’ve been listening to a book on CD which uses the Irish way of ending a sentence with “so” and I’ve wondered about its origins. Makes perfect sense now. :)

  30. Gemma -  August 28, 2013 - 1:39 pm

    I use so a lot when I’m explaining something. I think it occurs to me that further explanation isn’t necessary, because the listener has gotten what I mean, so ;)

    I think I say “so”, as in, “so….yeah. That’s right.” Like a confirmation of an explanation.

    For example, “To get to work without having to rush and get caught up in a fluster, it’s better to catch 2 trains before the one that gets you in on time. If the trains are late, it doesn’t matter because you have 20 minutes buffer time. So….”

    But it’s not good English, or at least I wouldn’t write that way. I’m conscious about how I explain things in formal settings.

  31. L. A. DuBois -  August 28, 2013 - 12:49 pm

    I was amused by what HARSRISHTY said, and had to reply: I often use a dangling ‘so’ intentionally to convey awkwardness in addition to the situations/uses mentioned in the article.

    An additional use (which, I admit, probably isn’t a very good one) that I have for it is when I’m speaking, have reached the end of my thought, but have kept the momentum of my tone and speed while speaking. In such cases, I find a dangling ‘so’ to at least be a better alternative to a sentence that sounds more like its being abruptly cut off-

    I do have to note that what annoys me is people who insist on rigidly sticking to things as though they are immutable constants. Language evolves, and people like that Facebook group are being simplistic in their refusal to accept that. The only situation where people have any business disliking a new trend in language is when it either 1) is incorrect usage of an existing word, 2) fails to successfully convey any meaning (notice that this article points out several meanings that a dangling ‘so’ conveys – implicit is just as valid as explicit), or – though I could see arguments in favour of this one – 3) something already fills the role, especially if it is better at doing so.

    P.S. That was not a dangling ‘so’. I’ve noticed a lot of other people talking about just about every other case where a sentence ends in ‘so’ when the article specifically says that it isn’t about those.

  32. Pedro -  August 28, 2013 - 10:29 am

    Just some additional comments to Thiago and David: I believe that the “sô” Thiago was referring is slang for “Senhor” (Mister) and not Senior. It is very common in spoken language, even as “Sô tor”, meaning “Senhor Doutor”, especially in Brazil, I would say. The “Uai” seems a interjection but is not common at all in Portugal. The Portuguese equivalent to the English “so” would be “então” that you can also use at the beginning or at the end of the sentences, although is not particularly correct.

  33. Phillip Goss -  August 28, 2013 - 10:22 am

    I am currently watching a conversation, and there is a close-talker. The listener has moved about two feet since the conversation started. Do you think you could do an article about close-talking?

  34. Mariana Campos-Harris -  August 28, 2013 - 7:21 am

    I would like to comment on Thiago and David’s theories… I am from Minas Gerais and I can tell you that the way we use “sô” has nothing to do with the English use of “so”… As David said, it is just short for “senhor” [mister]. As for “Uai”, it is a much more complicated subject, and no one knows for sure which explanation is true, so I would not say it relates to the English “why” without knowing. There are quite a few other theories, so I would urge you not to pass this kind of information on without knowing for sure (just because I love my state and would like its history to be respected).

    • Luke -  September 21, 2014 - 3:02 pm

      Well this is referring to the english ‘so’ and doesn’t really relate to any other ‘so’ so…

  35. Angie -  August 28, 2013 - 4:03 am

    Paul mentioned the use of the dangling ‘so’ in Ireland. I’d add that it’s also used like ‘therefore’. “You’re thirsty? Let’s go to the pub so!” :)

  36. Me -  August 27, 2013 - 1:39 pm

    I agree with Mike, so at the end of a sentence is used because people no longer know how to end sentences. It makes me a little crazy when I hear it.

  37. Im Roshni Kainthan -  August 27, 2013 - 1:22 pm

    Hey,Anonimous is it? you spelled your own name wrong. and dont tell people what to do with their lives you’re no better than us so dont go around bossing people around.

  38. K Milt -  August 27, 2013 - 1:06 pm

    Like Tim above, I’m in Ontario, Canada and the dangling ‘so’ is a very common part of speech. For people from areas where it’s not really used I’m sure it is really irritating, but I don’t even hear it anymore. I’m entirely sure I use it frequently, but if I do I don’t notice.

    It is very much like the Canadian ‘eh’, which is really noticeable to non-Canadians but not really to us at all. When it’s imitated by non-Canadians it’s often done so pretty inaccurately, if one could say there’s an ‘accurate’ use of a word that isn’t even really a word. “Eh” is meant to be inclusive – a way of turning a statement into a conversation. “The bus is very late.” is a stand-alone statement. “The bus is really late, eh?” is an invitation to start a conversation.

