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I read that "I digress" is used when you realise that you were digressing. "Sorry, I was digressing" or "Sorry, I digressed" seem more grammatically appropriate to me. Is "I digress" an idiomatic expression"?

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Yes, idiomatic, but rather "stilted" and perhaps old-fashioned.

Sure, "I was digressing" might be more "logical", but that is not how it is usually used as a discourse marker in a speech.

"I digress" should probably be used rarely. If you are giving an after-dinner speech, it may be useful. It's not likely to be useful in general conversation or in writing.

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