You Know What?

You Know What?

I hesitate to do this; that is, to bring to the light of day, a two-word phrase that seems to have suffered from a case of disuse. As a matter of interest there is a three-word phrase that is closely related to the first.

Let’s have a look. The two-word phrase is “You know”. A close relative is “you know what?” The latter can serve a purpose and with a question mark at the end it suggests there should be a reply. The only response would have to be “what?” or perhaps “No, what?
The dialogue might go like this:
“You know what?”
“What?” or “No, what?”
The phrase serves as an introduction to some forthcoming information. This could be an astounding revelation or a useless fact.
Sample dialogue:
“You know what?”
“What?” or “No, what?”
“I just heard on the news on TV that an asteroid is heading for the earth and will hit us for sure!”
Or this:
“You know what?”
“What.” Or “No, what.”
“I just found my pen.”
In each case, the phrase serves a purpose.
It alerts the listener to prepare for information of some kind.
On the other hand, the phrase “You know” does not necessarily expect the listener to do anything, but it may serve as a warning depending on how it is said.
Consider the following:
“You know, (pause)… I’ve been thinking….” The other person in the room isn’t expected to say anything. It’s optional.
“Oh yeah, yawn.”
“I’d like a divorce.”
Or this one:
“You know, I’m beginning to think I have something missing upstairs.”
“In our bedroom?”
“No, in my head, silly.”
“You know, I’ve been wondering about that myself.”

As you can see, the two-word phrase is more understated. It may, as in the cases above catch the unfortunate receiver by surprise.

Finally, “you know” is nothing more than a useless filler.
See below:
“I was going upstairs, you know, because I had to get my notebook, you know, and then the phone rang in the kitchen, you know, and then I had to hurry back downstairs, you know, ….”
If you think this phrase has lost its appeal, replace with “like”.

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