Lying phrases  NOV 23 2010

There are some phrases -- like "I hate to say it", "with all due respect", and "it's not about the money, but..." -- that sound honest but signify that the speaker is actually lying.

The point of a but-head is to preemptively deny a charge that has yet to be made, with a kind of "best offense is a good defense" strategy. This technique has a distinguished relative in classical rhetoric: the device of procatalepsis, in which the speaker brings up and immediately refutes the anticipated objections of his or her hearer. When someone says "I'm not trying to hurt your feelings, but..." they are maneuvering to keep you from saying "I don't believe you -- you're just trying to hurt my feelings."

See also the non-apology apology.

Read more posts on kottke.org about:
Erin McKean   language

kottke.org

Front page
About + contact
Site archives

Subscribe

Follow kottke.org on Twitter

Follow kottke.org on Tumblr

Like kottke.org on Facebook

Subscribe to the RSS feed

Advertisement

Ads by The Deck

Support kottke.org shop at Amazon

And more at Amazon.com

Looking for work?

More at We Work Remotely

Kottke @ Quarterly

Subscribe to Quarterly and get a real-life mailing from Jason every three months.

 

Enginehosting

Hosting provided EngineHosting