The beets did really weird stuff to me, like to my poop and stuff. Anyway, red wine does seem to be all I drink these days, but that's ok, because....
March 29, 2008 9:35 PM   Subscribe

I say and write the word 'Anyway' too often as a bridge between a previous thought and the next one. I knew I did this on the page a lot but didn't realize I was saying it too. It's clear that I've got some reason why I can't just start into the new thought. How can I stop?
posted by TheManChild2000 to Writing & Language (11 answers total)
I know this isn't answering the question, but I don't see anything wrong with using "anyway" to change the subject... It's useful for getting a conversation back on track if you've strayed from the original topic. Not saying anything between the thoughts would, IMO, make the conversation harder to follow and make you seem scatterbrained.
posted by wsp at 9:47 PM on March 29, 2008

It just sounds like you need some more transistional words and phrases to work into your vocabulary. Here's some to get you started.
posted by bigmusic at 9:58 PM on March 29, 2008

I don't think saying "anyway" in between talking about beets/your shit and red wine is going to make you seem any less scatterbrained than saying nothing in between. I think the real issue here is learning to focus on the topic at hand or stick to your main anecdote in a conversation. If you stray, you can always qualify it with "but I digress" or something like that. I agree with the OP that "anyway" isn't the way to go and is pretty much meaningless filler on par with "um," and "you know what I'm sayin'."
posted by chococat at 9:58 PM on March 29, 2008

If you're writing, just cross it out. It's that simple.
posted by unSane at 10:01 PM on March 29, 2008

I remember hearing one comedian stating that "Anyway..." was just another way of saying "Wish you were dead..." Oddly enough, ever since I heard that, I haven't used it as a topic changer.
posted by slavlin at 10:59 PM on March 29, 2008 [1 favorite]

Usually it's used when a person has gotten off the track, realized it, and tries to correct course to return to the original thought.

The way to eliminate the need for it is to not get off the course. If you find you need to say "Anyway...", it means you need to delete enough stuff you just wrote so that you don't need the "anyway" any longer. People who stay on topic don't need it.
posted by Class Goat at 11:20 PM on March 29, 2008

Slavlin: Fred Stoller

Following Class Goat, my mom uses "anyway..." whenever the conversation has strayed too far from her usual topics, such as who died/is sick and how much houses are selling for in the neighborhood. As to not getting off course, another solution is to not need the conversation to go in a particular direction, to be okay with the digressions that constitute a multiperson conversation. Per my mom (and Mr. Stoller), I've always associated "anyway..." with a bit of control-freakery.
posted by rhizome at 12:31 AM on March 30, 2008

A group of us actually taught a Japanese person to use "so, anyway", because she asked us what was the correct way to politely signal a change of conversational topic. So as you can see, we pretty much consider it OK. You might like to vary it a bit, as suggested, but there's nothing wrong with it, and it's a generally understood signal.
posted by AmbroseChapel at 12:41 AM on March 30, 2008

Transitions are overrated, and almost always unnecessary. When you catch yourself about to say or write "anyway", stop, skip that word, and pick up with the very next one. If your train of thought is extremely nonlinear, a transition like "anyway" won't smooth the ride. If you're pretty much sticking to the same territory, and your audience can't follow your train of thought, that's their problem, not yours. You either need to work on your ability to stick to a single thread, or your confidence that people will follow your line of discussion. In either case, "anyway" isn't the solution, so just leave it out.
posted by jjg at 12:45 AM on March 30, 2008

How can I stop?

Tell the person you talk to most every day that you will give him or her five bucks every time you say the word.

To seed the process, explain the problem about there being one word you want to rid yourself of, get this person to agree, and then finish by saying, "...and the word is 'anyway'." Then hand your friend five bucks. Then you'll associate saying the word with immediate loss and your friend will associate your saying the word with immediate gain, so you'll both be primed for the exercise.

After you lose a few bucks, you will learn better control of your tongue, and not just as concerns this particular word.
posted by pracowity at 4:38 AM on March 30, 2008

I tend to find that I use words in phases, so a word that I find impossible not to use one month may not pass my lips a few months later. I'd just wait and it will probably pass. Or endless mocking by friends will do the trick.
posted by cluck at 12:58 PM on March 30, 2008

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