Is the sentence "You are twisting his/her words" considered a respectful, polite, or neutral expression?

To be clear, I am not asking about the meaning of the expression, nor I am asking a writing advice. I am just uncertain about the overall tone this expression is supposed to convey.

  • 3
    Since you are effectively accusing someone ("You") of constructing a falacy, it's difficult to see this as being a polite or even neutral expression. Nov 1, 2019 at 11:59
  • You are on the wrong site! As you will have read in the Tour, "EL&U SE is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts". Perhaps your question will fit English Language Learners, but check carefully before posting.
    – David
    Nov 2, 2019 at 21:48
  • Hi David, I fail to see why the question is off-topic. I'm not asking about the meaning of this expression, but about its tone and usage. In the section "What topics can I ask about here" the first entry of the list is "Word choice and usage". My question fits right into this category and in those I used for tagging it.
    – Povel
    Nov 3, 2019 at 1:15

1 Answer 1


Your sentence, "You are twisting his/her words" is not particularly respectful, polite, or neutral." It could be, I suppose, depending on the tone of voice the speaker uses, since HOW one says things can make all the difference in the world.

Generally, however, when you accuse someone of twisting someone else's words, you are leveling an accusation against them. In other words, you are rebuking them for not quoting someone accurately.

Paraphrasing what you heard (or read) a person say is OK, but your paraphrase needs to be at least fairly accurate. If it is not, then you could fairly be called out for twisting the person's words for your benefit, possibly unfairly and for your benefit.

  • 1
    You know, you can edit your answer, rather than posting an entirely new one.
    – Hot Licks
    Nov 1, 2019 at 23:34
  • @HotLicks: Thanks! As the young people say, "My bad." Or, as we old folks say, "Mea culpa. Mea maxima culpa." Nov 2, 2019 at 5:36
  • Thank you very much for your answer. This is something that was written to me, and when I complained that the tone wasn't appropriate I was told that the statement is neutral. I guess an actual neutral statement in this case would be something like "I do not think you are interpreting his/her words correctly" or "You are misinterpreting his/her words", correct?
    – Povel
    Nov 2, 2019 at 15:04
  • @Povel: Sounds good to me! Don Nov 3, 2019 at 20:14

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