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91

Adding the word "personally" communicates that the speaker recognizes the subjective nature of their preference. It also precludes interpretation of the statement as an effort to persuade the listener. I personally try to avoid using it.


38

I also think "couldn't care less" is the correct form since it is more logical. Perhaps this is a meta issue in that precisely those people who say "could care less" could not indeed care less whether they are speaking logically or not.


35

It's technically redundant, since all opinions are personal, however it can modify the tone of the statement to some degree. It effectively takes emphasis away from the opinion itself by placing the emphasis on the holder of the opinion. For example, suppose I'm in a group of people, and we're trying to decide whether to go to Madame Tussauds or to see a ...


33

I've heard it said that "could care less" is meant to be ironic, but I think this is just justification for the bastardisation of an English phrase. Here we go (from World Wide Words): There’s a close link between the stress pattern of I could care less and the kind that appears in certain sarcastic or self-deprecatory phrases that are associated with ...


31

Such utterances are known as phatic. In the OED's definition, they 'serve to establish or maintain social relationships rather than to impart information, communicate ideas.' Exchanges about the weather, such as you describe, can made without a greeting such as 'Hello' or 'Good morning' and often occur between strangers.


26

So, the preferred method of addressing a professor in the US is not entirely consistent. Variations from university to university or even department to department occur, however, at the three universities/departments I've attended/been employed by, the following is true: If the professor holds a doctorate, calling him/her Dr. Lastname is the most common ...


21

The practice of doing so is actually a field of research and the use of these words in such a manner can be classified as fillers, used while someone is busy grasping what they want to say and so on. From Wikipedia we get a general overview of this: Fillers are parts of speech which are not generally recognized as purposeful or containing formal ...


18

As an American, I can report that everyone I know, even highly educated people, use these forms several times a day. People in business meetings, professors giving lectures,... everyone. Sometimes people are being slow, clear, and deliberate, in which case they will pronounce the full phrase, which does sound more formal by comparison. My sense, as an ...


17

Such statements are usually considered conversation starters/openers: A conversation opener is an introduction used to begin a conversation. They are frequently the subject of guides and seminars on how to make friends and/or meet people. Different situations may call for different openers (e.g. approaching a stranger on the street versus meeting them at ...


15

This is an example of phatic communication: phatic [ˈfætɪk] adj (Linguistics) (of speech, esp of conversational phrases) used to establish social contact and to express sociability rather than specific meaning


15

Obviously? Simply questioning the statement comes right to the point. You didn't actually say that you were looking for a witty comeback. Just that you wanted a good response. You can always add: How can it be obvious, seeing it is false?


15

One relevant term from logic: red herring — The idiom "red herring" is used to refer to something that misleads or distracts from the relevant or important issue. Specific forms of red herring exist and I find that appeal to motive fits nicely: appeal to motive — Appeal to motive is a pattern of argument which consists in challenging a ...


14

A corresponding conversation in English might go something like this: ― You should get yourself a girlfriend! ― A girlfriend? What’s that?! It’s more sarcasm than irony, and the reply is often “deadpanned”.


13

You are correct that "yeah" and "yep" are informal variants of "yes." In conversation among friends, any form is appropriate, but "yep" has a slightly dismissive tone. "Did you find your wallet?" "Yeah, I left it in the other room." As opposed to "Did you get directions to the theater?" "Yep." In the second example, you're implying that ...


13

If someone says "excuse me" to get your attention, the response is "I'm sorry, yes?" or something to that effect. If they say "excuse me" because you are in their way, then the response is to move out of the way and say "I'm sorry" or "sorry". And if they are saying "excuse me" in a loud, drawn-out, sarcastic way, the proper response is to tell them the ...


13

Using "like" as in "this is, like, uncool" used to be strongly associated with Valspeak: Many phrases and elements of Valspeak are stable elements of the California English dialect lexicon, and in some cases wider American English (such as the widespread use of "like" as a hedge). This use of "like" is again mentioned in the Wikipedia entry on ...


13

"What's up" means "What's happening." I usually just reply "nothing." because nothing is happening to me. But, there are alternatives, such as the usual reply to a greeting: Not much Nothing. Yourself? I'm good, yourself? Good. How are you? However, if there is something that you would like to tell the other person e.g. ...


12

You should feel free to say either variety. "Could care less" actually occurs more frequently. It is an entrenched idiom. No fluent speaker will have any trouble understanding what you mean. The Oxford English Dictionary lists both with the same meaning: care ... (4). In negative and conditional construction: a. not to care passes from the ...


12

I might say something along the lines of: I was thinking the same thing. Or: I was just about to suggest the same thing. Or (this is a bit more of an idiom): Great minds think alike.


12

I find your examples confusing, but looking at the article and your question here is what I have to say: Conditional apologies indeed leave space for possibility that there is nothing to apologize for. This in itself is not rude. Actually, I believe that such constructs became popular because it allows you to be extra polite and to apologize for minor ...


12

The person who said this was comparing the present job with the previous job. He is saying, "Are you happier with this job, than your other job?" They could also use happy, that is also correct. But it would mean a different thing. It would just mean "Are you happy with this job", but it wouldn't compare it with his previous job. I suppose, they said ...


11

The usage of like as a random interjection/hedge/quotative particle is older than most of the girls who are using it nowadays. It certainly predates Facebook by several decades. It's one of the defining characteristics of "valley girl" speech, which originated in California (specifically, the vast tract of suburbia known collectively as the San Fernando ...


11

It might be a bit archaic but the correct description of his son's behaviour is "contrary". Stop being so contrary.


11

A high-level conversation is one where you discuss generalities instead of focusing on details.


11

I am fine, thank you. And you? is still used, but I consider it to be overly formal. It could also be considered very polite, however, and I would probably use a phrase similar to this as a response when being introduced to someone older than me, like a friend's parent or grandparent, for instance. In the US, the short version of this phrase is a common ...


11

The Garbage Words you talk of are a mixture of Discourse Markers and fillers. Discourse Markers, like 'well', 'you know', 'I mean' are words we use in speech to separate different pieces of information. They are not really necessary for understanding but they do provide the speaker with a moment to collect his/her thoughts and organise them. Fillers, like ...


11

My favorite: And I would agree with you, except we would both be wrong. Zing!


11

The Wiktionary explains it in the best way possible: there, there: (idiomatic) Conveys comfort; used to calm somebody or urge somebody to relax, especially when the person is crying. There, there. Even though you broke up with her, you'll be fine.


11

In one of Terry Pratchett's children's books, a computer that - unlike the nomes[sic] that are the main characters - understand human speech, explains that a conversation it overheard consisted of "I am still alive. Are you still alive?" "Yes, I am still alive". This seems foolish to the nomes until they realise that most of their conversations consist of ...


10

A more accurate order of formality (least to most) would be: Huh? What? What's that? Come again? Say that again, please Sorry? Excuse me? Pardon? I beg your pardon? There are of course many more variations on these. A few of these are a lot more common than offers, in particular pardon and sorry which may be used in anything from casual to formal speech. ...



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