Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Declining Versus Refusing

I used to be a newspaper reporter and wrote for a living. Therefore, I have an eye that's sharper than average for the use of the English language.

For example, when a public official was asked to comment about an incident, especially one that was controversial, he/she would be said to decline comment.

That is, his or her reply would be polite. It would be usually "No thanks" or "I have nothing to say about it."

But if he or she refused comment, it was impolite.

If the reporter asked the person face to face, he (it usually is a male) could knock the notebook from the reporter's hand and say, "Fuck you for asking me about that shit!"

IF the reporter was asking the question over the telephone, he'd say the same thing and then slam down the phone.

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