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There is a common (maybe even hackneyed) rhetorical device of interjecting the word fact before or after spoken statements to emphasize that the statement is true.

Here's an example from a TED Talk by Jamie Oliver:

Any doctor, any specialist will tell you that. Fact! Diet related disease is the biggest killer in the United States right now.

And here is an example poking fun at the device.

Often, this device is employed repeatedly, as in the following made-up example:

Fact. 99% of all Grumbles live in swamps. Fact. If Grumbles don't drastically change their mating rituals by 2017, neighboring Floobies will be sick. Fact. Floobies hate being sick.

Oxford Dictionary does not recognize the use of "fact" as an interjection. Wikitionary, however, does:

fact

Interjection

Used before making a statement to introduce it as a trustworthy one.

My questions are:

What is the history of this device? Was there a single speaker who first used and popularized it, or did it develop organically?

I tend to think that there had to have been somebody who popularized it, since it does not seem like the kind of thing that would have developed organically. But the question seems hard to research.

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    Here's the first place I ran into it: youtu.be/dVlaZfLlWQc?t=66 Of course this can't be the origin, but pretty funny nonetheless. – Jim Jul 26 '16 at 1:38
  • Nice find! I added the link into the body of my question. – GoldenGremlin Jul 26 '16 at 1:45
  • Its usage might derive from the following misunderstanding and subsequent usage of fact: Since the word fact means "a real occurrence, something demonstrated to exist or known to have existed," the phrases true facts and real facts, as in The true facts of the case may never be known, would seem to be redundant. But fact has a long history of use in the sense of "an allegation of fact" or "something that is believed to be true," as in this remark by union leader Albert Shanker: "This tract was distributed to thousands of American teachers, but the facts and the reasoning are wrong."... – user66974 Jul 26 '16 at 8:39
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    ... This usage has led to the notion of "incorrect facts," which causes qualms among critics who insist that facts must be true. The usages, however, are often helpful in making distinctions or adding emphasis. (AHD) – user66974 Jul 26 '16 at 8:40
  • I don't think etymology is a correct tag. The question is not about the origin of the word fact. It may be about the origin of the word as an interjection, but that begs the question of how it's being used. – Wino Rhino Aug 3 '16 at 18:46
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You asked,

What is the history of this device?

Was there a single speaker who first used and popularized it, or did it develop organically?

Fact may sound like an interjection in spoken English due to the speaker's emphasis, but really, it's connected to what follows. So I disagree that using "fact" as an interjection is a device with a history.

I would say that this is a rhetorical device that is not limited to English. I submit that the rhetorical device here is called the colon, meaning, a rhetorical figure consisting of a clause which is grammatically, but not logically, complete.

The propositions that follow the word fact are grammatically complete, but it is that introducing qualifier, fact that (the speaker supposes) establishes those propositions as fact.

Technically, the colon here is the proposition, or clause, that follows the word fact.

To introduce propositions with the word fact, I recommend inserting a colon after the word, instead of a period (full stop) or exclamation point. The reason is that each proposition is being introduced as a fact, and it is important to connect the introducing word fact to the proposition that follows.

To illustrate, I would change the period (full stop) after "fact"...

Fact. 99% of all Grumbles live in swamps. Fact. If Grumbles don't drastically change their mating rituals by 2017, neighboring Floobies will be sick. Fact. Floobies hate being sick.

...to a colon after "fact:"

Fact: 99% of all Grumbles live in swamps. Fact: If Grumbles don't drastically change their mating rituals by 2017, neighboring Floobies will be sick. Fact: Floobies hate being sick.

Here fact not only introduces the proposition that follows, but connects to, and qualifies that proposition. I submit that fact is not being used as a mere interjection, and not merely as a point of emphasis, but as a qualifier.

Similar examples of this usage might be:

Destination: Mars

Dinner: chips and juice.

Example: The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.

Proposed: That all Grumbles are bloogy.

Thesis: People should stop eating meat.

Antithesis: People should continue eating meat.

Synthesis: People should eat meat if they choose, but it should be a small part of their diet....
(above 3 examples of thesis, antithesis and synthesis from http://research.cs.queensu.ca/home/cisc497/resources/ThesisAntithesisSynthesisFramework.pdf )

PS: I miss you terribly!

Generalization: There are two kinds of person


[Writers] should always use a colon to emphasize a connection between two independent clauses, particularly when the second clause explains or gives more information about the first. This is exhibited in the following example:

Love is blind: sometimes it keeps us from seeing the truth.

Many of the students worked in the evenings: six of them were waitresses.

Sometimes it can be difficult to determine whether the two clauses are merely related, warranting a semicolon, or represent a sequence of thought, warranting a colon. Adding a full stop and separating the clauses into two independent sentences serves as a third option. In these cases, as with many of the gray areas of grammar, there may not be one "right" answer.

From https://www.scribendi.com/advice/semi_colon_and_colon.en.html

Additional examples below:

If the introductory phrase preceding the colon is very brief and the clause following the colon represents the real business of the sentence, begin the clause after the colon with a capital letter:

Remember: Many of the prominent families of this New England state were slaveholders prior to 1850.

If the function of the introductory clause is simply to introduce, and the function of the second clause (following the colon) is to express a rule, begin that second clause with a capital:

Let us not forget this point: Appositive phrases have an entirely different function than participial phrases and must not be regarded as dangling modifiers.

From http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/marks/colon.htm

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