What Brits say and what we mean, continued

Following on from my post about how British people use language, I was very tempted to construct an imaginary open letter from a Conservative cabinet minister to Tory backbench rebels consisting largely of the "What Brits say" phrases in the document.

Unfortunately it would have been entirely too easy for an ill-disposed person describing the document to misrepresent me as using words like "insane" and idiot" to describe fellow Conservatives and the joke might easily have lost its' humour in that situation.

However, I have received another example of the interesting use of language since making the "What Brits say and what we mean" post. Received an email on Friday from a work colleague who I shall not identify, in response to a message in which I'd asked if it was right to infer certain potentially serious consequences from something he had said.

The first line of the reply was

"Your points are quite a wild interpretation of what I wrote, but fairly perceptive!"

As far as I can tell, this was intended to mean something along the lines of

"The worst case outcome could be exactly what you suggest but don't you dare tell anyone that I said so."


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