No, Mr. President, I don’t “know what”—that’s what I expect you to tell me. Furthermore, it’s not a very “presidential” or top executive style of speaking, no matter how hard you are trying to reach the common person out there. It’s a casualness more suited for talking with guys on the golf course.
Nonetheless, “Hey, ya know what …” and the shorter version, “Ya know …” are useless junk phrases that have crept into the American vernacular, on TV, on radio, and in everyday conversation. I catch myself using them.
Heck, even Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has started saying, “Hey, ya know what …,” and, it sounds out of character for a person of her stature.
While watching PBS “Newshour” one evening, I counted the number of times its correspondents or interviewees began a statement with, “Ya know.” I stopped counting at 100, and the hour-long program was not over. The phrase became tedious to hear.
Perhaps it is a conscious effort by some to sound more conversational, perhaps more “cool,” or just a bad habit, as in my case.