    Several commenters have stated how immensely impolite the dangling ‘so’ is, but every region has different ways of speaking that could be considered ‘incorrect’ or ‘impolite’ by those who don’t live there and aren’t used to hearing those things used as a regular part of speech. Declaring something impolite simply because you don’t do it is pretty rude. I don’t personally understand the Southern US use of “bless your heart” as part of an insult, but I certainly don’t expect an entire group of people to stop using a phrase simply because I don’t personally use it myself. Different regions have different language uses. Feeling superior about one way of speaking versus another is silly.

  39. Bort -  August 27, 2013 - 12:56 pm

    I recently discovered this phenomenon, when someone I know used a dangling so, that led to a thought corollary but to the person themselves. (in other words, they left me thinking, “So? Well, so what?”)
    I noticed that I had been saying it, too, and am now enrolled in a 12-step program to stop using the dangling so and start being more clear in my words. So…

    All-so, in Molby Dick, they use so as an entire sentence: “[make it] So.”

  40. ALICIA -  August 27, 2013 - 9:49 am

    I believe the dangling so can also be considered a challenge, in some cases. The speaker is saying “so, what can you do or say about it.

  41. David Crossfield -  August 27, 2013 - 7:23 am

    I would like to comment on Thiago´s Brazilain theory. The fact is that so in Portuguese has nothing to with English, it´s slang or laziness for Senior. Uai comes from the English ¨why¨because the English engineers who built the mines and railways and the Brazilians would ask ¨Why in English but in Portugues grammar it comes out Uai. and I think that´s so…

  42. Wolf -  August 27, 2013 - 7:06 am

    People use the …so end of a sentence to make the listener come to their own conclusion – sometimes condescendingly.

    “Well, you haven’t paid the rent, so…”

    “Well, the last guy gave me this price for that item, so…”

  43. Bill Faucher -  August 27, 2013 - 6:51 am

    So is sometimes used as a request to ask ”what do you intent to do?”- for example ”I hate this job, which I’ve been doing for five years and can’t stand my boss” after a pause the listener says ”so”

  44. kolawole oluwatola -  August 27, 2013 - 6:20 am

    i strongly believe using the word SO depend on the premise and context by which the word is being experimented. there is no crime in using it provided it conveys the reasonable meaning.

  45. ed -  August 27, 2013 - 4:01 am

    Given the trans-atlantic tendency to use any word to mean exactly what the user wants it to mean, we have some unfortunate consequences:
    Hopefully for I hope; it means to be full of hope. It’s use is now universal, sadly.
    Problematic for having a problem.
    Now, creeping in, we have momentarily for in a moment: “I’ll be with you momentarily”, to which the reply, properly, should be: “I’m going to need rather longer than that”, because it means fleetingly, for the moment.
    Getting rid of letters in spellings is now leading to changes in pronunciation:
    Foetid: the o and e should be co-joined to form a diphthong and pronounced ee. Drop the o and we get fetid and the oe – the ee sound becomes eh.
    Move this on: paedolphile where the ae is a diphthong too; drop he a and we get a change in pronunciation that then suggests the word means someone involved in feet.
    Mediaeval: medi eeval, is now pronounced medeevalbecause its spelling has changed to medieval. How long before someone starts pronouncing it mediehval, where the ee becomes an eh.
    I could go on – and I will, so as to provide the discussion with as much fodder over which to chew.
    The use of the word obviously – when clearly it’s not – obvious that is because what is subsequently stated is new. Thanks David Beckham – a man who cannot put any 2 words together and produce anything meaningful. This is used as an opener; as a punctuation mark in the middle of a spoken statement and as a closer – and its use is redundant in most cases. It is a verbal tic. Still, better than thinking carefully about what you want to say and then saying it clearly and concisely

  46. Ed -  August 27, 2013 - 3:29 am

    Nobody has considered the use s a as a challenge.. A declamatory statement ending in so! ……. The meaning is clear, disagree at your own risk, but I will brook no argument on what I’ve just said.
    The discussion on the use of the word “so”, either as an opener or closer is no better than examining the fluff in your navel, so.
    It’s used, it appears, only in the spoken form, having seen no literary use.

  47. lilly -  August 27, 2013 - 12:13 am

    I just don’t like the word so!

  48. Mike -  August 26, 2013 - 6:16 pm

    I interpret the dangling so more often as, “…I’m not even paying enough attention to myself to complete my own point.” My children and other youth do this, as do adults I work with. They feel such an obligation to say SOMETHING that they just talk without really knowing where they’re going. When their stream of consciousness runs out they end with, “so…,” which implies, “you know where this is going,” but is really just a cop-out for actually completing the thought.

