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Friday, May 6, 2016

The Answer Man

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Q: What two words are taking the place of "and,ah," "and,er," and "duh?"

A: "You Know"

The two words "you know" are inundated into our speech today; and are harder to expunge from verbal communication than breaking the smoking habit, or resigning from a record club. They have replaced the need for "and,ers," "and,ahs," and "duhs."

"You knows" have become a conjunctive allowing no interruptions for a flowing sentence. If a person can inject enough "you knows" into speech that person can keep the floor.

If actually written as it sounds it would require no punctuation. It takes the place of commas, semicolons, question marks, or periods.

Just how or when this started is impossible to pinpoint. Logically, the use of a "you know" would either mean that you assume the person you address understands you, or it is used in the interrogative form... "you know??"

But that's not how we use it. We use it to keep on talking.

Writers don't write in "you knows," unless a character they are portraying is some kind of nitwit. Actors and newscasters don't use "you knows," because they are reading from a script. But catch them in an impromptu interview and they are just as guilty as we are, with their dialogue adorned with "you knows."

Sports stars are probably the worst, because very few of them have ever been captain of the debating team.

A typical sports star interview":

"I was lucky tonight "you know" we played well as a team "you know" this is a team game "you know" it's a long season "you know" play them one game at a time "you know" ball bounced our way tonight "you know" coach made the right moves "you know" tough game tomorrow night "you know"

Note that the above statement is aesthetically free of "and,ers" "and,ahs, or "duhs." It also requires no capital letters or punctuation because the "you knows" eliminate the need.

Are "you knows" a bad thing for our language? Well, Shakespeare didn't write that way, nor did Dickens. Politicians don't speak or write in "you knows," (unless caught off guard.) Can you imagine Lincoln saying "Four score and seven years ago "you know"......?

There are worse ways to express ourselves. All of us know people who connect their sentences with the use of four letter words. "You know" doesn't seem so bad compared to that.

And there is a lot to be said for saying good bye to "and,ers," you know.

Q: Should Pete Rose be reinstated into Baseball?

A: He has his supporters, and also his detractors

It took Pete Rose fifteen years to finally admit he made bets on baseball; and that included his own team.

Joe Morgan, Hall of Fame second baseman for the Cincinnati "Big Red Machine Rose played on, was Pete's friend, and supported him for the first fifteen years.

The admission - that came from a book Rose was promoting - was the final straw for Morgan.

He said in an interview that he hoped Pete found happiness and peace in his life; but that was not what it is all about.

What Joe Morgan didn't say is what we all know: That if players and managers make rampant bets on the games it is the beginning of the end for that sport. This is a cardinal rule that is posted in every clubhouse.

It does make you wonder why the steroid dandies are taken so lightly; and why their statistics remain on the books?

The Answer man
The Answer Man