0945: "I'm Sorry"

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dotancohen
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Re: 945: "I'm Sorry"

Postby dotancohen » Wed Aug 31, 2011 9:50 am UTC

Apeiron wrote:
Sir_Read-a-Lot wrote:I agree with this comic!

My usual response is: "I'm sorry, I'm not guilty."


This stems from confusion caused by conflation of sorry and apology. "I'm sorry" is an expression of sympathy. "I apologize" is to accept responsibility.

THERE IS NO AMBIGUITY HERE.

It's a matter of ignorance to think there is. This is what we get when we encourage the idea that words mean whatever anyone thinks they mean. This is why people say decimate when they mean annihilate or obliterate. Or impact when they mean affect. When we conflate meanings we erode their distinctiveness. Then we have to play games to fix what was lost. Piracy is ship to ship armed robbery. IP owners with an interest in protecting their profits tried to make copying without permission seem as bad as murder, kidnapping and armed robbery.

Thou was the singular you. But some lazy/ignorant people started using you as the singular. Other people were too lazy to correct the mistake. So we lost the meaning of you and had to create kludges to work around the loss of meaning: y'all, yous and the like.

Part of the problem is that somehow it's become a faux pas to correct the ignorant and lazy. We have institutions called schools that are designed to remove ignorance, but if you aren't a teacher, do you DARE correct my grammar!

Language is the TCP/IP of thought. It's too important to be left to the caprice of the ignorant and lazy.


I agree with every word said here, thank you for expressing it so! Note that my own language is over 3000 years old, but I can read ancient texts with little confusion. Even the things that have changed have only been logically updated, and not replaced the former meanings. Contrast that with English which I cannot read a five- or even two-hundred year old text in and understand the proper meaning of.

Regarding Thou and You, can you provide more detail or a link to a source? I'd like to read about that. Thanks.

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Re: 945: "I'm Sorry"

Postby Marlayna » Wed Aug 31, 2011 9:50 am UTC

AvatarIII wrote:
Marlayna wrote:I'm sorry that the English language employs the same phrase to convey feelings of sadness and feelings of regret.

Yes, I know it's not my fault. I'm not the one who invented it, am I.





But seriously, since my first language (greek) has a special word for apologising, "I'm sorry" as an apology feels rather half-assed. In greek, if someone tells me the equivalent of "I'm sorry" meant as an apology I get the feeling that they may have regretted what they did, but not much.

In English, saying something along the lines of "my apologies", "I apologise", or "forgive me" seems more serious to me as an apology.


apologising or asking for fogivenesss != feeling bad about an action

you say "i'm sorry" if you have done something wrong, you can say it is you don't want to be forviven, or feel you do not deserve forgiveness,

to me, saying "i apologise" sounds like they don't actually feel that bad about whatever they have done.

potentially you could mix up all of them and say "i'm sorry and i apologise, please forgive me" but that's a mouthful so you could just shorten it to "i'm sorry"


Well, there's sadness (sympathy is something of a subset: sadness caused by someone else's misery), there's regret, there's acceptance of responsibility and there's the desire to be forgiven. Regret and acceptance of responsibility are more similar than regret and sadness.
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Re: 945: "I'm Sorry"

Postby JDGA » Wed Aug 31, 2011 10:00 am UTC

It frustrates me when people use "I'm sorry" to indicate sympathy. There are far less ambiguous ways to interpret it than making yourself look like a masterminding villain behind every person suffering ever. It annoys me, so next time I'm making them look like one and treating them appropriately.

Seriously, you guys make English so much more difficult than it needs to be.

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Re: 945: "I'm Sorry"

Postby Technical Ben » Wed Aug 31, 2011 10:20 am UTC

I was confused which side of the argument this comic (and by extension it's writer) was on for a second. I'm glad he is sympathetic.
It's really hard being a meatbag and trying to be sympathetic when the person you are talking to is being pedantic. :P

[edit]
Interestingly, if "I apologise" is an acceptance of responsibility, it can be used when you are not obliged to be responsible. IE
"My mothers house burned down"
"I apologise"
Would pass as
"My mothers house burned down"
"I [accept the responsibility to build your mother a new house]"

It would be a really kind gesture to build a house for someone who lost it. The "apologise" is not acceptance of cause, but acceptance in acting to undo. You'd have to have someone who really knew what you meant before you said it though, else they would get very confused.
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Re: 945: "I'm Sorry"

Postby philip1201 » Wed Aug 31, 2011 10:31 am UTC

JDGA wrote:It frustrates me when people use "I'm sorry" to indicate sympathy. There are far less ambiguous ways to interpret it than making yourself look like a masterminding villain behind every person suffering ever. It annoys me, so next time I'm making them look like one and treating them appropriately.

