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Just saying? 说说而已

中国日报网 2022-03-29 13:07


Reader question:

Please explain “just saying”, as in this: “You’re still so thin – just saying.”

My comments:

Just saying mean’s literally, I’m just saying.

The speaker is just voicing an opinion. He or she has this notion that their friend remains too thin (perhaps many years after they saw each other last). So they speak their mind.

After saying it, they realize it’s perhaps not the most appropriate thing to say. From past experience, they know that their friend never likes to hear it. And let’s all face it, comments on other people’s physical looks can easily be construed as being rude. Any time.

So the speaker quickly adds “just saying”. With this colloquial expression, they mean to convey that they don’t mean to offend. You know, I’m just saying, don’t take it too seriously, I don’t mean no harm. We’re still friends, right?

Right, hopefully. Hopefully, they’ll remain friends.

With “just saying”, one can actually convey many ideas. For example, you make a criticism or complaint, then you add “just saying” to make it sound less severe.

Or it may just be something that slips out of your mouth and you regret saying it.

Or it may be anything controversial or just the way you say it.

Or, as a matter of fact, we will be able to fully understand it by reading a few real media examples – just saying:

1. This is the time of year when various authorities release lists of words, phrases and acronyms that have recently joined the English language: “BFF,” “retweet,” “unfriend” and “vuvuzela” made many current lists. I’m glad for all of them.

But there is one phrase that I hear most every day that I don’t like at all: “I’m just saying.”

Its origins are murky. Some people swear they heard it in an early Eddie Murphy routine. Others insist that it dates from Seinfeld episodes. In any case, the roots of the phrase seem to be sitcom, not Shakespeare – I’m just saying.

Each week, I get emails and messages that go something like, “You are witless, stupid and immoral, and I wouldn’t let you near my tropical fish for fear you would contaminate them with your depravity. Just sayin’!”

Saying, “I’m just saying,” puts a fire escape onto the end of a sentence. It lets you express a stern – even rude – opinion, but not really. You’re just saying. It invites the listener to discount what we’ve just heard, even as we’re reeling from it.

The Urban Dictionary website explains that the phrase makes it “possible to deliver a rude comment or burn and have it bounce off simply as an opinion disguised as an objective opinion, and who can argue with you over an opinion that you don't apparently support.”

Imagine what the phrase might have done in earlier times.

What if Moses had told Pharaoh, “Let my people go! Just sayin’!”

What if Henny Youngman had said, “Take my wife – I’m just saying.”

What if FDR had tried to rally Americans out of depression by decreeing, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself. I’m just sayin’!”

Or if Churchill had tried to rouse Britain in 1940 by declaring, “We shall fight them on the beaches, in the air, in the hills, and we shall never surrender – I’m just saying.”

- It’s Rude! It’s Crude! It’s Stupid! Just Sayin’, by Scott Simon, NPR.org, December 18, 2010.

2. Comedian Bill Maher, host of HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher,” repeatedly slammed the political left during his show on Friday for its handling of the pandemic while Florida has managed to have better outcomes than many other states while also having significantly fewer restrictions.

Maher made the remarks during a panel discussion with Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-NY) and liberal journalist Bari Weiss.

“I asked for the COVID deaths by state, this is per 100,000 people,” Maher said. “The worst is Mississippi. My home state [of] New Jersey, four, fourth worst. New York, sixth worst. West Virginia and Massachusetts are 10 and 11, right together. Could there be two states who are more unalike than West Virginia and Massachusetts? And the poster boy for keeping s*** open was Florida, they’re down at 17. So New York and New Jersey did worse than Florida.”

“We did worse because we’re a densely populated hub of international travel,” Torres claimed.

“Florida is home to all the old people in America,” Maher fired back. “What this is saying … Florida, like, stayed open. I mean, I was just in Florida. I’ve been there a few times since this started. The atmosphere is just different. I’m not moving to Florida, I’m not promoting Florida. I’m just saying AOC just went to Florida and had a good time without a mask [on].”

I’m just saying I’ve been to Florida, the atmosphere was just night and day from California, which was gloomy, and everything was the Andromeda Strain out there,” Maher added. “And you went to Florida, and I’m just saying, yes, there are different factors … but basically, it’s like they stayed open and went on with life, and they didn’t do a hell of a lot worse, and maybe did better.”

- Bill Maher: ‘New York, New Jersey Did Worse Than Florida,’ Florida ‘Stayed Open,’ ‘Went On With Life’, DailyWire.com, January 23, 2022.

3. Relationships are being tested on the ranch.

Fans watched as Austin Gunn, Hana Giraldo and Harry James Thornton sparred on last week’s Relatively Famous: Ranch Rules, but tonight, they’re dealing with the fallout.

In this sneak peek clip of the all-new episode hitting E! at 9 p.m., the group is first attempting to figure out what went wrong.

“I feel sore from last night,” Harry says. “I’m looking up and mac and cheese is being thrown at me, or whatever that was.”

He’s chatting with Austin, and for now, it seems like the pair’s on good terms again.

“You were holding her back,” Harry adds, referring to Hanna. “That was crazy.”

The fight in question broke out over dinner when Harry not-so-nicely suggested that Austin wasn’t interested in Hana despite the fact that they had just gone on a date, and was instead crushing on Taylor “Tay” Hasselhoff.

Hana was justifiably upset, and reacted by throwing drinks and dishes.

“He was just talking to me and was being rude as f--k,” Hana tells Taylor in the sneak peek clip. “And I’m like okay, I’m sick of this s--t...I got mad and he wouldn’t stop, that was the problem. He kept going.”

Meanwhile, Harry’s starting to realize that he may have been too harsh.

“If I was into someone, I wouldn’t want to be told that – especially called out at, like, a dinner table type of thing,” he says to Austin. “Maybe I should’ve done it a little more private, but, I mean, I was just saying how I feel.”

“It’s not my business,” Harry continues. “I’m just saying my opinion, that’s all.”

- See How the Relatively Famous: Ranch Rules Cast Is Dealing With That Explosive Fight, EOnline.com, January 27, 2022.


About the author:

Zhang Xin is Trainer at chinadaily.com.cn. He has been with China Daily since 1988, when he graduated from Beijing Foreign Studies University. Write him at: zhangxin@chinadaily.com.cn, or raise a question for potential use in a future column.

(作者:张欣   编辑:丹妮)


Deal breaker? 不能通融的条件


Pick them apart? 拆分


War of words? 口水战


Blood money? 沾满血腥的钱


Under wraps? 保密


Gone viral? 疯狂传播