I’m making a journalistic commitment today. A strong one.
From this point forward, I will never write “You see …” again. Ever.
You see is bullshit. It’s crap. It’s lazy. It’s something I’ve probably used, oh, 500 times over the course of my career, but it’s a gimmick; a transitional phrase that’s supposed to be conversationalâ€”and isn’t. In the real world, nobody actually uses “You see …” in the course of a conversation. Think about itâ€”when’s the last time someone you know has actually said, “You see, the thing about pink sheep is …” Never. Really, “You see …” is a theatrical contraption. Jason Seaver will be talking to Mike Seaver about, say, cocaine, and he’ll utter, “You see, Mike, the thing about snorting lines is …” Somebody wrote the dialogue for Growing Pains, desperately trying to contrive a conversation. Yet that conversation would never actually take place, because instead of saying, “You see …” Mike Seaver would simply say, “The thing about snorting lines is …”
But we writers are lazy. And desperate for flow. So, when the cup runneth dry, we often go for the lazy fix. Hence, if you go back over my work through the years, you’ll find a ton of “You see” and “Alas” and “Hence” and “Enter: (FILL IN NAME). I probably can’t fully rid myself of alases and hences, because they’re words I truly enjoy. But “You see” is dead to me.