0945: "I'm Sorry"

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Re: 945: "I'm Sorry"

Postby dsawatzky » Wed Aug 31, 2011 7:07 pm UTC

Dudely wrote:Implying an apology is unwarranted is sometimes useful in cases where people have a mental complex around taking blame, such as when they have suffered abuse. My wife, for example, is pretty much incapable of apologizing out of sympathy and it's safe to say that she would ACTUALLY be apologizing because she thinks that she is responsible in some way. It's quite weird.


I agree that there are a lot of people who say "I'm Sorry" automatically because because they think they they might be responsible in some way. As soon as you tell them your mom's house burned down, they will be thinking about the last time they were there... did they light a candle? Put something too close to the stove? forget to turn off the gas to the BBQ? Better say a preemptive I'm sorry in case it's my fault!

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Re: 945: "I'm Sorry"

Postby Anonymously Famous » Wed Aug 31, 2011 7:25 pm UTC

Come to think of it, I know someone whose apartment burned down because the landlord's son left a lit candle in the storage space...

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Re: 945: "I'm Sorry"

Postby quantheory » Wed Aug 31, 2011 8:01 pm UTC

Thou was the singular you. But some lazy/ignorant people started using you as the singular. Other people were too lazy to correct the mistake. So we lost the meaning of you and had to create kludges to work around the loss of meaning: y'all, yous and the like.


What false nostalgia. Many of these older, seemingly more "elegant" features of language were themselves kludges once upon a time. Once we forget the origins of words, we take them for granted, whereas words like "y'all", the origins of which we remember and can locate in a familiar place/time/culture, seem mundane or even crude. If a few centuries were to pass and "ya" and "yal" became the two second person pronouns in English, it would inconvenience hardly anyone.

This is a serious problem with excessively strict grammatical prescriptivism, IMO. The "original" meanings of words were often generated by the same sort of "degeneration" of usage and pronunciation that prescriptivists are trying to stop today.

More on topic:

Not only am I the annoying person in this comic, I actually blame the other person for the action pre-emptively. Example:

Me: "My car wouldn't start so I had to call my brother to come pick me up, and I was stuck in the snow for an hour."
Normal Person: "I'm sorry."
Me Being An Ass: "Well, you should be. Think about that next time you're planning to break my car and cause it to snow."
Normal Person: "Wha...?"

I do this mainly because I'm pretty bad at accepting sympathy, rather than out of any desire to "correct" someone's language.

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Re: 945: "I'm Sorry"

Postby linuxcat » Wed Aug 31, 2011 8:02 pm UTC

My typical response to this has been:

"I am not accepting responsibility, merely expressing my displeasure."

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Re: 945: "I'm Sorry"

Postby unus vox » Wed Aug 31, 2011 8:36 pm UTC

Pikrass wrote:
unus vox wrote:As strange as "I'm sorry" sounds, there's nothing better.

What about a hug ?


But... that entails touching people.

*hisses and runs into a corner*
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Re: 945: "I'm Sorry"

Postby teelo » Wed Aug 31, 2011 8:41 pm UTC

Apeiron wrote:
Sir_Read-a-Lot wrote:Language is the TCP/IP of thought. It's too important to be left to the caprice of the ignorant and lazy.

Are you suggesting we are going to run out of thoughts and will have to upgrade to ThoughtProtocolv6?

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Re: 945: "I'm Sorry"

Postby eran_rathan » Wed Aug 31, 2011 8:58 pm UTC

hm.

I usually respond to something such a referenced in the comic with "Quelle triste!"

Which gets me funny looks, because there aren't a whole lot of French speakers in this portion of America.



I miss Canada.

dsawatzky wrote:I'm Canadian, and so I'm expected to say "I'm Sorry" for even looking at you funny, which is why I resist the urge, and instead look like a heartless bas-turd. At least that's what my wife tells me.


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Re: 945: "I'm Sorry"

Postby dannyped » Wed Aug 31, 2011 9:00 pm UTC

In residency, we were advised to give bad news with "I wish [that the current condition was not the case]" as an expression of sympathy, rather than "I'm sorry that ...", since people do interpret the latter as an admission of guilt and are more likely to sue for malpractice. Sad but true.
In real life, when you are the one recieving others' bad news rather than giving it, "I wish ..." sounds weird.

