So. Right?

John Herrman has a NY Times piece on a couple of linguistic tics that have spread in recent years; there’s padding about Mark Zuckerberg and the like, but what struck me is that he consulted with actual linguists on the history of the usages:

Linguistic observers have noted for years the apparent rise of “so” in connection with the popularization of certain subjects and modes of speech. In 2010, in The New York Times, Anand Giridharadas announced the arrival of a new species of the unassuming word.

“‘So’ may be the new ‘well,’ ‘um,’ ‘oh’ and ‘like.’ No longer content to lurk in the middle of sentences, it has jumped to the beginning,” he wrote, crediting the journalist Michael Lewis with documenting its use among programmers at Microsoft more than a decade earlier.

In 2015, in a story for “Fresh Air” on NPR, Geoff Nunberg, the program’s longtime linguist, explained this use of “so” as a cue used by “people who can’t answer a question without first bringing you up to speed on the back story,” he said. Hence his name for it: back story “so.”

Syelle Graves, a linguist and the assistant director of the Institute for Language Education in Transcultural Context at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, wrote her dissertation on the rise and uses of this particular “so.” Analyzing a sampling of spontaneous, unwritten American speech from 1990 to 2011, she concluded that this usage of “so” had indeed increased significantly, often as a stand-in for “well.”

By examining online posts, she also found that people were not only noticing its spread — they were also often irritated by it. […] Later, Dr. Graves conducted a survey in which subjects responded to recordings of men and women providing identical answers to questions, with “so” and “well” spliced in at the beginning. “In a nutshell, the woman who answered with back story ‘so’ was rated as less authoritative, more trendy and more like a ‘valley girl’ than the exact same woman who answered questions with well,” she said. “The man who answered questions with back story ‘so’ was less likable, more condescending and more like a ‘tech bro’ than the exact same recording of the exact same man who answered with ‘well,’” she said.

Speakers loosely associated with either of California’s apparently linguistically verdant valleys — Silicon in the north, San Fernando in the south — were generally “perceived as less intelligent, less professionally competent and less mature, among other things.”

And on question-tag “right”:

Micah Siegel, a venture capitalist and former Stanford professor, joined one Quora thread with an unusually specific theory. “My take is that this is a classic speech virus,” he wrote. “I believe it started in the particle physics community in the early 1980s, spread to the solid state physics community in the mid 1980s and then to the neuroscience community in the late 1980s. It appears to have gone mainstream just in the past few years. I am not sure what caused this latest jump.”

Mr. Siegel isn’t alone in observing the prevalence of “right?” among academics in the sciences; a 2004 paper by the linguist Erik Schleef found far higher usage of related forms of “OK” and “right” in natural science lectures than in humanities lectures, speculating that they need to “check on understanding more often than humanities instructors.”

One plausible answer to Mr. Siegel’s question about what caused “right” to enter “mainstream” speech is that people from academic backgrounds like his — familiar with a culture of talks and presentations, most comfortable in settings with specialized shared expertise — are now public figures. They work on companies and products that, rather quickly, became extremely powerful well outside of the worlds in which they were built.

However credible one finds the linguistic lab-leak theory, “right” and its many variants achieved wide community spread.

I disagree with Nunberg — I don’t think this use of “so” has anything to do with “the back story,” it just marks an answer to a question. (We discussed McWhorter on “so” a couple of years ago.)


  1. My daughter is creating an “Avatar Journal”, dedicated to her explications of the characters in the tv show Avatar.

    It begins “So my name is Juanita* and I’m 7 years old. So I hope you’re excited to learn about the Avatar.”

    This is her vernacular. She uses it only slightly less sparingly than the above. There’s no full stop, as in an example at the McWhorter thread. Instead, frequently, there’s ellipsis.

    I’m not sure how this fits with the back story or answer to a question theories. Too bad there’s probably truth to them in other houses, and as on origin for the phenomenon, because I’d love to label them just-so stories.

