+0
People often say "so help me God" in TV shows, sometimes it's at the end of an oath. Other times, they use it in a different manner, at lease that's how I felt.

I uploaded a video clip here: http://akdomecho.wordpress.com/2009/05/23/test-1 /

Please watch this 58 sec clip, the phrase is at the end of the clip (00:53), and tell me what does it mean? I know it must comes natural to you guys, but I want get to the bottom of this: Why do people often say it? What's the origin of this phrase?

Here is the transcript:

TRACY: This is better than a family. No one around here asks me for my damn bone marrow.

JACK: Why don’t we make this easy on ourselves and renew your existing contract with a 3% increase?

TRACY: sorry it took me so long to answer. I was just thinking about how weird it is that we eat birds.

JACK: All right, we have a deal. You see how easy negotiating can be when it’s not really about money.

TRACY: how’s this really not about money?

JACK: Obviously you don’t need to work.

TRACY: What’s that now, Charles?

JACK: I’m just saying you made $300 million last year, so there’s no financial need for you to continue with the show, but…

TRACY: I never thought of it like that. Thank you. I quit. Goodbye.

JACK: Had he really not put that together?

DotCOM: Tracy’s is a tactile kinesthetic learning style.

JACK: Dotcom, So help me god…
Comments  
The phrase 'so help me God' has its origins in English law. A witness today can affirm or swear an oath on the Bible. In a more religious age, people believed that God would punish somebody who swore a false oath. Also, a person could not be charged with perjury unless they had sworn the legally binding oath.

The 'so help me' part may come from the ancient legal practice of 'oath-helping'. The idea was that a person charged with a crime would find people, generally twelve knights, to swear that he was telling the truth. I would suppose that the oath would be something like: "... and that is the truth I do swear, so help me good Sirs.", after which the knights would swear on their knightly virtue that this was indeed the truth. It is reasonable to assume that when the Bible oath was introduced the 'so help me Sirs' would become 'so help me God'. The 'so' means 'accordingly', as in: "I have carried out the trash, so pay me." - "I am telling the truth, so help me to be believed."
Thank you for your great response. But in the context of the video clip, I think it means something else, does it? Because, I don't see anything "oath" related in the video.
Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.
My best guess is that 'dotcom' refers to the setting up of a web site, a 'dot com' site, and that the character is saying, 'between the lines':
"That's a great idea for a web site, and that's the truth."

So you see, 'so help me God' is a way of emphasising the idea of fact or truth in any statement.
I watched the clip and the use of "so help me God" doesn't really make any sense other than as a humorous comment, a kind of mild threat directed at DotCOM. Is there some additional context, perhaps an earlier exchange between Tracy, Jack, and DotCOM that is omitted from the clip you posted?
I agree - it's the start of a mild threat, probably directed at Dot Com but perhaps just to the world at large.

So help me God...iif you say another word I am going to wring your neck!


or, ...I'm going to go insane if I have to keep working here!


Jack's lifted forefinger makes me think it's a threat for Dot Com, though.

Threats don't really have to be specified. Think of a harried mother of young children,

Gary, so help me God, if you bounce that ball against the wall one more time...!

Gary's mother does not have to spell out exactly what she is promising to do to Gary, but if he has good sense, he will stop bouncing the ball against the wall.

In both instances, the "oath" part is incomplete. Jack, and Gary's mother, are swearing that the unspecified action will take place. "So help me God" is the start of the oath.

(Patrick, Dot Com is just the name of a character on the show "30 Rock," which this clip is taken from. Emotion: smile)
Students: Are you brave enough to let our tutors analyse your pronunciation?
DelmobileI agree - it's the start of a mild threat, probably directed at Dot Com but perhaps just to the world at large.

So help me God...iif you say another word I am going to wring your neck!


(Patrick, Dot Com is just the name of a character on the show "30 Rock," which this clip is taken from. )

Yes, 'so help me' can be used as a threat. You may find it in older books as the quoted speech of 'toughs', in a form such as: "I'll do you, swelp me."

I didn't realise it was the character's name. I need to watch a whole lot more American television. Thanks! [Y]