Seriously, you guys make English so much more difficult than it needs to be.


Is your first paragraph sarcastic, grammatically incorrect or does it contain a point I can't seem to understand?

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Re: 945: "I'm Sorry"

Postby Pikrass » Wed Aug 31, 2011 11:24 am UTC

unus vox wrote:As strange as "I'm sorry" sounds, there's nothing better.

What about a hug ?
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Re: 945: "I'm Sorry"

Postby Cousj001 » Wed Aug 31, 2011 11:31 am UTC

When apologising, I think "I apologise" is a lot more serious than "I'm sorry". I suppose this is partly because I can remember from school,when you had done something wrong to someone else you had to say "I'm sorry," even if you weren't. "I apologise" means that you actually regret what you did.

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Re: 945: "I'm Sorry"

Postby Dudely » Wed Aug 31, 2011 12:11 pm UTC

Implying an apology is unwarranted is sometimes useful in cases where people have a mental complex around taking blame, such as when they have suffered abuse. My wife, for example, is pretty much incapable of apologizing out of sympathy and it's safe to say that she would ACTUALLY be apologizing because she thinks that she is responsible in some way. It's quite weird.

Anyway, carry on. . .

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Re: 945: "I'm Sorry"

Postby jc » Wed Aug 31, 2011 12:21 pm UTC

jpk wrote:
Tath wrote:Apparently people like myself annoy Randal."


Oooh, more pet peeve! "myself" != "me"

"people like myself" doesn't parse, and so it can't serve as the subject of a sentence.


Well, my meta-peeve is with people who, when there are several alternate ways of phrasing something, insist that only one of them is correct. In normal English, "people like myself" is a perfectly cromulent NP that works normally as a subject of a sentence.

If Tath had written "people like me", we'd probably have had someone objecting to that, and saying that "people like myself" is the only correct phrasing. Silly peevery like this doesn't show your deep understanding of English syntax; it merely shows that you enjoy annoying others by making invalid objections to their phrasing. It also shows some confusion about English syntax, but considering the ways that subject is taught in our schools, that's also fairly normal. :wink:

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Re: 945: "I'm Sorry"

Postby gtdawg » Wed Aug 31, 2011 12:26 pm UTC

I hate when people snap respond with "I'm sorry".

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Re: 945: "I'm Sorry"

Postby uiri » Wed Aug 31, 2011 1:08 pm UTC

Apeiron wrote:IP owners with an interest in protecting their profits tried to make copying without permission seem as bad as murder, kidnapping and armed robbery.


It is interesting that you use the term "IP" (intellectual property) in your rant about conflated meanings because intellectual property conflates the differences between patents, copyright and trademarks (this seems to be the generally agreed upon definition). It has resulted in much confusion because patents protect ideas, copyright protects expression and trademark is a mechanism to protect against fraud. To think that a single word (eg Pepsi) could be copyrighted is just as silly as thinking that one could trademark an invention or patent a book.

Only copyright protects against copying. In fact, patents encourage copying by making the idea public (to some degree, the difference between what is ultimately sold and what is in the patent is often protected as a trade secret) although they allow the patent holder a monopoly on the invention for 20 years (or so). To some degree, patents protect copying, but it isn't really a ban against copying, rather a ban against competing with the patent holder by selling their invention. Trademark doesn't protect against copying either, it just protects a brand name. It is perfectly ok to make your own rolex-y watches, but trademark prevents you from using the Rolex name.