    But I don’t think they capture the new usage, which is more prolific.

    * Name changed.

  2. I’d love to label them just-so stories.

    Heh. But I really do think that’s basically what they are, even if there are examples of what look like back-story uses; we humans, even academic-type humans, desperately look for explanations for things and hate hearing “That’s just the way it is.” The older I get, the happier I am with settling for the latter, because the alternative is usually letting oneself believe a load of old tosh.

  3. David Marjanović says

    Very similar to the use of also as a postpausal filler in German. I’ve always equated these.

  4. John Emerson says

    I had an in-law who would begin sentences with “so then” or sometimes “so….” followed by “then” at the end. When I studied German I encountered versions of this ,and it’s possible that it traces to German in a town which is 30-40% of German descent. Other possible Germanisms include “hinder” for “butt” and an aspirated “t” at ends of words , which I lost after 40 years away but my sister who stayed there didn’t.

  5. Stu Clayton says

    Classic exchange of views by an old married couple, sitting in a café with nothing to do:


    Man: Ja, ja

    5 minutes later

    Woman: So, so


  6. Jen in Edinburgh says

    It definitely *can* be a back story so – ‘so there’s this man I see every day waiting for the bus, and…’ – but I’d have thought that might be more common when you’re not answering a specific question.

  7. I’d have thought that might be more common when you’re not answering a specific question.

    Exactly. There is a back-story “so,” but I think it’s connected vaguely if at all to the current use, at least in the US — do people interviewed in the UK or elsewhere routinely start answers that way? “Where were you born?” “So I was born in London…”

  8. Lars Mathiesen says

    The thin edge of the wedge for evidentials in English. The thin edge, mark my words!

    Let me rephrase that: So English didn’t used to have evidentials. So now it does.

  9. Do evidentials simply mark a change of speakers?

  10. David L. Gold says

    @ David Marjanović. “also as a postpausal filler in German.”

    I wonder whether utterance-initial German also has two functions: 1. as a postpausal filler. 2. as an attention-getter.

    The word seems to have the second function in utterances such as:

    Also, meine Damen und Herren…

    Also, heute werden wir…

  11. Seamus Heaney famously kicked off his 1999 translation of Beowulf with “So.” (for Hwaet).

    Some discussion about it here:

    Hat: “do people interviewed in the UK or elsewhere routinely start answers that way? “Where were you born?” “So I was born in London…””

    I have noticed, in an unscientific way, that a lot of contestants in the BBC TV quiz show Pointless do introduce themselves with a “So”, especially if they are 20s-30s, not so much if they are 50s-60s. (This is in the second and more in depth “what I do” introduction, not the first “where I am from” intro”).

  12. I was at Fermilab, the accelerator place, in the mid-1980s, and I don’t have any particular recollection of physicists using ‘right?’ a lot. Unless we all used it all the time, so that it seemed unremarkable.

  13. I definitely have the “right?” tic when I lecture, which I guess is evidence that linguistics is a science.

  14. The part about physicists popularizing the question tag, “… right?” also seemed very strange to me. It’s not something I’ve noticed particle of solid state physicists saying particularly.

    I also remarked, the last time we talked about initial, “So,” that it has long been a stereotypical regionalism associated with Minnesota (and more generally, Scandinavians in the upper Midwest).

  15. David Eddyshaw says

    So English didn’t used to have evidentials. So now it does.

    Did you discover that yourself, or did someone tell you about it?

  16. An equivalent of “right” (usually так? “[is it] so?”, but also правильно? верно? etc. Or even just “do you agree?”) is common for math [education].

