I'm new to this but I have a question, when someone only tells you part of the truth for example a conversation:

Me: hey I bought a new car

Saying I bought a new car, but hiding the fact that its second hand. I remember someone telling me this and that the media does it. Is this shadowing or something?

  • Welcome to ELU. Please take a site tour to know how to ask good questions here. Also, please check if your question is more suitable for the English Language Learners SE site. Commented Sep 26, 2016 at 17:24
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    If you are looking for a word, it may be half-truth Commented Sep 26, 2016 at 17:32
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    It's violating the Gricean maxim of quantity. Commented Sep 26, 2016 at 17:59
  • Could you mean Fibbing?
    – lll
    Commented Sep 26, 2016 at 18:00
  • Not an exact match but also consider white lie: a harmless or trivial lie, especially one told to avoid hurting someone's feelings.
    – Mr_Thyroid
    Commented Sep 26, 2016 at 20:11

2 Answers 2


You can describe this as telling half-truths:

A deceptive statement, especially one that is only partly true, is incomplete, misrepresents reality by telling part of the truth, or alters the time sequence of truths.

Or, if you want to be more general, you can call these statements deception.


I think your example is flawed: if you say "I bought a new car", then it's a lie, plain and simple. However, if you point to it and say "That's my new car", it's not a lie at all.

This is because 'new' can mean 'newly built' or 'newly acquired'. So if you say "I bought a new car", then 'new' has to mean 'newly built', because 'newly acquired' is redundant -- you just bought it, after all. But "That's my new car" can legitimately mean "That's the car that I just bought." In this case, you might be asked, "What, new new?"

  • We get the question. I don't think this helps the asker in any way
    – Andrey
    Commented Sep 26, 2016 at 19:28

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