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Re: 945: "I'm Sorry"

Postby Pikrass » Wed Aug 31, 2011 9:24 pm UTC

unus vox wrote:
Pikrass wrote:
unus vox wrote:As strange as "I'm sorry" sounds, there's nothing better.

What about a hug ?


But... that entails touching people.

*hisses and runs into a corner*

Affection problem ?
Come. There, there... *hugging*
It's not your fault :o

eran_rathan wrote:I usually respond to something such a referenced in the comic with "Quelle triste!"

Which gets me funny looks, because there aren't a whole lot of French speakers in this portion of America.

You'd get funny looks in France too.

eran_rathan wrote:Canada: Consistently winning "Most Polite Country" since 1867.

I bet the final round is against Japan or some other Asian country.


Note : in French "désolé" has quite the same problem as "I'm sorry".
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Re: 945: "I'm Sorry"

Postby Paulmichael » Wed Aug 31, 2011 9:50 pm UTC

jpk wrote:
Tath wrote:Also, can you please link me to something educating me? the first result of both "myself != me" and "myself is not me" in google both do just create more confusion.


I can do better than that, I'll educate you myself. Grammatically speaking, the reflexive form cannot be substituted for the ordinary, non-reflexive form. For example, "He beat him up" does not mean the same thing as "he beat himself up". You used the reflexive "myself" in a context calling for the non-reflexive. "I like people like myself" would be a correct way to say that I am partial to people who resemble me in some fashion. (note, not "who resemble myself"). "Randall likes people like myself" would be an incorrect way of saying that Randall is partial to people like me.

But your specific sentence is much worse than this. There is no context (that I can think of) where "X like Y" can be filled in with a reflexive pronoun in the latter slot if "X which resemble Y" is meant. Therefore, I am forced to try to parse "People like myself annoy Randall" as a sentence, "People like myself" serving as the subject of another sentence "[subject} annoys Randall". This fails twice, of course, so the literate reader is left vaguely annoyed by a sentence that tries to be three different things, and fails at each of them.
Please be more careful in future.

Isn't "like" in this sentence simply used in place of "such as?" "People such as myself annoy Randall." Sure, it's wrong, but we all know what the speaker means.

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Re: 0945: "I'm Sorry"

Postby FilthyHarry » Wed Aug 31, 2011 9:53 pm UTC

What I do for meaningless "I'm Sorry" is forgive them. A simple sincere sounding "I forgive you" you'd be amazed at how much it annoys people to be forgiven for something they didn't do, yet nonetheless apologized for.

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Re: 0945: "I'm Sorry"

Postby rapturemachine » Wed Aug 31, 2011 10:29 pm UTC

Kiiiinda on topic: I never know how to respond to an "I'm sorry" when "It's okay" isn't appropriate. If someone does something that upsets me, but realizes it and says "I'm sorry", I can't in good conscience say "It's okay" because it isn't, but I don't want to say something like "I forgive you" because that just sounds too formal. So far, the only happy medium I've found is "Thanks for apologizing, I appreciate it."
Anyone else have this problem? :?

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Re: 945: "I'm Sorry"

Postby Pfhorrest » Thu Sep 01, 2011 1:25 am UTC

Apeiron wrote:This stems from confusion caused by conflation of sorry and apology. "I'm sorry" is an expression of sympathy. "I apologize" is to accept responsibility.


Technically (and I'm as much an etymological prescriptivist as you here), to be sorry is to be sad, as others have pointed out, and to apologize is to explain.

Hence "The Apology" of Socrates. He wasn't sorry at all, nor did he accept guilt for any wrongdoing, though he admitted the actions accused of him, and accepted the punishment to make a point despite holding himself innocent of any crime. He was just dragged before the court to explain himself, and apologize he did, without sorrow or guilt. They didn't like that -- they wanted a public show of sorrow and guilt, they wanted him to admit not only that he had done the things he was accused of but that they were wrong things to do and that he felt bad about that -- and so they put him to death.

See also Christian apologists. They're not sorry or guilty about their religion. They just set out to explain it.
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Re: 945: "I'm Sorry"

Postby jpk » Thu Sep 01, 2011 2:43 am UTC

Paulmichael wrote:
jpk wrote:
Tath wrote:Also, can you please link me to something educating me? the first result of both "myself != me" and "myself is not me" in google both do just create more confusion.


