Readers sound off on saying ‘you know,’ adjusting congestion pricing and rodeo animals


Just so ya know, ‘you know’ has a point, yunno?
Tarrytown, N.Y.: To Voicer Mary Caggiano: The best free artificial intelligence aid I’ve found, at, gave the following answer to your question about the use and origin of the conversational phrase “you know”:
“The phrase ‘you know’ is a common filler or discourse marker used in casual conversations. It serves several purposes: To seek agreement or acknowledgment from the listener that they understand what is being said. For example, ‘It was a long day at work, you know?’ implies the speaker expects the listener to relate to having long workdays; To fill pauses and give the speaker time to gather their thoughts before continuing. Using ‘you know’ can prevent awkward silences during natural speech disfluencies; To establish a sense of shared knowledge or experience with the listener. Saying ‘you know’ suggests the speaker assumes the listener has a similar frame of reference.
“The origins of using ‘you know’ in this way are not precisely known, but the phrase has been a part of informal English for centuries. Some linguists trace it back to the 16th century, when it emerged as a conversational filler similar to ‘I mean’ or ‘like.’ Its usage became more widespread in the 20th century, potentially influenced by the rise of radio and television, where conversational speech patterns were more commonly heard.
“So in summary, while seemingly redundant, ‘you know’ serves important pragmatic functions in facilitating conversational flow and creating a sense of rapport between speakers. Its ubiquity in modern speech, especially among younger generations, underscores its utility as a conversational device.” Steve Ditlea
Useless utterances
Manhattan: To Voicer Martin Goldman: The words you mentioned, along with “um” and “ah,” are word whiskers. People aren’t aware that they’re repeatedly saying them. Next time someone you know well repeatedly uses one or more word whiskers in a conversation, ask if they realize it. I asked a friend and they were surprised. Vanessa Enger
Green-eyed monster
Brooklyn: To Voicer Rose S. Wilson: I feel that it’s J. Lo who is immature and jealous of Ben Affleck. I believe he has been just as successful, if not more. I think she has been married more times than him, so she wins that category. Rocco Conte
Missed opportunity
Brooklyn: I woke up yesterday morning and saw the photo of the royal family of the Netherlands during their visit to the Brooklyn Heights Promenade and Navy Yard (“Brooklyn gets a touch of Dutch,” June 14). It would have meant so much more for you to have included a photo of them visiting East Flatbush, which I’m sure was a surprise and a highlight for the predominantly Caribbean community. Why not focus on a happy story once in a while in a community that too often gets covered when there is a crime?! Sharon Myrie
Not up to the job
Pearl River, N.Y.: I was watching the D-Day memorial and I couldn’t help thinking that President Biden was being led into the seating area by Jill Biden like a little puppy. Guiding him while holding his hand and releasing it with a push in the direction of where he had to walk. He is so fragile and weak looking and can’t speak without using flash cards or a teleprompter and then even confuses what he is reading. This senile old man will destroy our once powerful great country. Robert Brennan
Threadbare social fabric
Warwick, R.I.: With the recent convictions of two notable members of our leading political families, our path to decency and leadership has been eroded and disgraced. It appears there is no moral compass to live our lives within a framework of respect, decency and higher social standards. Our lives in faith have declined and will continue this trend, as many are rejecting the religious standards they had in their youth. We are now allowing simple misdemeanors to not warrant a legal response due to shortages of funds, personnel or lower standards. If this trend continues, many will be challenged to determine which regulations they should accept and which to ignore. It will become a cafeteria-style society of pick-and-choose, and then we will all need to be aware for our personal safety in all public venues. An uncertain path is our only future. Bob Sweeney
Dear Leader
Auburndale: Watching those sycophantic members of Congress trying to out-clap each other while fawning over Donald Trump looked like something out of North Korea. Cathi Venis
Check your ideology
Midland Park, N.J.: To Voicer Bill Barrett: The Atlantic is a lefty rag? I guess you don’t read it. And you accuse someone else of being in a cult? Tony Merlino
Dry run
Brooklyn: Since everything is in place for congestion pricing, why not turn it on as a full-production test for a couple of months? It should be a simple computer program change to issue a credit at the end of the month for all congestion pricing EZ-Pass charges, and we can then see what the cost per driver would be if/when it goes into effect, and what the income would be. Paul Hachmeyer
Better idea
Scarborough, N.Y.: Congratulations to former City Councilman Ben Kallos for resurrecting his plan to toll all vehicles at all NYC entry points (“How to set up a fair congestion pricing program,” op-ed, June 13). Four million vehicles a day at $1 each equals $1.46 billion a year, almost $500 million more than the current congestion pricing debacle would have generated. Wisely, Kallos states that the corrupt and dysfunctional MTA should not see a penny from those tolls until it drastically reduces the cost of transit infrastructure construction. Thomas F. Comiskey
Cold comments
Pelham, N.Y.: In responding to Timothy Cardinal Dolan’s recent op-ed, Voicer Dan Singer rants like a typical pro-abort. He emits a lot of putrid steam that, of course, has no substance. He asks Dolan, “How many babies have you sold today?” With Dolan’s warm pro-life messages, the appropriate question would be, “How many babies have you saved today?” He beseeches Dolan for putting forth “unscientific religious reasons.” An ultrasound sonogram scientifically shows that the fetus is a live human being, and it therefore can not be denied that terminating that baby in the womb is morally (and religiously) wrong and abhorrent. Singer can write as cynically as he wants, but in the end he shows that he is bereft of morality in his promotion of termination of babies in the womb. Wendy Packus
Further ripples
Wyckoff, N.J.: S.E. Cupp’s column “The ripple effect of overturning Roe v. Wade” (June 14) didn’t go nearly far enough in illustrating all the effects of overturning Roe. Women who want nothing more than a healthy pregnancy and safe delivery are at grave risk, too. Hard evidence is emerging from major medical associations and professional societies that OB/GYNs and medical students are fleeing states with restrictive reproductive health care laws. When a woman blissfully sees her positive pregnancy test and can’t get a new patient appointment with an OB/GYN, it isn’t about abortion. When a woman faces a high-risk pregnancy and can’t get an appointment with the appropriate specialist, it isn’t about abortion. When a woman experiences a pregnancy complication and can’t get emergency care because there are insufficient OB/GYNs to cover ERs or those who are available are too afraid of litigation to practice, it isn’t about abortion. Marc Schaeffer
Brutal entertainment
Tuckahoe, N.Y.: A pitiful, frightened bull recently ran into the stands at a rodeo, trying to escape from his torturers, and accidentally injured people who shouldn’t have been there anyway. In 2024, it’s time people educated themselves about the blatant, shameful abuse of animals in rodeos, horseracing and the like. Information is easily accessible online with details and photos. Otherwise peaceful bulls break bones, are hit with electric prods and die at rodeos. New York’s open data website lists every equine “breakdown” (injury) and death — more than 1,000 racehorse deaths in this state alone. And no, the racehorse industry does not have a retirement plan — well, not for horses anyway. These sentient, intelligent beings are not “animal friends” or “working companions,” as animal purveyors state. Stop contributing to the lies of exploiters who profit off the suffering and death of silent victims while relying on spectators’ blinders. Kiley Blackman


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