What do you call people who answer to the point? (irritatingly, annoyingly)


Mr. Hermez is the boss and has an office and his secretary sits in same location with his workstation just outside mr. Hermez's office door.

AMN on phone: Is Mr. Hermez there in the office? Mr. Hermez's secretary answers back: Yes he is there.

Hermez's secretary knows AMN is desperate to meet Mr. Hermez since morning and has called in for the same reason.

AMN walks quarter mile to Mr. Hermez office to find Mr. Hermez was already busy with top managers from same the office even before the call between AMN and secretary.

In this case as Mr. Hermez's secretary knew AMN was coming, it made sense to inform AMN about Mr. Hermez's prior engagement with some people. So in this case the person i.e. Mr. Hermez's secretary just answer to the point.

AMN is annoyed with the secretary.

AMN to secretary: You should not be so _______ (answering to the point)

What would you call such a person irritatingly.

  • I'm having trouble understanding this story. Is AMN telling the secretary something like "Why did you make me walk all this distance if Mr Hermez is busy and can't see me?"
    – Zebrafish
    Aug 16, 2018 at 6:43
  • Yes, as the secretary knows he is and will be busy for some time why did he not inform AMN about it on the phone as a courtesy.
    – AMN
    Aug 16, 2018 at 6:56
  • 1
    Perhaps "literal"?
    – WS2
    Aug 16, 2018 at 6:57
  • 1
    Next time, ask if you can fix an appointment to see the boss before midday, or before 5 pm. Asking if someone is in his office and receiving the answer that he is, is not rude or incorrect if you don't specify that you need to see that person urgently.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Aug 16, 2018 at 7:02
  • 1
    So let me get this straight... AMN asked the secretary whether Mr Hermez was in his office, intending to receive confirmation that he could meet with Mr Hermez. The secretary answered his question by saying Mr Hermez indeed was in his office, but failed to mention that he was unavailable to see anybody because he was busy? Sorry, I'm slow.
    – Zebrafish
    Aug 16, 2018 at 7:13

3 Answers 3


Without making a judgement call on who's in the wrong here, one suitable answer to the question is Literal.

You should not be so literal.

Or, alternatively,

You should not answer so literally.

[Merriam-Webster: sense 1b: adhering to fact or to the ordinary construction or primary meaning of a term or expression]

  • 1
    To the question: Is Mr. Jones in his office? and the answer is "Yes", how is that being overly or excessively literal? On the contrary, it's accurate and truthful.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Aug 16, 2018 at 7:41
  • 1
    Literal corresponds to actual. So, I don't think literal is correct word in the context where someone is terse and irritant.
    – Ubi.B
    Aug 16, 2018 at 7:41
  • @Mari-LouA That's a reply a badly-programmed computer would give. It's accurate and truthful and excessively literal and helps nobody. An intelligent secretary/PA would have answered "Yes, but he's busy all day I'm afraid. Would you like me to make you an appointment to see him?"
    – Charl E
    Aug 17, 2018 at 9:48
  • Then the OP should tell the secretary that she did not do her job properly. He could, rightly, accuse her of doing a disservice and of wasting people's time and money. If she behaves like this with colleagues, she's probably not much better with clients.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Aug 17, 2018 at 10:05

Take your choice:

curt: rudely brief. "his reply was curt"

brusque: abrupt or offhand in speech or manner. "she could be brusque and impatient"

Source: ODO


Well! I'd say secretary is laconic in this situation. A laconic person is brief and to the point; effectively cut short.


Merriam Webster describes it as:

(of a person, speech, or style of writing)

using or involving the use of a minimum of words : concise to the point of seeming rude or mysterious

Usage: "‘The language in the book is terse and concise, almost laconic, and very much to the point.’"

Usage: "Her laconic reply suggested a lack of interest in the topic"


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