But Do You Really Know?

I know, right?

It’s one of my favorite new slang phrases. Surely you’ve heard it uttered by one of the youngish people in your life in response to, well, anything you say with which they might agree. “It’s a gorgeous day!” … “I know, right?” Or, “You should do your homework.” … “I know, right?” Or, “What a great class today.” … “I know, right?”

Honestly, the phrase is everywhere because it works perfectly (as you’ll soon hear, if you haven’t tuned into it already) after any statement, exclamation, proclamation or assertion. “I love The Scroll.” … “I know, right?” And of course, “St. Thomas is the best.” … “I know, right?”

I’m often wary of slang in certain contexts or of a certain variety (okay, usually I don’t like slang I can’t pronounce, don’t understand or am too embarrassed to try), but I’m rather fond of this latest conversational concoction.

While an early critique of tag-questions in speech suggested the speaker might be perceived as weaker or unsure (e.g., “I think we should do it this way, okay?”), this latest iteration of a well-positioned tag-question seems somehow more interpersonally impressive and efficacious. Maybe it’s because I’m seeing it as akin to an interpersonal expression of empathy or other-centeredness. Instead of just stating what you believe, you now have a chance to agree and give the other person one more chance to do so, too. It’s almost like a verbal applause + an encore, packaged neatly in one easy, off-the-tongue phrase.

And when it comes to competent interpersonal communication, the world could use a little more other-centeredness. I know, right?