Why do people say "Well, I don't know about that" to voice disagreement?

If you admit your own naivety on a subject compared to your peers, if you admit that you do not have the required knowledge to have formed an opinion, how can you disagree?

So it can either be expressed with genuine innocence, like 'Well, I don't know about that, tell me more!', which is never the case.

Or it means "Well I don't know anything about that... and I'm ashamed of the fact that I can't find any counter argument, so I refuse to trust your fucking expertise, shut the fuck up until I give you the right to voice your knowledge"

Which is a bit rude.

Now that we're on the topic of annoying expressions and platitudes...

"It's not rocket science" -- Rocket science, understanding how a rocket works, is surprisingly simple. You fill a cylinder with fuel and oxygen, add a pump or two, put some sparks underneath. Chemical reaction equals energy, direct energetic particles using a nozzle, Newton's first law does the rest. It's so simple that people don't actually study rocket science. They study aerospace engineering, or astrodynamics, which are difficult topics.

So if someone says "Devops is not rocket science", they're right, but for the wrong reason. It's actually harder than rocket science. Maybe easier than developing thermal protection system materials or solving n-body orbital problems with a slide ruler though.

"Great minds think alike" -- No, great minds actually think creatively and generate unique thoughts, if two minds think alike, the solution was just fucking obvious.

"Don't reinvent the wheel" -- First of all, pretty much nothing in code looks or even remotely functions like a simple wheel. Even metaphorically, all existing code equates to oval or square wheels. If you said "Hey, don't bother making better wheels, I like my ride to be bumpy because it stimulates my asshole", say no more, who am I to come between a product manager and their anal stimulation.

Anyway, those were four coworkers who I would've strangled with an Ethernet cable if it weren't for a certain pandemic and the risk of infection which comes with choke-coughing.

What are your linguistic pet peeves you get homicidal over?

  • 5
    I thought you wouldn't care since your employer sends enough booze? 😄

  • 7
    When I explain something and ask them afterwards if they got it. It's pretty obvious when the person does in fact not understand what you just explained, which is fine, but lying about it is pissing me off, since I know that I have to come back layer and explain it from scratch again.

    Just fucking tell me if my explanation was bad or if there's a missing link in your mind, me becoming better at teaching and you becoming smarter is as win-win as it could get imo, so don't make me hate teaching you
  • 7
    "How are you?" is high on the list. I've come to begin answering "Thanks, and you?" though, and I like saying it so much that I almost wait for people to ask.
  • 4
    I have forfeited entire careers over the "word" irregardless
  • 7

    "How are you" is such an infuriating fragment of a sentence as well. Existing? Because my parents fucked. Alive? Because I eat, drink, breathe.


    Ah you mean "How are you feeling right now". But if that is the question, you need to be prepared to get answers like "A little horny" or "So fucking depressed"
  • 10
    @heyheni I fear alcohol is not enough to numb my mind. I tried ketamine during today's meeting, but then a backender said "database design is irrelevant, just add more columns to the users table" so my liver was like "NOOOOPE FLUSH SYSTEM FROM ALL INTOXICANTS, MUST HIDE THE DATABASE IN A SAFE SPOT"
  • 4
    @bittersweet A little horny is my new go to answer :)
  • 4
    It means 'Well I don't know about what you just said', as in I don't know if it is true, as in doubting what you just said.

    Or at least that is how I have always interpreted, I tried researching it but failed, just now

    It is a very valid argument, I wish everyone would doubt what everyone says and fucking research.
  • 2
    Linguistics is a funny thing. I've always used those expressions as fancy ways of saying something pretty normal. Like a codeword of sorts.

    In the collective conscience, rocket science need not represent the actual study of rocket science anymore. It's just a hollow expression used to convey an idea of something too tough to study.

    When it comes to "Well I don't know about that", people usually mean to say "I disagree" but in English that comes off a bit too strong and offensive for people's liking. If they fail to follow-up with a good explaination behind the disagreement, that's kinda concerning.

    I think people still do that and stuff we say rn is gonna go irrelevant, but stick around in language as dated figure of speech.
  • 1
    @bittersweet You have problems man.
  • 1
    Will you borrow me that..

    Like they are doing me a favour by me lending them that !

    It's lend mate, not borrow..

    Say it, or I'm not going to lend it to you !
  • 2
    @zemaitis Tell me about it.

