Date: Fri, 24 May 1996 12:47:24 -0400 From: TERRY IRONS Subject: Re: "I was about to say" On Fri, 24 May 1996, Suzanne Cadwell wrote: > using "I was about to say" as a discourse marker or comment clause in > conversation. > > 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? > I haven't really paid much attention to this phrase, but it does work as a clear discourse marker of some kind. But my sense is that works in a manner somewhat different than your hypothesis, although there could be two or more forms here. My sense is that the phrase, "I was about to say" functions as a means of claiming the floor or a turn, after an interruption. In this context though, I hear it more as, "As I was about to say..." It all depends on what comes in the "..." Sometimes we hear "the same thing" which points to the collaborative/sympathy function. But we also here "before you interrupted." Terry Irons (*)=(*)=(*)=(*)=(*)=(*)=(*)=(*)=(*)=(*)=(*)=(*)=(*)=(*)=(*)=(*)=(*)=(*)=(*)=(*) Terry Lynn Irons t.irons[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE] Voice Mail: (606) 783-5164 Snail Mail: UPO 604 Morehead, KY 40351 (*)=(*)=(*)=(*)=(*)=(*)=(*)=(*)=(*)=(*)=(*)=(*)=(*)=(*)=(*)=(*)=(*)=(*)=(*)=(*)