    When your friend does not belive that A follows from B, you check the derivation step by step to fugure out where you two diverge. “Do you believe that B is true?” “yes”. “Then [….], right?” “Right”. “Then […]” “yes”. “But in that case […]” “Ah…”

  17. Having been outside North America since 2000, I first ran into false-question-tag “right” in Canada, in a humanities academic context, in 2009. It definitely had the vibe on that occasion of a verbal tic (speaker was a grad student, nervous, trying to put on a good show, ending every sentence right? – but they must have acquired it either in grad school in Canada or as an undergrad). I now hear it (in Canada) constantly–more in an academic context than a social one, but it’s prevalent in both. Like UK “innit” (but not Cdn “eh”) it irritates me as I can’t help but perceive it as coercing assent the proposition or opinion given. I probably use it all the time without knowing it.

    Incidentally I tried to do some corpus research on this phenomenon some time ago and had to give up pretty quickly — it’s not an easy thing to isolate.

  18. Oh, also my spouse (not an academic) uses “right?” all the time at home. I always reply “right!” toot suite and leave it at that.

  19. There’s also initial “Right”, short for “All right”. In particular, “Right. So…”

  20. PlasticPaddy says

    Maybe the Canadian “right” was a translation into Standard English of his/her native “Eh”.????

  21. jack morava says

    Ah, so, Mr Moto…

    I’m hearing `amirite’ as a tag question these days; I try to respond with `innit ?’ I hear `eh’ among canadians, figure it’s the same as the `hein’ I see in Tintin for ex

  22. PPS “So, …” was already creeping in the zuckersphere by 1998/99. Presumably Z picked it up in the same environment that my roommates did. I /think/ it emerged in their speech around this time–at least that’s when I first noticed it, and I had known them well since 1996.

    SH’s Beowulf opener (Fall 99) is certainly a coincidence (he traces it back to the local speech of some distant relations of his, “Scullion speech”).

  23. jack moraava says

    I forgot about Australian postposed `but’, eg `We had a good time but’, maybe = `though’? On German cop shows I seem to hear `aber’ used similarly, nicht wahr?

    See also

  24. To me (southern English, b. 1958) “So.” (with a full stop) means “My reply to your question might be longer than you expected, so please hear me out.” It corresponds in my mind to Hungarian “Figyelj”, which means literally “Pay attention”.

    But then I’m an IT geek.

  25. I loved how they compare “valley girls” to “tech bros”. But why Silicon valley boys are seen as incompetent?

  26. David Marjanović says

    2. as an attention-getter.

    Yes, often.

    Seamus Heaney famously kicked off his 1999 translation of Beowulf with “So.” (for Hwaet).

    I maintain that it’s just part of a rhetorical barely-question: “What haven’t we heard about the Spear-Danes!” The word order of hwæt we gardenam is unremarkable in German: Was wir schon alles über die Speer-Dänen gehört haben! I can’t see any reason to take the first word as a sentence of its own.

  27. I agree, and I think we had a thread about it not that long ago.

  28. But why Silicon valley boys are seen as incompetent?

    Ah. : “It can be viewed as antithetical to geek culture, which emphasizes ability and passion for field over image.

  29. I saw English speakers discussing it some five years ago.

    They were ESL teachers, not linguists but not naive users either. Their opinion of it and other things that people call filler words was positive.

    Just as the article quoted here has “Later, Dr. Graves conducted a survey …. with ‘so’ and ‘well’” and the article mentioned in LL has this: “A BBC host says speakers use it to sound important and intellectual. A columnist at Fast Company warns that it undermines your credibility. A psychologist writes that it’s a weasel word that people use to avoid giving a straight answer.“, somene also referred to a survey that claimed that people who do use such words are seen as better public speakers.
    An example of two politicians was given: one of them did use these, the other did not, and the first one won.

    And an article referenced by one of the teachers spoke about “discourse markers” rather than “filler words”. I was extremely pleased.

    I also read some linguistic articles about so, and alas – none of them defined what it means. Instead they used jargonisms like “back story ‘so'”:(

    It has always been a mystery for me. I use “so” often in my English, and I use it in the meaning “thus”, “так что”. Meanwhile I keep seeing it where it does not mean thus and where I can’t even image a derivation from “thus”! I can use English “now” in a similar way. This is why linguistic articles disappointed me: I am afraid they were avoiding explaining everything that is hard to explain, and were no more or even less helpful than popular

    – I am pleased that some native speakers too find it not very intuitive.
    – I am surprised that both LH and LL write about it now, when newspapers noticed it years ago, and I have been struggling with it for more than a decade.
    – I suspect that journalists did more than merely consulted linguists. They contributed in research and inspired it.