I can do better than that, I'll educate you myself. Grammatically speaking, the reflexive form cannot be substituted for the ordinary, non-reflexive form. For example, "He beat him up" does not mean the same thing as "he beat himself up". You used the reflexive "myself" in a context calling for the non-reflexive. "I like people like myself" would be a correct way to say that I am partial to people who resemble me in some fashion. (note, not "who resemble myself"). "Randall likes people like myself" would be an incorrect way of saying that Randall is partial to people like me.

But your specific sentence is much worse than this. There is no context (that I can think of) where "X like Y" can be filled in with a reflexive pronoun in the latter slot if "X which resemble Y" is meant. Therefore, I am forced to try to parse "People like myself annoy Randall" as a sentence, "People like myself" serving as the subject of another sentence "[subject} annoys Randall". This fails twice, of course, so the literate reader is left vaguely annoyed by a sentence that tries to be three different things, and fails at each of them.
Please be more careful in future.

Isn't "like" in this sentence simply used in place of "such as?" "People such as myself annoy Randall."


No. And "such as myself" is only used in a parody of hyper-correct English in any case. Your example sentence is an atrocity.

Sure, it's wrong, but we all know what the speaker means.


Yes, we can figure out what the speaker was trying to say, but if the speaker isn't ashamed of themselves* for failing to express themselves clearly, they should be ashamed of themselves for caring so little about the the people they talk to, and they should wonder how it is that they expect those listeners to care about what they might have to say, considering that the speaker doesn't care enough to express it clearly.

* the loss of the generic "he" and the absence of a true generic pronoun such as the German "man" forces this sort of contortion, for which I apologize

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Re: 0945: "I'm Sorry"

Postby nitePhyyre » Thu Sep 01, 2011 3:28 am UTC

@jpk: You'es English aint all as good as y'all thinks it are.
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Re: 0945: "I'm Sorry"

Postby deathpangsofsorrow » Thu Sep 01, 2011 5:20 am UTC

Apeiron wrote:

It's a matter of ignorance to think there is. This is what we get when we encourage the idea that words mean whatever anyone thinks they mean. This is why people say decimate when they mean annihilate or obliterate.


I agree with everything you said in this post, except a particular point here. As I understand it, the common use of the word "decimate" does not refer to the strict definition (reduce by one-tenth), but the general context of the word as it was first used (punishing a conquered enemy by killing one-tenth of their men, presumably a pretty severe punishment). I don't necessarily advocate using the word, because I think you could probably find more specific/relevant terms, but if the desired meaning is "an intense, severe, perhaps surprising or unwarranted destruction" ("The storm decimated the crops", etc.), I personally find it acceptable. (Also, "annihilate" has similar problems, as the storm probably didn't really reduce the crops to absolutely nothing. I'm sure an errant leaf escaped the destruction.)

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Re: 0945: "I'm Sorry"

Postby Vash » Thu Sep 01, 2011 5:34 am UTC

This is something I can get behind.

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Re: 0945: "I'm Sorry"

Postby Andromeda321 » Thu Sep 01, 2011 8:39 am UTC

I suppose I'm guilty of saying "I'm sorry" in such situations often, but why do people get so upset about it? It's clearly an abbreviation for "I'm sorry to hear it" which means "I'm sad to hear it," and it's not like what this means is a mystery.

Language evolves, you know.

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Re: 945: "I'm Sorry"

Postby Cecilff2 » Thu Sep 01, 2011 1:41 pm UTC

webgrunt wrote:Incorrect response:

Person 1: "My mom's house burned down."
Person 2: "I'm sorry."

Correct response:

Person 1: "My mom's house burned down."
Person 2: "What a shame."



There we go. Said with the bare minimum of emotion of course.

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Re: 0945: "I'm Sorry"

Postby dp2 » Thu Sep 01, 2011 3:07 pm UTC

I'm with Randall on this whole thing. If someone is going to be a pedant (and an incorrect one at that) when you're clearly expressing sympathy, they deserve to have their balls busted.

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Re: 945: "I'm Sorry"

Postby samwyse » Thu Sep 01, 2011 3:34 pm UTC

mric wrote:I have never heard anyone misinterpret "I'm sorry" in the way the girl does in the strip.


I'd like you to meet my wife. She does that to me *all* the time. I can't wait to spring Randall's reply on her.

All you unmarried, female forum members, I may suddenly become available sometime in the next few days. :)

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Re: 0945: "I'm Sorry"

Postby scratch123 » Thu Sep 01, 2011 5:03 pm UTC

lol at people arguing about this

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Re: 945: "I'm Sorry"

Postby webgrunt » Thu Sep 01, 2011 5:51 pm UTC

Cecilff2 wrote:
webgrunt wrote:Incorrect response:

Person 1: "My mom's house burned down."
Person 2: "I'm sorry."

