Additional Information

Friday, April 27, 2012

Why do we say...

"The truth is..."
"In my humble opinion..."

Why do we feel the need to preface our statements with such comments? Every time I hear myself say one of the examples above, I'm tempted to slap my forehead.  Would people be in doubt if I left those words out of my sentences?

"Honestly, I think not."
"The truth is, they probably wouldn't."

I'm not lying if I leave off the "honestly" and "the truth is."

What about this: "In my humble opinion, people shouldn't use such phrases."  By expressing my opinion, aren't I acknowledging it's my opinion and others might not agree? I believe I can do that with humility without using "humble."

"I literally just heard someone say this."  Again, would there be any doubt? When people say such things, do we wonder if they're speaking figuratively? I promise to take your word for it if you leave "literally" out of your sentence.  Same thing goes for "seriously."

Okay, I feel better.  There's my rant for the day.  If you have any examples to offer, feel free to share.  Even if none come to mind, I'd love to hear your comments.


  1. Those are really good points. I'm a bit of a language Nazi too. Sometimes. Can't stand it when someone ends a sentence with "today." As in "How can I help you today?" The day is implied I would think.

    Also, the over use of "literally." I read something about that recently but can't remember where. "My head literally exploded from the cuteness." Really? Exploded.

    Thank you for your post, I enjoyed it.

  2. I feel like "If I'm honest" type phrases have fallen under the category of vocal fillers. Instead of typing or saying, "uhmmm," "uhhhh," "errr" people use honestly as a mental pause, allowing them a moment to process the thought they are about to vocalize.

    At least, that's what all of us Communications nuts thinks. In my honest opinion, it may just be rubbish ;)

  3. @ Anthony ~ Good example with "today." I hadn't thought of that one!

    @ randi lee ~ vocal fillers. Makes sense.

    Thanks for the comments.

  4. Anyone who gets comfortable with language is bound to develop opinions about how it's used and misused. Most of us get irked by this sort of little infraction, even if we might be inclined to break rules in other cases. I admit that the misuse of "literally" drives me nuts, especially when it's done by those in the writing field. I read a book review once that claimed the book literally burned with passion. Be sure to buy oven mitts if you want to read that one.

    I'm a little less concerned with the "useless" preface. They can certainly be overdone, but sometimes they do serve an indirect purpose. "In my opinion", while obvious given the information that follows, may also mean "I'm not saying this to offend, only to offer another angle on the discussion". Other times, when used as a pause, they can help regulate the pace or rhythm of the writing.


Thanks for sharing your thoughts!