  30. I am surprised that both LH and LL write about it now, when newspapers noticed it years ago

    I noticed it years ago too:

    A point of interest in terms of English linguistics is the frequent use of “so” to begin responses; this is almost ubiquitous these days, but I mention it for the benefit of those who aren’t aware of the phenomenon or want a convenient source of examples.

  31. Lars Mathiesen says

    That is so a trick question, David. Which answer won’t get me eaten by goats?

  32. I am reminded that, except for the very first line and the chorus, every line of “Blowing in the Wind” was written to start with: “Yes, and how many…” (although I personally omit the “Yes” at the onset of each verse, not just the first).

  33. David Eddyshaw says


    It pays to keep on the right side of the Goatmaster. Or so I am told.

  34. Brett, in modern Russian it is tempting (that is: for me it is associated with a pleasant physical sensation, and a freind of mine once told the same thing) to begin with a.

    This actually happens in some songs, modern and folk.

    A famous rock song:

    А не спеши ты нас хоронить,
    А у нас ещё здесь дела-а,
    У нас дома детей мал-мала-а…
    А не спеши ты в спину стрелять
    Это всегда не подзно успеть
    А лучше дай нам дотанцева-ать..

    A less famous rock song with more obvious folk reference a i:

    А и не держит себя в руках / целует будто наказывает

    Older folk songs employ a different and larger repertoire of particles-conjunctions/interjections/sounds for this purpose, whatever the purpose is.

  35. “I noticed it years ago too:”

    Well, the discussion between English teachers tha ti referred to was almost simultaneous, the same year maybe. I suppose the newspaper publication (which I can’t find, but really, it is like music to my ears to see “discourse marker” instead of “filler word”! Note also that in Russian words like же are respectable part of grammar) is from about the same time.

    I began to suffer from discrepancy between my so [that] and everyone’s so much earlier. I read in English rather than listen to, it seriously limits my understanding of English. But I am must better at reading than writing. Encountering so’s that I can’t explain or understand and have no slightest idea what it is doing here in texts where I understand everything else (as opposed to novels that massively use unfamiliar colloquialisms) was shocking, so I was quite sensitive.

    For native speakers everything must depend on where they live and who they listen to.

    Finally the promiced promicing chapter by Denison (, preprint) is 2020. I will read it, and maybe look for other new works.

  36. I had a superior who was definitely in the “…right?” camp. But whenever they gave a presentation, people used to keep a running count, so it was definitely not seen as a normal speech pattern. Whereas I don’t think “so” would get a reaction.

    But … I seem to remember … I don’t want to bother looking it up … didn’t Socrates do something much along the same lines?

    I mentioned when “So” came up previously… In academic or business presentations of an informal type, where the presenter is not hidden behind a curtain, and the event takes place in a conference room or classroom-type environment; the presenter is already in the room as the audience drifts in. Usually someone makes an introduction, with a bit of banter. Then the presenter gets up, microphones are adjusted, the laptop with the slides is synced to the projector, there is a bit more banter. Finally then the preliminaries are over, and we are ready to get in to the presentation proper …


    I think it’s not too different from the old mead-hall days and “Hwaet!”, except probably the presentations were more interesting back then.

    That is not the only use of “so”, of course, but I think it is a prominent one in the academic/Silicon Valley/business environment where such presentations are common. To indicate the commencement of the formal part of the proceedings.

    As opposed to the more theatrical “TED-talk”-style presentations where the presenter pops out from behind a curtain.

