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Joe Field On Amanda Emmert's Letter Regarding Unfriendly To Female Retailers
posted May 26, 2010

You have me curious. When you prefaced Amanda's response with "I think I may disagree with every word she's written..." I see a couple of "weasel" words in "think" and "may" but I wonder how you could disagree with "every word" in her piece?

Tom Spurgeon Responds: Thanks, Joe. I always appreciate the suggestion I'm being a weasel.

I suspect you probably already know the answers to the questions you're asking, but happy to help: when I write "I think I may" it means my mind isn't all the way made up yet. Sometimes people don't make decisions instantly, say on a first reading of a letter, but hold out confirming their opinions until they can think things through some more, say on a second or even third reading. It was more common before the Internet.

Second, while I could conceivably disagree agree with every word in her piece as they in total represent a certain set of arguments with which I might disagree, phrasing it the way I did is a writing technique called hyperbole. In this case, it's used to convey that I disagree with her very strongly as opposed to technically or mildly.