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Commentary: Dissecting the grammar of police shootings

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Posted: Tuesday, July 15, 2014 9:00 pm | Updated: 12:57 am, Wed Jul 16, 2014.

You’re probably familiar with the weaselly way politicians tend to apologize when they’ve been caught red-handed. The most famous example is the line “mistakes were made.”

Use of the passive voice in an admission of wrongdoing has become so common that the political consultant William Schneider suggested a few years ago that it be referred to as the “past exonerative” tense.

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1 comment:

  • Khal Spencer posted at 12:37 pm on Wed, Jul 16, 2014.

    Khal Spencer Posts: 1057

    Excellent exposition on the use of language to deflect responsibility. That's not to say some shootings are not eminently justifiable. Its just that for an astute reader, the political use of language, as Orwell once told us, is profoundly indicative of underlying bureaucratic behavior.

     

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