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Author Topic: Obnoxious phrases writers use  (Read 818 times)

Online Yora

Obnoxious phrases writers use
« on: March 31, 2016, 08:50:28 PM »
In probably most languages the written word is a very different dialect from the spoken word, with each having their own conventions and customs. Even when writing dialogue for characters and even if those lines are then spoken on stage or film, it's usually very different from actual speech.

And sometimes writers seem to be fond to use phrases and expression that seem really odd when you put them into the mouths of characters.

Why on earth does the phrase "As you know, ..." exist? Why would any person ever use it in conversation? It does occasionally come up in lectures and presentations, but then it means "as you should know, but I am saying anyway to spare you the embarrasment of asking the question, ..." When you know the other person in a conversation knows these facts, it just makes no sense. Even as a writer, if you want a character to say something that is redundant because everyone in the conversation knows it, why would you draw attention to it by adding "as you know". It might have gone by unnoticed that the statement was redundant for the characters if those words hadn't been there.
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Re: Obnoxious phrases writers use
« Reply #1 on: March 31, 2016, 09:16:14 PM »
Thinking about it, I realise I actually use the expression "you know..." quite a lot, usually at the end of the sentence rather than the beginning.
It's a stress-interjection, a way of making sure the other person understood exactly what I was telling them.
For example, "I'm really annoyed, you know..."

So rather than seeing it as an expression to introduce facts both characters know, see it as confirmation, re-affirmation. Then it might not feel so obnoxious.
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Offline cupiscent

Re: Obnoxious phrases writers use
« Reply #2 on: March 31, 2016, 10:04:26 PM »
"As you know" is useful in general life, because I know a lot of things, but if you can line up the particular things I need to keep in mind as context for the next thing you're about to propose or conclude or expand upon, that's good. Though I admit, I tend to instead use, "Hey, remember xyz? Well, ABC."

Definitely only use it in your writing if it has a point beyond two characters having a conversation about things they both know. (I can see a use where one character is making a snarky point at the other.)

Relevant: https://twitter.com/cupiscent/status/704417326502907905