1. Jon


    In emails to co-workers in the day-job, I’ll often use the “as you know” to establish that we’ve talked about things previously, so they can’t say “oh, that’s news to me!”

    Context-setting/establishing common ground

    Similarly, sometimes it doesn’t hurt to establish the things you both know before moving on to new ideas.


    I’ll state things as I believe them to be, giving the other person a chance to correct me.

    Subtle Reminder

    When I suspect the other person might not have everything I need them to have in their head b/c of busy schedules and different priorities between us, I’ll use this as a prod.

    Worrying over details

    When I need people to get things *exactly* right, I’ll run through things in minute detail

    Any of these map nicely to fiction, given the appropriate setup and participants.

    • L.B. Gale

      This adds a lot to the article–thanks! I think ‘butt-covering’ probably works best; it’s something I do every single day, and I can see a lot of characters feeling the need for the same.

  2. Lauren Ipsum

    Arthur Conan Doyle used to do this in the Sherlock Holmes stories by having the Client of the Week do an exposition dump “to inform my friend Dr. Watson, here, of all the details of your case.” Once in a while Holmes would do it “just to assure myself that I have all the details in their correct order.”

  3. I just read a fairly effective example of “as you know” dialogue last night, in Megan Whalen Turner’s The King of Attolia. The viewpoint character, Costis, is having a low-self-esteem moment, and his best friend Aris retells some of Costis’s accomplishments as a way of saying, “Hey, you may not think these things you’ve done are any kind of big deal, but everybody else does, so quit acting like you don’t deserve people’s respect and friendship.”

    • L.B. Gale

      Great example. I hadn’t thought of a self-esteem boost as another possible opportunity. You could also use the opposite (a blow to the self-esteem) for similar effect, “You’re supposed to have accomplished this by now, but instead you’ve done x, y and z.”

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