Expressions in conversations

Don Kleinsmith

Today’s column includes some expressions often used in conversations.

• Someone opens the door for us, and we say, “Thank you.” Remember when the door-opener said, “You’re welcome”? Now, it’s often, “No problem.”

• We find “like” inserted into some sentences. “She was, like, excited about the opportunity.”

• “Hello, young man” isn’t apparently reserved for someone under 12. It might be annoying — or humorous — to one who is 70.

• How refreshing it is when calling a company to hear a live voice say “Good morning.” Often that initial live response may eliminate waiting time and a delay for answers.

• “Are you still working on that?” a restaurant server might say to a guest eating a steak. Wouldn’t it be more pleasant for the guest to hear, “Are you still enjoying your steak?”

• The quick passerby asks, “Hi, how are you?” as he/she hurries on without slowing for a response.

• A receiver of a telephone call, after hearing a request to speak to someone, might say, “Please hold, one second.” A minute or so later the person called responds.

• “So” is often now the word-opener when responding to a question or to change the subject. Examples:  “So I then called the office,” and “So what do you think of the weather?”

• Long–winded speeches — often political — leave me and some others to ask: “What should I remember?”

• It’s fairly common to write, “She graduated high school.” What happened to “from”?

• During prolonged silence in a group conversation one who has nothing to say might ask, “Well?” to break the silence.

Best wishes to you, good reader.

Don Kleinsmith is professor emeritus at Adrian College where he has taught for 45 years. He can be reached at or 517-263-6357.

This article originally appeared on The Daily Telegram: Don Kleinsmith: Expressions in conversations