    I can imagine in the old days “Those of us who are old enough to remember the great days of Raedwald, king of East Anglia, will remember the wonderful performances of AElfwine the bard in the old meadhall. And now we are lucky enough to enjoy a return visit from AElfwine, who will perform his renowned recitation Beowulf. Please join me in giving a warm welcome to the highly-esteemed AElfwine!”


    In the Heroic Ages, kings retained their followers by convincing them that they were living the true high life, so providing the best entertainment was probably on the agenda. However it doesn’t show in the archaeological record.

    “Join the retinue of King Uffa! Pigs’ knuckles, beer and classic sagas every night!”

  37. David Marjanović says

    I agree, and I think we had a thread about it not that long ago.

    Eight years ago, though I dimly remember at least one other more recently.

  38. Thanks, that’s the one I was thinking of. (Eight years was a lifetime once, and now it’s the blink of an eye…)

  39. looking at my own usage, i think i use an initial “so” more often now than a decade or two ago. for my usage, i think maidhc’s reading of heaney’s “so” as “hwaet” may be the closest: a mark of when the core story/argument/assertion is about to arrive, after whatever preamble or introduction has seemed necessary.

    which in some way rhymes with the somewhat archaic feeling “for” as “because” that i hear some of my somewhat younger (early 30s) friends use, usually in a phrase like “…for i am but one new yorker”. i’m inclined to think that this “for” has migrated into speech from the written internets, but that’s only a hunch.

  40. Discussion of for as a conjunction (and how, despite its synonymy with because and since, it behaves as a coordinating, not subordinating, conjunction) is here.

  41. o! thanks!

  42. J.W. Brewer says

    Quoth wikipedia (under Tag Question): “The tag right? is common in a number of dialects across the UK and US, as well as in Indian English. It is an example of an invariable tag which is preferred in American English over traditional tags.” American lawyers commonly use it when cross-examining hostile witnesses. “PROPOSITION, right?” typically means something like “You don’t have any credible grounds to offer for denying PROPOSITION, even though it’s unhelpful to your legal position, do you?” I am skeptical about claims that it is either a recent development or arose in some very specific occupational niche, although I can see the point that it’s potentially a difficult thing to do corpus research on unless you have a very well-tagged corpus.

  43. I am skeptical about claims that it is either a recent development

    The point is not that it is a recent development (if by that you mean “recently invented”) but that it’s surged in popularity, appearing everywhere. Just last night I was watching an interview on Book TV where the author stuck a “right?” into almost every sentence (and she was not a lawyer).

  44. But there’s no actual empirical/quantitative evidence offered for a “surge,” right? So there’s no well-grounded reason to believe the perceived surge is anything other than an instance of the recency illusion, right? And once you’ve focused on it as a noteworthy phenomenon you’ll start noticing it everywhere, right?

  45. The fact that the recency illusion is a real thing does not mean that nothing ever happens.

  46. I suppose it’s possible (although almost anything’s possible in the absence of quantified empirical research) that there has been a recent increase in overlap between frequent users of of sentence-initial so and frequent users of question-tag right, such that they are now perceived as forming a pattern of Bad Speech that can be stigmatized and peeved at. I myself have no idea how I would caricature or stereotype how Mark Zuckerberg speaks because I have generally not sought out opportunities to hear him speak and generally avoid the other genres (TED talks, podcasts, NPR programming) that seem to be driving some of these peeves.

  47. Ecclesiastes says

    Nihil sub sole novum, nec valet quisquam dicere: ecce hoc recens est; iam enim praecessit in saeculis quae fuerunt ante nos.

  48. that there has been a recent increase in overlap between frequent users of of sentence-initial so and frequent users of question-tag right, such that they are now perceived as forming a pattern of Bad Speech that can be stigmatized and peeved at.

    None of which has anything to do with my post; I didn’t say there was an overlap or that they were Bad Speech. But they both happen much more frequently than they used to.

  49. As jack morava already remarked above, nicht wahr?

  50. (As it happens, in the previous interview on Book TV the author began almost every response with “So…” but didn’t use “right?”)

