usingtherightwords

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“Always” Beware the Absolute “Never”


ESPN has a show called “Numbers Never Lie,” which reminds me to warn against absolutes such as always and never.

One of the many definitions of absolute is “having no restriction, exception or qualification.” Using absolutes often can get one into trouble.

The two I hear most commonly used are always and never. Always is defined as “at all times.” Conversely, never means “at no time.”

A child often says, “I’ve always wanted this” and “You never do this for me.” Of course, neither sentence is true — nor can it be because humans are finite beings with only a finite time on this earth.

Therefore, nothing we do or say can ever be absolute. We need a qualifier: “As far as I know, this has never happened” or “You’ve never given me what I wanted, except when you did.”

Until next time! Use the right words!

leebarnathan.com

 

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September 16, 2013 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , ,

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