Over the past few years I’ve sort of developed a reputation as the sort of Biscuit Woman because I sort of say ‘Biscuit’ sort of all the time. But there’s something else I sort of say that’s actually sort of annoying, and that’s sort of ‘sort of’!
Leftwing Idiot’s noticed it and it drives him up the sort of wall. The thing is though, it’s not a tic, it’s more a vocal filler, and as far as I can tell it’s fairly common.
It does feel weird that ‘sort of’ isn’t a tic and that I do have some control over how often I say it. It’s funny, too, knowing that Leftwing Idiot, who can ignore my regular tics without even thinking, really struggles with ‘sort of’.
When I catch myself saying it, it soon becomes the only thing I hear. And I’ve noticed it on TV and radio too. If you pay close attention to what’s being said you’ll soon notice all sorts of fillers like, “um”, “kind of”, “you know”, and “sort of”.
There’s plenty of stuff online about how to stop using fillers, but Rebecca Armstrong, who writes for the Independent, takes a kinder view in her short article with a long title from 2013. There’s even a whole academic paper about how filler words can actually help us understand spoken language more easily.
Although this sort of makes me feel better about ‘sort of’, I’m still keen to sort of say it less.