Who are “they”? They say this, and they say that.
I guess it’s simply a way of communicating accumulated snippets of enlightenment, perhaps gleaned from the odd piece of information captured from radio, TV or written media, hearsay: even urban myth: without accreditation.
“They say” for example, that one of the most stressful times in anyone’s life is moving home, a process through which I’m currently travelling.
If I had a penny for every occasion friends or work colleagues have trundled out this particular “they say” I’d have enough money to tip the removal van driver.
Personally I can think of more stressful things.
On the other hand, for some it can be related to other stresses that have forced a move; usually associated with a reduction in personal financial circumstances, the loss of a job, for example, or a major debt crisis: in some cases a situation that can leave entire families homeless.
Dare I suggest that that’s the root cause of the stress?
Trying to find the origins of what “they say” is frankly not worth the energy.
After all, if in the 19th century “they said” that the moon was made of cheese or that Martians lived in great cities below the surface, one might be tempted to believe anything, especially if it couldn’t be proved.
Such incredible things that “they say” can be exciting when left to the imagination. Often the unknown can be more stimulating than facts discovered in the cold light of day.
Mind you, they’ve still to find evidence that Martians don’t exist, after all, “they say” it’s still possible.
Some “they says” have their foundation in folklore or superstition.
“They say” you should never put new shoes on the table: it’s bad luck. Virtually nothing in that sentence can be proved, but who would dare to contradict?
One simple warning: gossips love what “they say”.