  51. So it ought to be fair game to comment on the article hat posted without being taken as saying that hat himself had presumptively endorsed every jot and tittle of the article’s take, right?

    As to “both happen much more frequently,” [citation needed], as the kids say. FWIW, my own (flawed and unreliable) impression is that sentence-initial “so” is notably more common than it was a few decades ago, but I have not formed a comparable (same qualifiers) impression about question-tag right. I have recently started to frequently hear discourses from a specific individual who is a quite heavy user of question-tag right, and definitely found his level of usage noteworthy (and subjectively a bit irksome although maybe I will get accustomed to it), but don’t know what his own baseline usage level was a decade or two ago when we had not yet crossed paths, which is one reason am not treating that as a datapoint to construct any larger claims around. I guess if anyone actually had good data over time, it would be interesting to know to what extent a rise in use of question-tag right was substituting for other question tags versus driving an increase in the overall rate of usage of all question tags in the aggregate.

    One point in the article I found plausible was about people being irked by question-tags being used not to genuinely ask questions but as a way of making the speaker’s points more emphatic by asserting rather than inviting audience agreement, sort of “and you will surely agree that no reasonable person could dispute what I just said, right?” But I suspect that rhetorical strategy goes back in various forms to the Sophists in the agora of Athens, if not earlier, even if its specific syntactic manifestation may change over time. Socrates himself took the more labor-intensive approach of having a shill planted in the audience ready to chime in with “None but a blind man could dispute that” and things of that nature, rather than having to carry the credibility-bolstering part of the discourse on his own.

  52. Labov (Principles of Linguistic Change. Volume 1: Internal Factors, p. 405) gives an elaborate baseball-themed text (“The Coach Test”) in which was embedded a possible Philadelphia phonemic contrast. It includes the following: “…So that’s what he does. So our pitcher gets hot, right. And none of them hit the ball out of the infield. And we were really ahead. But Coach wasn’t happy.” I’m not sure what intonation that right is supposed to carry here.

  53. I would intone the “right” in the Labov example with something in the range of my usual question-tag intonation, but that turns out to have some variation depending on whether I’m placing greater or lesser emphasis on the point. Greater emphasis correlates with a longer-than-usual pause before the beginning of the following sentence (as if letting the point sink in, or something). I will say that from a Philadelphia-area-phonemics perspective, it turns out that sentence-initial so tends (at least in my idiolect) to be unstressed, which (at least in my idiolect) makes my pronunciation of the vowel much less regional (i.e. fronted) than if it were stressed. If I respond to a question or challenge with “So?” as a one-word rebuttal, the regional-accent character of the vowel is much stronger.

  54. Just to be clear, the merger in question is not of the vowel in right.

  55. David Marjanović says

    Nihil sub sole novum, nec valet quisquam dicere: ecce hoc recens est; iam enim praecessit in saeculis quae fuerunt ante nos.

    Yeah, right.

  56. Never argue with Ecclesiastes, fili mi.

  57. Stu Clayton says

    How many blogs can boast of bible stars dropping by to post ?

  58. David Eddyshaw says

    I just wish he could be a bit more positive in his attitude.

  59. Well, he does say “Dulce lumen, et delectabile est oculis videre solem.”

  60. David Eddyshaw says

    Yeah, but then he just goes on to say. “Si annis multis vixerit homo, et in his omnibus lætatus fuerit, meminisse debet tenebrosi temporis, et dierum multorum, qui cum venerint, vanitatis arguentur præterita.” I mean, that’s a bit of a downer, you have to admit.

    (Though it is a passage of great beauty, golden bowls and all.)

  61. I was trying to spare you that bit.

  62. David Eddyshaw says

    Vanitas vanitatum in the Kusaal version becomes Li ka’ gbinnɛ “It has no bottom.” I felt that people would want to know that.

    I once attended a series of sermons on Ecclesiastes. I was impressed that the preacher tried.

