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Rhetorical Backoffs

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Eric in Fairbanks, Alaska, notes the use of the phrase “I’m just saying” as a way to soften one’s comment or avoid responsibility for an observation. Some linguists call such a statement a rhetorical backoff. Other examples are “present company excluded,” “no offense,” “not to be critical,” or the even more elaborate “I’m not saying, I’m just saying.” This is part of a complete episode.

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1 comment
  • It seems this action is being done by our President Trump way too much, since before he had been in office, he has made many of a rhetorical comment.

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