Repeat after me:

copyright protects expression.
patents protect ideas.
trademark protects names.
Intellectual property is intentionally ambiguous and confusing.
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Re: 945: "I'm Sorry"

Postby exhnozoaa » Wed Aug 31, 2011 1:35 pm UTC

Apeiron wrote:This is why people say decimate when they mean annihilate or obliterate.

The Church should officially change from taking tithes to decimating the money of those in the congregation.

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Re: 945: "I'm Sorry"

Postby dp2 » Wed Aug 31, 2011 1:41 pm UTC

dotancohen wrote:Sorry: Meaning "wretched, worthless, poor"
http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?search=sorry

Apparently the word means neither admission of guilt nor empathy. Next time I'm simply going to say "I'm worthless". We'll see how that works out.

Wow! You didn't even quote a complete phrase, much less the entire entry.

O.E. sarig "distressed, full of sorrow," from W.Gmc. *sairig-, from *sairaz "pain" (physical and mental); related to sar (see sore). Meaning "wretched, worthless, poor" first recorded mid-13c. Spelling shift from -a- to -o- by influence of sorrow. Apologetic sense (short for I'm sorry) is attested from 1834; phrase sorry about that popularized 1960s by U.S. TV show "Get Smart."


So it originally meant "distressed, full of sorrow", started meaning "wretched, worthless, poor" in the 1200s, and didn't became an apology until 1834.

Next time, use an actual dictionary with definitions, not an etymology dictionary.

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Re: 945: "I'm Sorry"

Postby dp2 » Wed Aug 31, 2011 1:46 pm UTC

jc wrote:
jpk wrote:
Tath wrote:Apparently people like myself annoy Randal."


Oooh, more pet peeve! "myself" != "me"

"people like myself" doesn't parse, and so it can't serve as the subject of a sentence.


Well, my meta-peeve is with people who, when there are several alternate ways of phrasing something, insist that only one of them is correct. In normal English, "people like myself" is a perfectly cromulent NP that works normally as a subject of a sentence.

If Tath had written "people like me", we'd probably have had someone objecting to that, and saying that "people like myself" is the only correct phrasing. Silly peevery like this doesn't show your deep understanding of English syntax; it merely shows that you enjoy annoying others by making invalid objections to their phrasing. It also shows some confusion about English syntax, but considering the ways that subject is taught in our schools, that's also fairly normal. :wink:

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Re: 945: "I'm Sorry"

Postby Kurushimi » Wed Aug 31, 2011 1:55 pm UTC

I like this comic. I think it's quite obvious that the phrase "I'm sorry" can have multiple meanings. One expressing guilt, one expressing sympathy and another meaning worthless (like, "what a sorry-looking man") . If you feel guilty about what you did, you will say sorry. If you feel sympathetic towards someone's situation, you can say sorry.

I believe that the original meaning of the word is irrelevant as the meaning of the word "sorry" depends entirely on how it is used in general by English speaking people. And we can see that many people use it in both ways. From there I can conclude that it can mean either.

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Re: 945: "I'm Sorry"

Postby Afrael » Wed Aug 31, 2011 2:31 pm UTC

Oh my gosh, I can already foresee the discussion I am going to have with my ex-girlfriend about this :x It adds to the complexity of the problem that English is our third language, but the single word "sorry" is used quite much around here. I keep insisting I have never heard it to mean anything else than an apology, whereas she means "I am sorry to hear that" every time she uses it. (Which used to annoy me to no end.)

/rant

Edit:
Gibbs, Navy CIS wrote:Never say you're sorry. It's a sign of weakness.

But also
Sometimes - you're wrong.

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Re: 945: "I'm Sorry"

Postby Ronsonic » Wed Aug 31, 2011 3:09 pm UTC

etsisk wrote:which is why I've been forced (by at least a minimal desire to "get along"...) to say, "I'm sorry to hear that"... which is just dumb, me having to do that. Sheesh.


Never mind that "I'm sorry to hear that" translates to "I wish you hadn't told me."

I blame lawyers. Of course, I frequently blame lawyers for all sorts of stuff but this really is one of their things.

The modern American Tort Whore will indeed drag any use of "I'm sorry" into a courtroom and use it as proof of culpability. You see this especially in the world of medical practice, where everyone has had the phrase "I'm sorry" surgically excised from his brain by the loss prevention office.

