Sunday, May 23, 2004

Iron Monkey's Rules of Qualifiers

1. In public statements, if a qualifying phrase could have multiple possible meanings, it almost always has the meaning least favorable to the speaker.

When someone says he finished "in the top ten," this technically could mean he finished #1, but it doesn't. If a car manufacturer says the car is the best "in its class" at something, the class in question could be "the class of all cars," but it isn't. A product that costs "under $1000" could cost $19.95, but it doesn't.

2. In public statements, qualifying phrases never occur by chance, but only by necessity.

He who says "I have never been an accessory to murder . . . on a weekday" must have had an interesting weekend.

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