Correct response:

Person 1: "My mom's house burned down."
(Cecilff2's corrected response) Person 2: "What a shame."



There we go. Said with the bare minimum of emotion of course.


Agreed. Your response is better. I would also have accepted "Oh my gosh, that's terrible! Is she OK?"

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Re: 945: "I'm Sorry"

Postby cream wobbly » Thu Sep 01, 2011 6:09 pm UTC

etsisk wrote:which is why I've been forced (by at least a minimal desire to "get along"...) to say, "I'm sorry to hear that"... which is just dumb, me having to do that. Sheesh.

My new hobby: asking people who use the word "forced" to mean "obliged" if they managed to get a restraining order.

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Re: 0945: "I'm Sorry"

Postby Himself » Thu Sep 01, 2011 6:16 pm UTC

"My mom's house burned down."
"I'm sorry"
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Re: 945: "I'm Sorry"

Postby cream wobbly » Thu Sep 01, 2011 6:28 pm UTC

Apeiron wrote:but if you aren't a teacher, do you DARE correct my grammar!

Don't. You mean "don't you DARE correct my grammar!"

HTH.

btw, I almost completely agree. I once wrote to the BBC after they used the word "gazunder" as a parallel to "gazump", and specifically to mean "tentatively making an offer on property then actually offering less". I pointed out that a gazunder is a chamber pot, and a BBC editor replied, all puffed-up with pride, saying "No! Because a chamber pot is a gezunder with an 'e'!" (Interestingly, gazump seems to be Yiddish for "leave in the gutter" -- a corruption of "gesomp", a past-tense verbal form of the noun "somp" (meaning similar to English "sump").

We agree that language isn't an inflexible set of rules. Where we don't agree is that it should be. The words "owt" and "nowt" are northern British dialect for "ought" and "nought" (mainly Yorkshire and Lancashire, but other surrounding cultures too). Without spelling them that way, their unique pronunciation would be lost; and I'm not sure they would have made it to the OED for posterity. But you go ahead and pronounce "ought" as Old English "ówiht" with the fricative. I'd like to hear you speak PIE....

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Re: 0945: "I'm Sorry"

Postby rabidmuskrat » Thu Sep 01, 2011 8:48 pm UTC

I'll admit, I'm guilty of this one. Started after seeing the movie Snatch.

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Re: 945: "I'm Sorry"

Postby A_of_s_t » Thu Sep 01, 2011 9:00 pm UTC

jpk wrote:
A_of_s_t wrote:I'm sorry this comic stirred up so many latent feelings among you all.


And well you should be, you bastard.

For some reason, that made me literally laugh aloud.
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Re: 945: "I'm Sorry"

Postby bmonk » Thu Sep 01, 2011 10:15 pm UTC

quantheory wrote:
Thou was the singular you. But some lazy/ignorant people started using you as the singular. Other people were too lazy to correct the mistake. So we lost the meaning of you and had to create kludges to work around the loss of meaning: y'all, yous and the like.


What false nostalgia. Many of these older, seemingly more "elegant" features of language were themselves kludges once upon a time. Once we forget the origins of words, we take them for granted, whereas words like "y'all", the origins of which we remember and can locate in a familiar place/time/culture, seem mundane or even crude. If a few centuries were to pass and "ya" and "yal" became the two second person pronouns in English, it would inconvenience hardly anyone.


Eventually "Thou" became the familiar form, used with those you were close to--such as family. "You", originally the plural, was then the more formal form. Once we stopped using the familiar form, we were left with the ambiguity that singular and plural second person pronouns were the same.

But there's always context to consider. How about asking someone on the street, "How are you?"--and they start telling you how their health is. It's a formal idiom, and doesn't mean exactly what the words say.

If I really want to know how you are doing, I should repeat the question, or expand on it.

deathpangsofsorrow wrote:
Apeiron wrote:

It's a matter of ignorance to think there is. This is what we get when we encourage the idea that words mean whatever anyone thinks they mean. This is why people say decimate when they mean annihilate or obliterate.


I agree with everything you said in this post, except a particular point here. As I understand it, the common use of the word "decimate" does not refer to the strict definition (reduce by one-tenth), but the general context of the word as it was first used (punishing a conquered enemy by killing one-tenth of their men, presumably a pretty severe punishment). . . .

