Saturday, August 04, 2007

Excuse me for breathing (paca)

-e's comment on my post below reminded me of ways to say your language's apology words while not in fact apologizing at all. Some of them are clear.

"I'm sorry for having feelings" is a non-apology apology, I'd say. You also have charming ones like:

"I'm sorry you are an idiot."

and

"I apologize for having the stupidity to speak to you."

Then there's

"I'm sorry you feel that way."

Also, non-apology. Agree?

4 comments:

ril said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ril said...

Well, I would say that "I'm sorry" doesn't necessarily have to be an apology at all. It can also be an expression of sorrow, sympathy, regret, etc. that doesn't necessarily shoulder any responsibility.

"I'm sorry your goldfish died" is not synonomous with "I apologize for the death of your goldfish". Unless you were goldfish juggling at the time, maybe.

edit to add: I don't see, for instance, "I'm sorry you feel that way" as an apology, or as a non-apology apology. More an expression of regret or disappointment.

December/Stacia said...

I say "I'm sorry" all the time when bad things happen to people, only to have them snap "It's not your fault". Uh...I know.


A good non-sorry is "I'm sorry you thought my calling you a bitch meant you're a bitch, I meant you're a bitch." Or something along those lines. The "I'm sorry you thought/felt" is usually crap meant to appease. IMO.

writtenwyrdd said...

In the law enforcement academy I attended, we had "verbal judo," which is basically saying the apology words but not apologizing. The non-discerning individual gets the idea that you give a crap about their issues when you are just tryign to get them to comply so you don't have to use force.

It is basically saying words to the effect of "I feel your pain" but I have to do such and such action because of [name rule of law or whatever applies.]