Guilty As Charged
Posted by languageandgrammar on June 1, 2008
On a call-in radio show on Wisconsin Public Radio on Memorial Day, where I was the guest, a caller had the audacity to say that I had used the phrase the simple fact is that on three or four occasions during the hour-long show.
He made a good point about the phrase, stating that it’s often used as a way of attempting to make an opinion sound as if it were a fact. The example he used was It’s a simple fact that NPR has a liberal bias when that is not a fact but, rather, an opinion of the person making the statement. Not everyone would agree with the statement. The caller believes that the phrase should only be used in situations in which a fact has been stated, such as The simple fact is that I was not at home when the UPS truck came since that is an accurate description of the event; it’s a fact, not an opinion.
I couldn’t agree more. The caller made an excellent point, so imagine my surprise when I listened to the archived broadcast of the show (it was a good discussion overall, so if you’re interested, then listen to the archive on their Web site–May 26 at 6 a.m. with host Joy Cardin) and found out that he was correct. I had said the simple fact is on a few occasions.
I wasn’t doing so in an attempt to be manipulative, but it, apparently, is one of the phrases that I use without thinking. Now that I’m aware of it, I will be more careful. In this case, I’m an example of why I wrote the book. I didn’t write it as a way to mock those who use phrases inappropriately, but I make fun of the phrases, themselves, so that people have the opportunity to become more aware of what they’re saying and how it’s perceived.
The simple fact is that I say the simple fact is too often!
Paul’s book–Literally, the Best Language Book Ever;
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