Actually, "decimation" was even more horrific. It was a punishment applied to Roman troops that revolted (or committed a similarly severe crime): the troops themselves had to kill one of each ten men. As they lived in tents of ten, that means one of your buddies was chosen at random, and you were given clubs to beat him to death. Truly horrific.

But I do agree about other words used, often in error. "Unique" is one common example--"peculiar" or "unusual" is usually a better fit. Why take a word that is, well, unique, and make it into a synonym of several other words?

Another funny example is "literally". As in, "They were literally exploding with joy."
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Re: 0945: "I'm Sorry"

Postby rcox1 » Thu Sep 01, 2011 10:56 pm UTC

deathpangsofsorrow wrote:
Apeiron wrote:

It's a matter of ignorance to think there is. This is what we get when we encourage the idea that words mean whatever anyone thinks they mean. This is why people say decimate when they mean annihilate or obliterate.


I agree with everything you said in this post, except a particular point here. As I understand it, the common use of the word "decimate" does not refer to the strict definition (reduce by one-tenth), but the general context of the word as it was first used (punishing a conquered enemy by killing one-tenth of their men, presumably a pretty severe punishment). I don't necessarily advocate using the word, because I think you could probably find more specific/relevant terms, but if the desired meaning is "an intense, severe, perhaps surprising or unwarranted destruction" ("The storm decimated the crops", etc.), I personally find it acceptable. (Also, "annihilate" has similar problems, as the storm probably didn't really reduce the crops to absolutely nothing. I'm sure an errant leaf escaped the destruction.)


Of course by using decimate in the weaker form, one is attributing an intelligence to the storm that is capable of punishing, a la Bachmann, as opposed to a natural event that has no particular malice. We should accept that languages changes. My favorite is how everyone is so proud of their big trucks, which, of course, is simply junk that one might use to make a desperate barter, and only later meant a conveyance.

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Re: 0945: "I'm Sorry"

Postby Ideological Aerostat » Thu Sep 01, 2011 11:28 pm UTC

"My dog died." "I'm sorry." "Why? You didn't do anything?" "Just wait until after the vet."
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Re: 0945: "I'm Sorry"

Postby buddy431 » Fri Sep 02, 2011 1:14 am UTC

I've never gotten this reaction, so I was taken aback by the forum posts here. Everyone I come in contact with understands that "sorry" is an expression of condolences or sorrow when used in this sort of context. But I really don't see what the big deal is either way. Is this something that really causes such strong feelings? I guess I'll never understand people who get riled up about language (coming from a semi-illiterate chemist).
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Re: 0945: "I'm Sorry"

Postby DevilsAdvocate » Fri Sep 02, 2011 4:02 pm UTC

"Why? It wasn't your fault."
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Re: 0945: "I'm Sorry"

Postby RogueCynic » Sat Sep 03, 2011 5:01 pm UTC

Reminds me of the time I accidentally nailed two of my fingers together. I mentioned it to a friend, he asked "Why'd you do that?" instead of "How'd you do that?". I told him I was bored.
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Re: 0945: "I'm Sorry"

Postby bigjeff5 » Sun Sep 04, 2011 6:30 pm UTC

rcox1 wrote:Of course by using decimate in the weaker form, one is attributing an intelligence to the storm that is capable of punishing, a la Bachmann, as opposed to a natural event that has no particular malice. We should accept that languages changes. My favorite is how everyone is so proud of their big trucks, which, of course, is simply junk that one might use to make a desperate barter, and only later meant a conveyance.


This is what is known as "metaphor", specifically an anthropomorphic metaphor with a bit of hyperbole thrown in - a common construction in the English language which makes the language more colorful and interesting. It's a more colorful version of the "it was an angry storm" metaphoric anthropomorphism (even more common, and still does not actually imply that the storm has any actual feelings of anger).

Though, it has been used so often over the centuries that most people don't recognize how colorful the origin of the word actually makes the phrase. I think the next time I use the word "decimate" I will try to use it in a more descriptive simile form that better hints at the meaning of the word for people. Something like this:

"The storm was like a vengeful Roman general ordering the decimation of his treacherous troops."

Now that is some colorful language!