  49. derpina -  August 26, 2013 - 12:42 pm

    “I like this article. So…yeah”

    The dangling “so yeah” is also quite famous :) Watch interviews of teenage celebrities and you’ll notice how common the “so” or “so yeah” usage is.

  50. Lez Harrison -  August 26, 2013 - 11:32 am

    Stupid mistake in my earlier post. I realize I should have typed SITE instead of SIGHT.

  51. Lez Harrison -  August 26, 2013 - 11:24 am

    Can’t handle the use of “so” to BEGIN an answering sentence. E.g.;

    (Q) “Tell us what you know about the tsetse fly.”
    (A) “So, I didn’t really study the tsetse fly in school.”
    (Q) “alright, then – what can you tell us about the common house fly?”
    (A) “So, I know very little about…..”

    Much, MUCH better, I think, to use the interjectory “well” as the accepted “stall-word” while you think of something reasonably intelligent to say.

    I hope I haven’t strayed too far from the “ending with so” topic, but I just discovered this wonderful sight about an hour ago and couldn’t resist adding my two cents worth!

  52. Merl -  August 26, 2013 - 9:29 am

    So, people don’t like so on either end of the sentence, it is a so so discussion so…

  53. Paul -  August 26, 2013 - 2:53 am

    This usage of “so” is found often in Ireland, I think more in the South – have a listen to “Father Ted”.

    It is a verbal form of ellipsis where there may be more to say but, probably not.

  54. Firdaus Daud -  August 26, 2013 - 1:36 am

    this is some interesting shit.

  55. Amber -  August 25, 2013 - 9:49 pm

    I never use the word “so” as a way to end a sentence, however, I do use it to try to start a sentence. Sometimes when I’m speaking with my friends we will run out of things to talk about and then i say “so…..” they either come up with something or I do. It does not happen too often but often enough, I suppose. I also have never heard anyone use “so” to end a sentence.

  56. bookbeater -  August 25, 2013 - 6:52 pm

    While I wouldn’t use it in public speaking. I would use it in casual conversation.

  57. Lee -  August 25, 2013 - 6:25 pm

    I recently caught myself using a dangling so in a conversation and thought, thats not how you end a sentence. However, I do think that it encourages conversation to continue,so…

  58. Maria Gomes -  August 25, 2013 - 4:55 pm

    We use it in portuguese with that tacit understanding idea. We say ‘portanto’ (which has the same meaning). It gives the idea that some more words would follow but they don’t.

  59. Zibiah -  August 25, 2013 - 4:33 pm

    I beg to disagree with what you have said. Sometimes a person use so when he/she wants his/her speaker to continue or complete what the speaker stopped said half-way.

  60. Cathy -  August 25, 2013 - 4:20 pm

    I think the dangling so, is the same as saying to the other person, “well, you know the rest” ….it just makes a long story short. Nothing wrong with that. Sometimes you don’t want to bore the other person with the in’s and out something when they know what you’re talking about anyway… especially if it’s painful.

  61. Joan Garrity -  August 25, 2013 - 2:11 pm

    The example in which the speaker says “Well, he didn’t show up, so” I would not take to mean that there was no more information forthcoming. My reaction would be to wait for what follows the “so”, and if nothing came, I would likely ask, “so what did you do then? Did you have dinner, go to a movie, sulk, what?” I would not take for granted the evening was not a success-just that what was expected never happened, and there may be something more interesting that happened

  62. David -  August 25, 2013 - 11:59 am

    It is simply impolite to end a sentence with “so”. The listener is left to guess the rest of the sentence, which easily leads to misunderstanding, or worse. This is easily eliminated by speaking in complete sentences.

  63. Anonimous -  August 25, 2013 - 11:08 am

    The whole article is a waste of time, i mean get on with your lives people, Seriously!

  64. Flávio -  August 25, 2013 - 8:59 am

    In Brazil, some people use the word ‘so’ (‘então’ in portuguese) in the beginning of phrases, but that’s considered wrong, a “language vice”. I try to avoid it as much as possible… unsuccessfully :). In the US, it seems that’s more common among educated people, and thus acceptable.

    As far as I remember, we don’t use this word to end phrases. I don’t know if we have a equivalent word to leave things unsaid. Brazilians are more explicit, I guess.

  65. ????? -  August 25, 2013 - 8:15 am

    well when people use the dangling word so it means he or she wants you to understand the rest

  66. Babbee -  August 25, 2013 - 6:59 am

    It is used a lot in Michigan and yes, it is annoying. Another annoying “so” ism is when it is used to begin a short presentation. I have heard it used more in this fashion the last two years. For example, in business meetings, when someone is given the stage and asked to give an update on a project, etc., the speaker will begin with, “Sooo….). It sound terrible and immature.