This corruption of courtesy has spread from there as a meme throughout society. "Meme" being used here to mean "meme" and not an internet fad.

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Re: 945: "I'm Sorry"

Postby picnic_crossfire » Wed Aug 31, 2011 3:18 pm UTC

I do this jokingly. I didn't realize it upset so many people.
"I'm sorry"
"You're forgiven"

It's not that I misinterpret the sympathy. That response is entertaining to me. I guess I'll stop.
picnic time!

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alternate approach Re: 945: "I'm Sorry"

Postby bugi » Wed Aug 31, 2011 3:28 pm UTC

Or in the alternate,

You: "How odd that you should jump directly to that conclusion."
Them: *splutter*sputter*
You: "Do you have something you'd like to tell us?"
Them: *apoplectic sputtering*
You: "Anyway, I wish your mother the best."
Them: "You don't know my mother!"
You: Sigh. "Are you sure about that?"
[continues until a punch is thrown]

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Re: 945: "I'm Sorry"

Postby Duckrabbit » Wed Aug 31, 2011 3:32 pm UTC

In response to the prescriptivist Apeiron:
Apeiron wrote:THERE IS NO AMBIGUITY HERE.

It's a matter of ignorance to think there is. This is what we get when we encourage the idea that words mean whatever anyone thinks they mean.


Is it not needlessly exclusive to call someone ignorant because they do not speak your dialect? In this case, because "I'm sorry" is frequently taught as a first apology (think preschool/kindergarten/parents), many English speakers use it primarily to express regret and sadness for their own actions and perhaps ask for forgiveness. As said before, many languages (including English) have (at least) two words for expressing regret and guilt (I'm thinking Swahili, Greek was mentioned). The trick is, sorry can be used for both. The connection is the sadness, the recognition of the sorry state of affairs, whether one is sorry because of one's own actions or those of another.

Is it language? Then suspect ambiguity. The philosopher who early in life said, "What can be said at all can be said clearly," said later, "Uttering a word is like striking a note on the keyboard of the imagination."

The lady in the comic responds with a narrow view (likely affected, hence intentionally confrontational) of the usage of sorry, but our hero, recognizing instantly the dialectical preferences of his conversation partner, switches tongues as if there was no misunderstanding. What agility.

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Re: 945: "I'm Sorry"

Postby paulrowe » Wed Aug 31, 2011 3:36 pm UTC

My first take on this was humorous because my second language is Japanese. In teaching the subject, one of the books my sensei used was Japanese Cultural Encounters, by Kataoka and Kusumoto. One of the examples in this book is attending the wake or funeral for the relative of a friend. The student approaches his friend and says, 「ごめん なさい。」("gomen nasai") While typically translated, "I'm sorry," the phrase implies guilt in Japanese. I believe all of the standard phrases that are translated, "I'm sorry," imply guilt. 「ごめん なさい」 literally translates to a phrase honorably asking another for favor or mercy. 「すみません」 ("sumimasen") would apparently translate literally as, "This is more severe than I expected." 「わるかった」 ("warukatta") literally translates to, "It was bad," or, "It was unfortunate." I think this could accurately be translated colloquially as, "My bad."

For your information, there is a set phrase that the Japanese use when consoling a person over the loss of a relative or friend. 「このたびはご愁傷さまでございます。」 ("Kono tabi wa goshuushousama de gozaimasu.") It translates to something along the lines of, "This is a trip of sorrow," and the speaker usually starts by mumbling the first part and the rest of it is either incomprehensible or simply cut short (since it's a "stock phrase").

Personally, I try to avoid saying, "I'm sorry," when I'm not at fault because of the ambiguity of the phrase if I can express sympathy otherwise. For instance, "That's horrible!" or, "How frustrating!" or, "How could someone do that?" can work when reflecting the perceived emotions of the original speaker.

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Re: 945: "I'm Sorry"

Postby cellocgw » Wed Aug 31, 2011 3:39 pm UTC

jpk wrote:
Tath wrote:Apparently people like myself annoy Randal."



Oooh, more pet peeve! "myself" != "me"

"people like myself" doesn't parse, and so it can't serve as the subject of a sentence.


