[D]on't ever say "like I said" (or "as I said"), or "as I have written before", or "I have commented on this numerous times, but...". If you made an impression the first time, you'll only diminish the impression when you keep hammering on it. And most of us haven't read everything you've written.Ahem! I responded:
Lots of online writers make these mistakes.
The phrase "Like I said" wasn't written, so you need to adapt your advice for speakers.Commenter Ellison repositioned:
To me — and this is the reason I repeated it — Earnest had a tell. He was answering a NEW question, so beginning the answer with "Like I said" was a way to say: You're just asking the same question, so I'm going to give you the same answer. It wasn't the same question, and even his first answer was evasive. "Like I said" was, to my ear, a red flag that he had talking points, he intended to deliver them, and the questions would not be taken seriously.
"You need to adapt your advice for speakers."I think he meant to say Shouldn't speaking be as smooth as writing?, but, in any case, consider this passage from Janet Malcolm's great book "The Journalist and the Murderer":
Good point, and it picks at another sore spot: why do people speak differently than they write? I do... I curse more orally than on the keyboard, and I say "um" and "well" a lot more, but these are just faults. I don't deliberately talk differently, I think, unless I'm talking to someone I really dislike.
I say "it is I" and "had it been she." Those get weird looks.
Shouldn't writing be as smooth as speaking, mostly? Not everyone can do it. I can't.
When we talk with somebody, we are not aware of the strangeness of the language we are speaking. Our ear takes it in as English, and only if we see it transcribed verbatim do we realize that it is a kind of foreign tongue. What the tape recorder has revealed about human speech — that Molière’s M. Jourdain was mistaken: we do not, after all, speak in prose — is something like what the nineteenth-century photographer Eadweard Muybridge’s motion studies revealed about animal locomotion. Muybridge’s fast camera caught and froze positions never before seen, and demonstrated that artists throughout art history had been “wrong” in their renderings of horses (among other animals) in motion. Contemporary artists, at first upset by Muybridge’s discoveries, soon regained their equanimity, and continued to render what the eye, rather than the camera, sees. Similarly, novelists of our tape-recorder era have continued to write dialogue in English rather than in tape-recorderese, and most journalists who work with a tape recorder use the transcript of an extended interview merely as an aid to memory—as a sort of second chance at note-taking—rather than as a text for quotation. The transcript is not a finished version, but a kind of rough draft of expression. As everyone who has studied transcripts of tape-recorded speech knows, we all seem to be extremely reluctant to come right out and say what we mean—thus the bizarre syntax, the hesitations, the circumlocutions, the repetitions, the contradictions, the lacunae in almost every non-sentence we speak. The tape recorder has opened up a sort of underwater world of linguistic phenomena whose Cousteaus are as yet unknown to the general public.Now, I think some people do speak in unbroken, well-structured sentences that are free of grammatical errors that could be transcribed directly into excellent writing, but I don't think those stuck listening to them are very happy with it. We need the backtracking and disfluencies to feel comfortable.
Similarly, most good writers "hear" their words and think about them as if they were speech — it feels speech-like as you go along — but it's actually different from speech.
I'd tend to be suspicious of anyone who seemed to be trying too hard to speak like writing or to write like speaking. I'd wonder what's up? What's the motivation? A speaker who strains to sound like writing might have an inferiority complex or a pompous, arrogant nature. A writer who affects an overly speech-like style may be padding or talking down to us.