  67. maryrose dike -  August 25, 2013 - 1:12 am

    I tend to use the dangling so quite often buh I think in the boasting buh wif an undertone of humility kind of way

  68. Alafiya -  August 25, 2013 - 12:07 am

    So is used in the mentioned ways, of-course, but isn’t it sometimes used provocatively or to down-grade someone?

    For example if someone talks about how well they’ve done in a given activity or field and gets to hear something like;


    It can also be used instead of “And then?” as a sign to continue a story or narration, as far as I’ve seen.

  69. Jesyka Lynn -  August 24, 2013 - 5:37 pm

    So, I’ve noticed over the past few months that I begin a lot of sentences with the word so. So what I am trying to say is…I have no idea where or how this came about, maybe not even when but I do know it’s been long enough. I’m glad I saw this article because so is driving me nut so. :-)

  70. Tim -  August 24, 2013 - 11:14 am

    I live in Ontario Canada and the dangling so is used fairly often at the end of a sentence. I guess it’s a bit like bragging. I use the dangling so to imply “so (what can I say?)”.

    For example:

    “My good friend John quit his home renovation job of twenty years and went to work as a parking enforcement officer. You may think that work is disgusting but he makes good money and now he will get a great pension, so. (what can I say)”

    Also, we Canadians sometimes end the sentence with “eh?” meaning “isn’t that so?” or “don’t you think so?”


    “Good beer eh?”

  71. Cheryl -  August 24, 2013 - 4:41 am

    I don’t use the dangling “so” but when I noticed my four-year-old grandson ending his sentences with “but”, I realized that I use a dangling “but” at the end of many sentences. Of course when children copy language usages they often use them in a more pronounced, noticeable way than the more experienced language users. My “but” is usually a soft, dwindling sound at the end of a sentence while my grandson’s is a definite punctuating-the-end-of-a-sentence “but”.

  72. Thiago -  August 23, 2013 - 1:59 pm

    In Brazil there is some sort of dangling so use, specifically at Minas Gerais state. People sometimes finishes their sentences with “sô” , however I’m not sure that it has the same meaning…
    From what I´ve heard, it might be from some american influence, at cities that had exploration of gold mines.
    Other curious word used in the same state is the “why” as an interjection, and this one has the exact same meaning, the only difference is that we write it as “uai”.

  73. shaun O. -  August 23, 2013 - 12:34 pm

    wrong word wow I meant the word so , see how I made myself look unsure.

  74. shaun O. -  August 23, 2013 - 12:32 pm

    I never use the letter o , out of it’s correct usage, it makes the speaker or the person speaking seem unsure of themselves and what they are saying. I feel a person should never seem unsure of their choice of words.

    Peace- n- love

  75. MsAnthropy J -  August 23, 2013 - 9:04 am

    I think the use of ‘so’ in a sense of insisting upon the extrapolation of information is a good thing. It avoids the long winded explanation of something that everyone in the conversation should already see coming. I mean obviously it is of no use if no one or not everyone understands where the conversation was going, but what can you do. Sometimes people don’t get it, so….

  76. Amanda -  August 23, 2013 - 3:10 am

    In some areas of Ireland the word so is used at the end of a sentence. It certainly doesn’t dangle and it isn’t bragging or making a question, just part of how the sentence is structured.

  77. Usha Iyer -  August 22, 2013 - 5:26 pm

    *** was not as

  78. Usha Iyer -  August 22, 2013 - 5:25 pm

    **That as ” I told you so!” Sorry about the error, but it sounds quite apt at my age!! :)

  79. Usha Iyer -  August 22, 2013 - 5:22 pm

    Without leaving it dangling, we have seen so being used as in ‘And I love you so” a lovely song of years ago or “I old you so!!”. No?

  80. lamzydivey -  August 22, 2013 - 4:08 pm

    I use it to emphasize that something is correct.

    It is so!

  81. Holly Rust -  August 22, 2013 - 10:02 am

    I use it as a dangling so and it’s been a habit since childhood. I notice that my brother also does it and our mother. In our case, it is definately not bragging, but I think more the “it’s understood what I’ve said” kind of, so. I have no explanation why other than part of the Michigan dialect? Kind of comes from the UP or Canada? Your guess is as good as mine, but after living in Texas and then going back to Michigan to visit, I notice I do it even more when I return from a visit and I drive myself nuts! :O)

  82. HARSRISHTY -  August 22, 2013 - 2:49 am

    I HAVE never used the dangling so because its usage makes the speaker look uncertain and akward.

  83. reta.allen -  August 21, 2013 - 5:00 am

    I’ve just gotten into words, but the word so is one I’ve always used but not as you have mentioned. Someone says something, you are surprised because it’s something everyone knew or have taken for granted. When we say so, it’s saying; ‘so what?”


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