Personally   Leave a comment

Or, Why We Should Strive Not to Label Obviously Subjective Statements Unnecessarily

I admit readily that many others are better English-language stylists than I, but I strive to be as skilled and elegant a stylist as possible.  I also encourage others to improve the quality of their speaking and writing, for I apply one standard to them and to myself.  If one is a literate human being, one will hopefully speak and write as well as possible.  Reality frequently dashes my hope, unfortunately.

Whenever I hear or read “in my personal opinion,” “personally, I,” and other needless uses of “personal” and “personally,” I object, at least to myself.  Related to that issue is “in my opinion” when a statement, even in the absence of that qualifier, is obviously subjective.  With regard to “my personal opinion,” of course my opinion is personal.  What else would it be?  The use of the first person indicates the personal.

The interpersonal reason for using redundant qualifiers in obviously subjective statements is to practice diplomacy with regard to people who object to the subjective content.  You, O reader, might know the experience of receiving the


reaction.  I do.  The essence of my measured reply is

Of course it is my opinion, for it is obviously a subjective statement.

That does not soothe ruffled feathers much of the time, of course.  I know from experience that responding calmly to someone who is irrational (A) demonstrates maturity and self-control and (B) makes the other person angrier.  Someone has to model good behavior, however.  My simple question about people with such objections is:  Since they take offense to easily, why would anyone want to engage them in conversation unnecessarily?  I prefer to speak and correspond with calm people.

Shall we listen to each other, notice that certain statements are obviously subjective, and strive to avoid redundant words?



Posted June 30, 2017 by neatnik2009 in Language

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