CHAPTER 11

You Don't Say: Phrases to Avoid

Words are funny things. We assign meanings to them. We put them in dictionaries. And then we go ahead and use them in ways that have nothing to do with these original meanings. And even more amazing, many of us actually think that we are communicating clearly when we do! Take a look at some of these examples:

  • A man angrily says, “I'm sorry, but you aren't going to do that!” Is he conveying any regret?
  • A woman says, “Excuse me, but what were you thinking?” Is she excusing herself?
  • You complain about something to a disengaged customer service agent who wearily nods, “I understand, sir.” Does he, in fact, understand?
  • You ask your boss for a raise, and she replies, “We'll see.” How much money would you ...

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