Since IMHO the point of the comic was to champion the proponents of proper grammar, I salute this comment as well as the comic itself. Here's to the next idiot who posts something about a concensus [sic] of opinion [sic] that something is very unique [sic] .
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Re: 945: "I'm Sorry"

Postby cellocgw » Wed Aug 31, 2011 3:42 pm UTC

Marshie wrote:Oh god I hate this too.
"It's not your fault."

I didn't say it was. :|


Yeah, but your response has to be:
"It's not your fault."
"It's not your fault."
"It's not your fault."
"It's not your fault."
"It's not your fault."
...
until he/she falls into your arms crying.
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Re: 945: "I'm Sorry"

Postby nmosloff » Wed Aug 31, 2011 4:11 pm UTC

I continually apologize for everything, and I hate when people tell me not to be sorry because it's not my fault. The continually joke now is that I am responsible for all the things that go wrong in the world. I publicly apologize for everything that has ever gone wrong. . . ever.

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Re: 945: "I'm Sorry"

Postby gnoitall » Wed Aug 31, 2011 4:15 pm UTC

jalohones wrote:
Thibaw wrote:They do not interpret it wrong, they are jerks who do not think they need empathy from you.


Damned jerks, dealing with grief in their own way! Why can't they understand _my_ needs?

Indeed. Why can't they deal with grief like normal regular people... like myself.

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Re: 945: "I'm Sorry"

Postby Gregarious Raconteur » Wed Aug 31, 2011 4:28 pm UTC

Isn't the term, "I'm sorry," technically an expression of sorrow, and is thus used more correctly in the strip than when it's used as an apology?

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Re: 945: "I'm Sorry"

Postby Zinho » Wed Aug 31, 2011 4:38 pm UTC

dotancohen wrote:Regarding Thou and You, can you provide more detail or a link to a source? I'd like to read about that. Thanks.


I still don't have URL privileges (not enough posts), but here are some URLs to get you started:

http://c2.com/cgi/wiki?ThouVsYou
http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=you
https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Thou
https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/You

tl;dr version (imho) is that thou/you used to have the same relationship in English as tu/vous in French (singular/plural), but without the informal/formal connotation that the French has. English kings of French descent later started the "royal we" usage (similar to using "vous" form in French for singular as a sign of formality/respect), and used "you" among themselves in the singular sense. Out of rebellion or confusion the English underclasses started using the "you" form among themselves for both singular and plural, displacing the "thee/thou" forms. It's difficult to divine motivations over a gap of 800 years, though :wink:

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Re: 945: "I'm Sorry"

Postby project2051 » Wed Aug 31, 2011 4:46 pm UTC

gtdawg wrote:I hate when people snap respond with "I'm sorry".



I'm sorry.

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Re: 945: "I'm Sorry"

Postby gnoitall » Wed Aug 31, 2011 4:47 pm UTC

Ronsonic wrote:
etsisk wrote:which is why I've been forced (by at least a minimal desire to "get along"...) to say, "I'm sorry to hear that"... which is just dumb, me having to do that. Sheesh.


Never mind that "I'm sorry to hear that" translates to "I wish you hadn't told me."

Well, you have embedded an assumption which may not always be true.

Using the original definition of "Sorry" (to wit: the etymological basis, "Distressed, full of sorrow"), "I'm sorry to hear that" translates to "I am distressed and grieved to hear that."

The unsupported assumption is "... and I don't wish to be distressed on your behalf."

If you're sufficiently cynical, you'll naturally assume that, because what rational person gives a rat's ass about another person's tribulations? But many people can spare some true sympathy and have sufficient emotional strength to mourn with another, even if only to a small degree.

I blame lawyers. Of course, I frequently blame lawyers for all sorts of stuff but this really is one of their things.

The modern American Tort Whore will indeed drag any use of "I'm sorry" into a courtroom and use it as proof of culpability. You see this especially in the world of medical practice, where everyone has had the phrase "I'm sorry" surgically excised from his brain by the loss prevention office.

This corruption of courtesy has spread from there as a meme throughout society. "Meme" being used here to mean "meme" and not an internet fad.

