All entries for Wednesday 21 December 2011
December 21, 2011
Writing about web page http://www.economist.com/node/21541767
The Christmas issue of The Economist has a piece on euphemisms. Euphemisms are things you say that soften your true meaning. Now, I think of myself as someone that normally favours plain speaking. Interpreted consistently, that suggests I would avoid euphemisms. Not so. I am British, after all, and the British invented insincerity.
Here are my three most frequent ways around the truth. If you are a student and you've had a letter from me, you've almost certainly met at least one of these before.
Thank you for your request.
This really means: "You're wasting my time." Here's another:
I should be glad if you would" (do something).
This really means: "Do it. Now!" (As does "It would be most helpful if you could".) And one more:
I realize you will be disappointed by this outcome.
This really means: "I'm impressed you made the effort to write your idiotic suggestion down in words."
To conclude, let me offer all my readers:
Very best wishes for Christmas and the New Year.
Which really means: "I want food and drink in front of the telly. Leave me alone!"