Date: Fri, 24 May 1996 12:03:19 -0400

From: Suzanne Cadwell scadwell[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]EMAIL.UNC.EDU

Subject: "I was about to say"

Hello, folks!

I'm a doctoral student in Rhetoric & Composition at UNC-CH, a student of

Connie Eble's, and a year-long lurker on this list. Just within the past

year, I've noticed myself and a handful of others (including Prof. Eble!)

using "I was about to say" as a discourse marker or comment clause in


My working hypothesis, if one can even term it that, is that it is a

gesture of either:

1) informing the conversation partner that you had had the same thought

they have just expressed

2) a general statement of sympathy with the sentiments the conversation

partner had just expressed

I've only "caught" one man using the clause, who insisted that he uses it

only as an affectation.

Is this a recent phenomenon or am I just suddenly aware of it?


Suzanne Cadwell