It's unfortunate that one connotation of the word ("I'm sorry, I apologize") seems to have driven out all others. "I'm sorry, I share your grief" is valuable, and if used sincerely it's as far from tort whoredom and courtroom machinations as you can get. I suppose we can start using the faux-Vulcan formulation "I grieve with thee".

There is a gem of insight here: anything perfunctory, such as an unfelt and fake-sympathy "I'm sorry", is truly a corruption of courtesy. Real courtesy starts with caring about the other person, at least to a 5-year-old's level of implementing the Golden Rule.

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Re: 945: "I'm Sorry"

Postby webgrunt » Wed Aug 31, 2011 4:52 pm UTC

Incorrect response:

Person 1: "My mom's house burned down."
Person 2: "I'm sorry."

Correct response:

Person 1: "My mom's house burned down."
Person 2: "Bummer."

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Re: 945: "I'm Sorry"

Postby webgrunt » Wed Aug 31, 2011 4:57 pm UTC

picnic_crossfire wrote:I do this jokingly. I didn't realize it upset so many people.
"I'm sorry"
"You're forgiven"

It's not that I misinterpret the sympathy. That response is entertaining to me. I guess I'll stop.


If you haven't noticed how annoying this can be to people, my guess is you're not looking at their faces when you are entertaining yourself. People's faces generally reflect how they feel, but if you're too wrapped up in how what you're saying is making you feel, then you may not be paying attention to their faces to see how they feel.

I know this because I am guilty of doing it (speaking at someone for my own amusement without regard to how they feel, aka mentally jerking off on people), and someone was once kind enough to point it out to me in a way I could understand.

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Re: 945: "I'm Sorry"

Postby BlueLaughter » Wed Aug 31, 2011 5:11 pm UTC

I hate it when people take "I'm Sorry" as an admission of guilt, particularly when they start blaming you for it.

I usually end up saying something like "Geez, I'm not that sorry!" followed by an "ass" underneath my breath.

Really, I blame people for not listening properly. "I'm sorry" is implied short form for "I'm sorry that it happened," or "I'm sorry to hear that," or something similar. I really wish that this sort of thing would be taught in primary school, as too many people just don't get it.

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Re: 945: "I'm Sorry"

Postby HamFrozenSolid » Wed Aug 31, 2011 5:22 pm UTC

paulrowe wrote:My first take on this was humorous because my second language is Japanese. In teaching the subject, one of the books my sensei used was Japanese Cultural Encounters, by Kataoka and Kusumoto. One of the examples in this book is attending the wake or funeral for the relative of a friend. The student approaches his friend and says, 「ごめん なさい。」("gomen nasai") While typically translated, "I'm sorry," the phrase implies guilt in Japanese. I believe all of the standard phrases that are translated, "I'm sorry," imply guilt. 「ごめん なさい」 literally translates to a phrase honorably asking another for favor or mercy. 「すみません」 ("sumimasen") would apparently translate literally as, "This is more severe than I expected." 「わるかった」 ("warukatta") literally translates to, "It was bad," or, "It was unfortunate." I think this could accurately be translated colloquially as, "My bad."

For your information, there is a set phrase that the Japanese use when consoling a person over the loss of a relative or friend. 「このたびはご愁傷さまでございます。」 ("Kono tabi wa goshuushousama de gozaimasu.") It translates to something along the lines of, "This is a trip of sorrow," and the speaker usually starts by mumbling the first part and the rest of it is either incomprehensible or simply cut short (since it's a "stock phrase").

Personally, I try to avoid saying, "I'm sorry," when I'm not at fault because of the ambiguity of the phrase if I can express sympathy otherwise. For instance, "That's horrible!" or, "How frustrating!" or, "How could someone do that?" can work when reflecting the perceived emotions of the original speaker.
This is the same general thing this comic made me think of as well. I know in other languages the phrase equivalent to "I'm sorry" is explicitly an admission of guilt, and people learning English as a second language are often confused by us saying "I'm sorry" merely to convey sympathy (or irate if they don't know we're not admitting fault).

Although, I don't even like the phrase, "I'm sorry to hear that," because it just sort of sounds like you would have rather the person not told you about what happened, lol.

