‘You Know What …..’

Words, Words, Words
Words, Words, Words

Am I the only one who has become obsessed with the extent to which commentators and contributors on radio and television, are using the expression You know what … over and over and over …..

I even heard Hilary Clinton using it in one of her big political speeches the other day when I thought it was just an Irish habit.

It’s tossed in, it seems, to try and catch our attention, just in  case we’re drifting off somewhere.  You know what, this movie is one of the worst I’ve ever seen;  You know what, this weekend is crucial for the people of Greece. 

For some reason,  You know what always makes me think of silly exchanges in my childhood relating to why that went like this:

Q. Why did he go out in the dark?

A. That’s the why. 

And while I’m at it, I may as well mention my other pet word trend at the moment ~ narrative. People seem to be consumed with concern to highlight the narrative associated with events and happenings. Everything has a narrative. Yes, everything probably does have some kind of story or even conversation attached to it but how did we come to a situation where the word narrative ends up being used about 10 times in any 5 minute discussion of current affairs?

So, go on, tell me about the expressions/words that you think are being over-used in public discourse at the moment.



Author: socialbridge

I am a sociologist and writer from Ireland. I have worked as a social researcher for 30 years and have had a lifelong passion for writing. My main research interests relate to health care and I love to write both non-fiction and poetry.

22 thoughts on “‘You Know What …..’”

  1. Actually, Jean, I find “narrative” and “You know what …” are being used more and more often here in Canada as well. I wonder if it is the influence of international media that is spreading these pleonasms?

  2. Another over used word that irritates me is “Amazing”…on game shows the contestant is asked about her family and the usual response is “I am married to my amazing husband or I have x amount of amazing children “..what’s so amazing about them. They must perform feats that no one else has..like the “Amazing Houdini”..ha…Another one is ..”It is what it is”..what is?

    1. Tric, I suspect you’ll start noticing now! Even Serena Williams went into: ‘You know what …’ mode yesterday in a late evening interview.
      Oh, ‘you know like’ tagged on at the end is part and parcel of Waterford-speak too!

  3. I’m with jonibee – “amazing” should be banned from broadcasting. When I worked for HP (the IT company not the sauce) they had the tag line – “let’s do amazing” – they didn’t and neither did I. Rant over 🙂

  4. “Front and centre” is one I abhor. Every one that is to the fore of the latest grouping/party/organisation is “front and centre”.
    “In the context of… every utterance by politicians is prefaced by “in the context of…
    Other cliches I don’t like are “blue-sky thinking”, “light-bulb moment”, “elephant in the room”, “at the coalface”.
    Another one that politicians love saying before every waffle is: “the reality is…” as if their opinion is some sort of objective truth.

  5. As a child I said “you know what” a lot and was able to retrain myself under the austere eye of my Dad!
    As an adult “actually” ….. is one that I have let go of, but I still notice it in others.
    John has a great selection of waffle 🙂

    1. Val, that ‘austere eye’ of your father resonates with me in terms of ironing out a few cliches etc.
      John is a man of great humour and intellect, as well as a true follower of politics.

  6. This made me smile, Jean. One of my word pet peeves is “So…” being used to start a sentence. All of a sudden I hear this all the time and it can’t possibly be correct English. I hear “you know what” a lot, too. These expressions or words seem to go in spurts. 🙂

  7. The adoption of the Australian use of the imperative ‘Look…’ at the start of a sentence. It comes across as aggressive to us Brits though it’s not meant that way.

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