  63. Giacomo Ponzetto says

    I once attended a series of sermons on Ecclesiastes. I was impressed that the preacher tried.

    I gather the Lectionary is not as brave, and appears to feature Ecclesiastes one Sunday every six years — coming up next on July 31, 2022.

  64. Giacomo, shouldn’t it be one Sunday every 3 years? The Sunday Lectionary is on a 3-year cycle. (I’m referring to the modern Roman Catholic lectiomary for Sundays. The old lectionary is on a 1-year cycle and the modern weekday lectionary is on a 2-year cycle.)

  65. David Marjanović says

    Smallpox is gone. That’s new.

    Polio is probably about to come back, though.

    Obligatory link to Ecclesiastes 1 in its native Lolcat:

    8 All tingz has DO NOT WANT, more den werdz sez. Lolrus never sez “enuf bucket, kthnx” or kitteh sez “dats good, enuff cheezburger.” 9 Has happen? Gunna be agin. Nuthing new undur teh sunz. 10 Kitteh can not sez “OMFGZ sumthing new!” is jus REPOST!.

  66. Giacomo Ponzetto says

    @Pancho: As you can see I’m no expert, but I’ve checked more carefully and I agree you’re right. The Catholic Lectionary reads Ecclesiastes once every three years (XVIII Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C).

    However, online it’s far easier to find and search the Revised Common Lectionary, which is close to the same thing but has two versions for that Sunday: same Gospel, but Track 1 with Hosias and Track 2 with Ecclesiastes.

    I had supposed they were the versions for even and odd years, as for weekdays, but I got that wrong. Churches using the RCL can pick tracks, so the braver ones are on Track 2 and read Ecclesiastes one Sunday every three years; while others can switch to Track 1 and simply skip him.

  67. Lars Mathiesen says

    The authorized altar book here has Eccl. 8, 9-15 in all years, and in even years also 3, 1-11. I’ve sung 1-8 at choir.

  68. David Eddyshaw says

    That accounts for Kierkegaard and Scandi Noir.

  69. As you can see I’m no expert, but I’ve checked more carefully and I agree you’re right. The Catholic Lectionary reads Ecclesiastes once every three years (XVIII Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C)..

    @Giacomo, I’m no expert either. It just happens to be a subject I’m interested in. BTW, when I’m looking up something related to the Catholic lectionary, I often use this site: , in case you find it useful.

    For reference, here are the readings for that Sunday in English:Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

    Here they are (with a few prayers and antiphons) in Italian: XVIII DOMENICA DEL TEMPO ORDINARIO – ANNO C

  70. @Pancho: As you can see I’m no expert, but I’ve checked more carefully and I agree you’re right. The Catholic Lectionary reads Ecclesiastes once every three years (XVIII Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C).

    @Giacomo Ponzetto, I’m no expert either. It just happens to be something I’m interested in. I often use this site: , in case you find it useful. For what it’s worth here are the readings for that Sunday in English and Italian:

    Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time


  71. Lars Mathiesen says

    Hmm, it’s complicated to map Sundays in Ordinary Time to the Danish church calendar — the latter has two periods called “After Holy Three Kings” and “After Trinity,” each with a varying number of Sundays until Lent and Advent, respectively. The reading from Eccl. 8 is on either the fifth Sunday after HTK or the 26th after Trinity, because you never have both in the same year. Maybe there even are years where you have neither, my sources lack precision in this matter.

  72. I’m no expert either. It just happens to be something I’m interested in.

    And so say we all.

  73. Giacomo Ponzetto says

    @Pancho: if you’re interested enough in the Italian version, all the official liturgical books are available for download as PDF books from: They’re more cumbersome to search than web versions, but nicer to read.

    While we’re counting Ecclesiastes, he also shows up in the weekday readings for the 25th Week in Ordinary Time, even years: Thursday 1, 2-11; Friday 3, 1-11; Saturday 11, 9 – 12, 8. If he’s anywhere else, he eludes my searching skills.

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