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What is the difference between "As I was saying" and "As I said"?

They sound so similar that I can't distinguish them.

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They're both 'grammatical' (though pragmatic markers rather than matrix sentences) and both in use.

The pragmatics is rather complex:

'As I said' sounds rather confrontational in conversation, on the way to dismissive.

'As I was saying' can be used as a 'putting-back-on-track' marker (a type of topic orientation marker), or, like 'as I said', as a recognition-claiming marker. It's more hedged than 'as I said', but has been used so often in a reprimanding way that there's now little difference.

I doubt I can find supporting references for this, so I apologise; I'm submitting it as an 'answer' in an attempt to keep to one particular ELU guideline at the expense of another .

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