By the way, while some people believe a supernatural being actually is sending a violent storm to ravage their crops and punish the people, you'd be hard pressed to find an individual who actually believes the storm is sentient and vengeful. So I find your intentional ignorance of metaphor in an attempt to make a political zing in a discussion about language a little childish and distasteful.

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Re: 0945: "I'm Sorry"

Postby Pfhorrest » Sun Sep 04, 2011 9:04 pm UTC

rcox1 wrote:My favorite is how everyone is so proud of their big trucks, which, of course, is simply junk that one might use to make a desperate barter, and only later meant a conveyance.

Completely different etymologies for truck-as-in-to-barter (from Latin trocare, "barter") and truck-as-in-load-bearing-wheeled-thing (from Greek trokhos, "wheel"):

http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=truck
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Anachrome
Posts: 42
Joined: Sun Sep 04, 2011 5:31 am UTC

Re: 0945: "I'm Sorry"

Postby Anachrome » Mon Sep 05, 2011 11:47 am UTC

bmonk wrote:Another funny example is "literally". As in, "They were literally exploding with joy."

Hey! laetitial combustion is *not* a something to be treated so lightly; I am insulted by such disrespect! *poutyface*

altoids_man
Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Aug 14, 2011 7:41 pm UTC

Re: 0945: "I'm Sorry"

Postby altoids_man » Fri Sep 09, 2011 5:09 am UTC

I'm sorry I read this far. Really I am. Oh, and I do not apologize for making those statements.

Those are true statements, and also reflect the correct usage of each. In both cases, the sentiment is one of regret for an action that the speaker owns. Such as, "I'm sorry to hear that..."

The correct response to a grieving party can be any caring statement... But, the uneducated knee-jerk reaction of 'I'm sorry" or "I'm sorry for your loss" both demonstrate ignorance and a lack of compassion.

Finally, never apologize for offending someone, e.g. "I'm sorry you feel that way" is an insult, as is "I'm sorry you are offended" which are just further insults. The correct and polite statement is, "I'm sorry for my mistake/my error/my callousness." That is an apology. So yes, I disagree completely with xkcd on this topic. Sorry about that.
Last edited by altoids_man on Fri Sep 09, 2011 6:11 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

jpk
Posts: 607
Joined: Sat Nov 13, 2010 7:33 am UTC

Re: 0945: "I'm Sorry"

Postby jpk » Fri Sep 09, 2011 5:15 am UTC

altoids_man wrote:I'm sorry I read this far. Really I am. Oh, and I do not apologize for making those statements.

Those are true statements, and also reflect the correct usage of each. In both cases, the sentiment is one of regret for an action that the speaker owns. Such as, "I'm sorry to hear that..."

The correct response to a grieving party can be any caring statement... But, the uneducated knee-jerk reaction of 'I'm sorry" or "I'm sorry for your loss" both demonstrate ignorance and a lack of compassion.

Finally, never apologize for offending someone, e.g. "I'm sorry you feel that way" is an insult, as is "I'm sorry you are offended" which are just further insults. The correct and polite statement is, "I'm sorry for my mistake/my error/my callousness." That is an apology. So yes, I disagree completely with xkcd on this topic. Sorry about that.


I agree. It's reasonable and often correct for me to apologize for doing something offensive. It's never reasonable or correct to apologize for someone else's reaction to my behavior.

Anonymously Famous
Posts: 240
Joined: Thu Nov 18, 2010 4:01 am UTC

Re: 0945: "I'm Sorry"

Postby Anonymously Famous » Fri Sep 09, 2011 2:10 pm UTC

altoids_man wrote:I'm sorry I read this far. Really I am. Oh, and I do not apologize for making those statements.

Those are true statements, and also reflect the correct usage of each. In both cases, the sentiment is one of regret for an action that the speaker owns. Such as, "I'm sorry to hear that..."

The correct response to a grieving party can be any caring statement... But, the uneducated knee-jerk reaction of 'I'm sorry" or "I'm sorry for your loss" both demonstrate ignorance and a lack of compassion.

Finally, never apologize for offending someone, e.g. "I'm sorry you feel that way" is an insult, as is "I'm sorry you are offended" which are just further insults. The correct and polite statement is, "I'm sorry for my mistake/my error/my callousness." That is an apology. So yes, I disagree completely with xkcd on this topic. Sorry about that.

I'm sorry you feel that way, but "sorry" has come to mean regretting something, whether you "own" the action or not. And if you feel that that's an insult, I regret that you feel that way, but it doesn't change common English usage. Sorry.


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