While there's no excuse for native English speakers to not be able to make this distinction, there are certainly better ways to express your condolences.

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Re: 945: "I'm Sorry"

Postby dp2 » Wed Aug 31, 2011 5:30 pm UTC

webgrunt wrote:Incorrect response:

Person 1: "My mom's house burned down."
Person 2: "I'm sorry."

Correct response:

Person 1: "My mom's house burned down."
Person 2: "Bummer."

I don't know if you're serious, but to me, "Bummer" sounds like, "I couldn't care less, and I don't know why you're telling me, but I'd better say something."

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rigwarl
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Re: 945: "I'm Sorry"

Postby rigwarl » Wed Aug 31, 2011 5:56 pm UTC

webgrunt wrote:Incorrect response:

Person 1: "My mom's house burned down."
Person 2: "I'm sorry."

Correct response:

Person 1: "My mom's house burned down."
Person 2: "Bummer."


Very Incorrect response:

Person 1: "My mom's house burned down."
Person 2: "lol"

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Uzh
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Re: 945: "I'm Sorry"

Postby Uzh » Wed Aug 31, 2011 6:06 pm UTC

BlueLaughter wrote:I hate it when people take "I'm Sorry" as an admission of guilt, particularly when they start blaming you for it.

I usually end up saying something like "Geez, I'm not that sorry!" followed by an "ass" underneath my breath.

Really, I blame people for not listening properly. "I'm sorry" is implied short form for "I'm sorry that it happened," or "I'm sorry to hear that," or something similar. I really wish that this sort of thing would be taught in primary school, as too many people just don't get it.


Seeing "I'm sorry" from a outsider point of view (like the greek poster) I must say that I learned it to be the "It's sad that it happened" form. The origin from "sorrow" implies it. There's a comment on http://www.explainxkcd.com/2011/08/31/i ... /#comments, where someone states that there are different meanings of "I'm sorry" in midwest and east-coast...

We have a similar shifting of using in German with the "Entschuldigung", meaning verbatim "taking away the guilt". Usually you asked the other for Entschuldigung (in a kind of "may you take the guilt away from me?") but right now you say: "Ich entschuldige mich" ("I take away my (own) guilt") It started of course with the spoken word as a very shortened form from "Ich bitte um Entschuldigung" (I aks for pardon): simply "Entschuldigung" or even shorter: "Schuld'jung". Right now it starts to join the written language - quotes in news articles, letters and so on. Only on very formal occasions you hear the "correct" form.

By the way: Thanks to the language history we have a non-guilty "sorry" (Das tut mir leid / Das ist schade) and a guilty "sorry" (Ich bitte um Entschuldigung / Verzeihung). And we do have a "thou". :)
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rhomboidal
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Re: 945: "I'm Sorry"

Postby rhomboidal » Wed Aug 31, 2011 6:18 pm UTC

I get the feeling that if she were speaking to Black Hat Guy, her first line would be accusatory instead of declarative.

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neoliminal
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Re: 945: "I'm Sorry"

Postby neoliminal » Wed Aug 31, 2011 6:25 pm UTC

Preemptive response:


Person 1: "My mom's house burned down."
Person 2: "I'm sorry."
Person 1: "I knew it was you."
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Re: 945: "I'm Sorry"

Postby Anonymously Famous » Wed Aug 31, 2011 6:31 pm UTC

I've been on both the giving and the receiving end of "It's not your fault." It seems to me that if people can use humor (even admittedly bad humor in this case), it means that they're on the way to feeling better, or more at peace, about the situation. If I say "I'm sorry" at a funeral and someone says "It's not your fault," I know that they're taking the situation in stride, so I give a little smile and move on. Likewise, if I have had something bad happen to me, and someone says "I'm sorry," it helps relieve the tension to use a response like "It's not your fault."

Still, I can see why some people would take it the wrong way.

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Re: 945: "I'm Sorry"

Postby dsawatzky » Wed Aug 31, 2011 6:42 pm UTC

I'm Canadian, and so I'm expected to say "I'm Sorry" for even looking at you funny, which is why I resist the urge, and instead look like a heartless bas-turd. At least that's what my wife tells me.


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