    Which is also an awful colloquialism... You just told someone about it, and then they say "tell me about it". I JUST DID.
  • 2
    @bittersweet self burn haha
  • 1
    You quote "The world is run by aliens!" from The Shire's Daily Pipe Smokers Chronicle" and instead of a useful comeback, all you get is:

    "That news outlet is biased!"

    I can find the same story in just about every news outlet, does it really matter which one I quote from..

    Now I ask them, which news sources do they recommend..

    Trouble is, when I google them, I find them biased..
  • 3
    It's a colloquialism for "I don't think you're correct about that", not "I literally know nothing about that."

    Weird phrase yeah, but English is full of such oddities.
  • 4
    @AlmondSauce You mean all languages are full of methods to package falsehoods and insults into linguistic trojan horses -- and we call those ways to rape the shit out of semantics "colloquialisms" 😂
  • 2
    @bittersweet Well when you put it like that...
  • 2
    What about the word "literally" which has come to mean the exact opposite?
    "She's literally gonna kill me." "I literally died."
  • 1
    @guitargirl15 Eurgh, that one hacks me off.
  • 3
    @guitargirl15 I had a girlfriend as a teenager where "she's literally gonna kill me" might have applied though -- a guy threatened to beat me up and trash/burn my house (I just grew weed for fun, apparently his group really, really wanted to sell it), so she went to his house, broke a guy's hand, shot another one in the knee, and attached the leader through his arms to the wall with a nailgun. I ended up breaking up with her *very carefully* over the jail phone.
  • 1
    @bittersweet I think "how are you doing" comes from medieval times, when everyone was noticed of the king or monarch wellbeing by looking if he takes a shit properly, hence the "doing". Saying "the king's doing" (or "the king goes", "le Roi va" in French, I believe the etymologies to be linked) means "the king took a shit this morning, so he's OK", so today by asking someone "how are you doing" you mean the exact same thing
  • 3
    @Marethyun That's extremely interesting, although I'm not sure that improves the expression.

    "How are you doing"

    "well, kind of gooey mustard yellow mixed with some solid chunkyness. Smells like rotten eggs, and I got some serious hemorrhoids. It also floats real bad when trying to flush, in part because of the high volume"
  • 1
    It's an expression. I believe it means "I don't know/believe that what you said is correct" not literally saying they don't know anything about the subject.

    Shit just typed all that just to realize that @AlmondSauce said the same. You win mate.
  • 1

    I think I understand now, why its always the guys fault that relationships end..
  • 0
    @Nanos Hehe my wife is way worse.

    She'll wake me in the middle of the night asking "what do you think the ratio of open to closed doors is right now in the world?" — and won't allow me to go back to sleep until I've come up with a solid estimation and argument.
  • 1

    Reminds me of the argument I have sometimes with folk over open farm gates.

    If you come across an open gate, do you leave it open, or close it..

    Non-country folk say, leave it as you found it.

    I say, if its open, close it !

    If the farmer wants it open, they will open it again.

    But if they wanted it closed, and you didn't close it, then something probably went through it that shouldn't have, adding to their workload to put it back behind the gate again.

    Sound logical argument.. ?
  • 1

    I'm also reminded of the time a then not ex of mine came home and asked where the kitchen door had gone..

    Well, I removed it, since it was never closed, and just got in the way in the way small kitchen.

    As it was her home, she insisted I put it back.

    Now, when it was my home, I cut the kitchen door in half, and just kept the bottom half, so you could shut the door to keep the kids out of the kitchen, but still keep an eye on what the kids was doing in the other room.
  • 1
    @Nanos So... toilet paper over, or under?
  • 0
    @Nanos For the farm gate, I'd close it, but not push it into the lock. That way it looks closed, but if the cow/sheep regrets their decision of passing through, they can still sneak back.

    You could also set the gate on fire, so when the farmer comes running towards the smoke clouds you can ask whether they want it open or closed.
  • 0

    You kinda solve that with at least two toilet roll holders.

    Two are better than one, since the chances of running out of both is less. :-)

    I haven't studied that question enough to know the best answer. :-)
  • 0
    "I don't know about that" = "I'm not convinced yet, please try to explain it to me like I'm the idiot I am"

    It's a valid response for a lot of people.
Add Comment