No one ever says, "I'll be right with you"--unless they won't, eh?
I understand that what they're really doing is recognising that I'm being
get waiting and indicating, ritualistically, that they'd like to minimise
the wait, so I resist responding, "No, you won't, or you wouldn't say it."
In Chinese, as I remember, the presence or absence of the question-particle
(ma) tells you whether someone who asks, "How are you?" wants a ritual or
real answer. Gambits is the ESL term for such like, isn't it? I remember
standing at a bus stop in rural China, having just said "Ni hau" ("How are
you?) to the others who were waiting, only to overhear one peasant say to
another, "See, I told you foreigners always say, 'Ni hau.'"
At 04:55 PM 02/11/2006 -0330, you wrote:
>Roger Graves wrote:
>>I have been asked to participate on a radio show tomorrow in a segment on
>>cliches in honor of National Cliche Day. Does anybody out there have any
>>old chestnuts they would like to share? Any favourite student phrasings?
>>I await your responses with baited breath.
>Have you ever noticed how people who start their stories with "To make a
>long story short..." routinely fail to do so? That's a cliche with
>irony... To me, though, some of the most insidious and detestable
>cliches are the relatively new ones born in political backchambers and
>corporate boardrooms. "Window of opportunity" comes to mind (and there
>are lots more where that one comes from...)
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