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Don't you think?

Posted by Smokey Stover on August 07, 2010 at 22:15

In Reply to: Don't you think? posted by Baceseras on August 07, 2010 at 14:21:

: : : I was wondering the origin of the idiom, "Don't you think?" I know that it SHOULD be in the context of, "what were you thinking?", but we usually use it to mean, "do you agree?". Any comments would be nice, and much appreciated.

: : I've always assumed it was just an abbreviation of the much older "Don't you think so?" (VSD)

: [It's easy to think of English colloquial usages, most in the form of questions, where some word meaning "the same" is unspoken yet understood. "We had good luck today, wouldn't you say (so)?" "I'm exhausted, aren't you (also)?" "Jerry and Terry are going, why don't we (go too)?" Et cetera. - Baceseras.]

Baceceras makes an excellent point. I would, first, like to add "Doncha know?" to the list of questions used to oil a conversation. My take is that these otherwise superfluous questions are not so much in search of validation, although that may be part of their intent, but mostly to keep the other person or persons in the conversation, to encourage them to be an interlocutor, not just a receding view. I think they are largely lubricants to a conversationin some cases a form of punctuation. ("I'm finished, now you talk.")