I was wondering what some words are to mean one person taking only part of the other's words?

For example:

B is A's advisor.

A says "I would like to focus on just two projects, because otherwise I will be tied up and nothing probably will be done well." B says to A that he is adamant regarding this and requires A to do four projects at the same time. A has no choice but to follow what B says.

B then makes judgment, by saying that A is reluctant to do projects, to A and possibly other people.

Most likely A is not happy about what B says. He believes that it is not a simple matter of not willing to do projects, but is because of the amount that A can handle well.

If you were A, how would you describe B and his only taking part of A's words without repeating A's reasons, which otherwise might make A's choice more understandable?


Assuming I'm understanding the situation correctly, Person A would probably suggest that Person B took his statements out of context. That is, while B's quote might have been accurate on a word-for-word basis, he left out the surrounding explanation changing the overall meaning.

  • Thanks! Would it be different if B is A's supervisor/advisor? I added more context to my post.
    – Tim
    Jul 16 '11 at 3:18

To add to @Dusty a word for "taking only part of another's words" is misquote

Another phrase that come to mind are "twisting my words" or in your context "twisting A's words". This phrase implies there has been some malicious intention on B's part and B is purposely bad-mouthing A or fudging A's words.

twist someone's words (around)

to restate someone's words inaccurately; to misrepresent what someone has said.

Stop twisting my words around! Listen to what I am telling you! You are twisting my words again. That is not what I said!


If Person B has not bothered to listen to all of what was said to them in the first place, (i.e., if they tuned out after listening only the first part of what Person A had to say), you could describe Person B as exhibiting selective hearing.


Applicable in your situation and also a common practice in negotiation, discussion etc is ... oversimplification and misrepresentation.

  • B is oversimplifying A's reasoned position.
  • B's restitution of A's position is oversimplified.

    oversimplify(v) To simplify to the point of causing misrepresentation, misconception, or error.

    misrepresent (v) To give an incorrect or misleading representation of.


I'd say that in the context you give, this is a form of Strawman argument:



You could describe B's statements as half-truths — i.e. while not false, they deliberately don't give the full context needed to understand A's position:


A statement that is intended to deceive by being only partly true

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