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Old 02-11-2020, 10:47 AM
HMS Irruncible is offline
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Name for this conversational pet peeve?


I have this irrational desire to punch anybody who uses the phrase "I get that". The speaker is typically dismissing an utterance that they do not in fact get, which is why I have to repeat myself with increasing annoyance.

But recently I've been seeing an even more annoying form of "I get that" - specifically, to glibly mischaracterize another person's position.

Let me give you an example.
A: I'm against corn-based ethanol. It drives up food prices for questionable environmental benefits.
B: I get that you want to destroy the environment and impoverish corn farmers, but we're going to pass this bill.

Anybody else notice this? Is there a name for it? Or is this just another one of my grumpy-old-man-in-the-street reports about kids these days?

Last edited by HMS Irruncible; 02-11-2020 at 10:48 AM.
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Old 02-11-2020, 11:37 AM
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I get that you dislike the expression "I get that" because Obama once said it, but we're going to keep saying it anyway.

Seriously, I agree with your sentiments, and I don't think it's limited to that specific phrasing, it could begin with "I understand that..." or other wording too. Wouldn't you just call it strawmanning, distorting or misrepresenting someone's position in order to dismiss it as though it's trivially wrong without really addressing the substance of their argument?

Last edited by Riemann; 02-11-2020 at 11:40 AM.
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Old 02-11-2020, 12:09 PM
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Definitely a strawman. A weaponized, suitcase-sized strawman cheerfully sown far and wide across Twitter and other social media.
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Old 02-11-2020, 03:28 PM
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I dunno. To me, "I get that" is a way of softening the blow before you present your differing opinion. It's an attempt to show that you are not dismissing their thoughts out of hand (even if you are).

Rude response: "You're an idiot to think that. Here's the right answer....."
More polite response: "I get that. But I think a more correct answer is....."
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Old 02-11-2020, 03:38 PM
Joey P is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HMS Irruncible View Post
I have this irrational desire to punch anybody who uses the phrase "I get that". The speaker is typically dismissing an utterance that they do not in fact get, which is why I have to repeat myself with increasing annoyance.

But recently I've been seeing an even more annoying form of "I get that" - specifically, to glibly mischaracterize another person's position.

Let me give you an example.
A: I'm against corn-based ethanol. It drives up food prices for questionable environmental benefits.
B: I get that you want to destroy the environment and impoverish corn farmers, but we're going to pass this bill.

Anybody else notice this? Is there a name for it? Or is this just another one of my grumpy-old-man-in-the-street reports about kids these days?
I get that you don't like it when people do that, however, maybe they're just using it incorrectly.
That, would be an example of someone acknowledging you're point of view. Dismissing it, maybe, but they understand what you're saying.

I get that you don't enjoy talking to people, have you considered seeking therapy to learn some better conversational skills?
That sounds like more what they're doing it would be closer to a strawman. It's possible they don't even realize they're doing it. Or, at the very least, they're putting words in your mouth/making things up/lying about what you actually said.
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Old 02-11-2020, 03:44 PM
Joey P is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim R. Mortiss View Post
I dunno. To me, "I get that" is a way of softening the blow before you present your differing opinion. It's an attempt to show that you are not dismissing their thoughts out of hand (even if you are).

Rude response: "You're an idiot to think that. Here's the right answer....."
More polite response: "I get that. But I think a more correct answer is....."
In the OP's example, that's not what's happening. The person they're talking to is (deliberately?) taking what they said, changing it into something that they didn't say, implying that they actually did say it (or at least it would be the logical conclusion) and shooting down that new idea that they made up.

Look at the example again:
A: I'm against corn-based ethanol. It drives up food prices for questionable environmental benefits.
B: I get that you want to destroy the environment and impoverish corn farmers, but we're going to pass this bill.

Person A may very well be against corn based ethanol for the reasons they gave AND may also not want to destroy the environment. If you want to suggest that someone wants to destroy the environment is implied due to them being against corn based ethanol because it drives up food prices, you'll have to prove that connection before you can use it against them.

Last edited by Joey P; 02-11-2020 at 03:45 PM.
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Old 02-11-2020, 03:47 PM
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I agree with that. I was only defending the phrase "I get that," as discussed in the OP's first paragraph. Not defending the mischaracterization part.

Last edited by Tim R. Mortiss; 02-11-2020 at 03:50 PM.
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Old 02-11-2020, 04:31 PM
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I'm guessing you dislike the phrase because you hear it when you've failed to convince somebody that you're entitled to something you're not. At least that's when I use it.

"My house is right over there."
"I get that, but you're still not allowed to drive across the playground."
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Old 02-11-2020, 04:38 PM
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It's active listening done to the letter of the law. It acknowledges that the other speaker has said something without actually bothering to take into account what they said and respond to it. Another variation is people who "Yeah" you to death* before they start back in on the important thing: what they have to say.


* "Yeah, yeah, yeah" is my personal pet peeve. Nothing suggests to me more strongly that they have not been listening to me.
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Old 02-11-2020, 05:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Wheelz View Post
I'm guessing you dislike the phrase because you hear it when you've failed to convince somebody that you're entitled to something you're not. At least that's when I use it.

"My house is right over there."
"I get that, but you're still not allowed to drive across the playground."
But again, as with Tim's post above, what you describe here is different from the usage in the OP.

"I get that, but...." is often a genuine acknowledgment of the point made, followed by a valid rebuttal or refusal.

The construction in the OP inserts a paraphrased misrepresentation before the comma, thus:
"I get that [paraphrased misrepresentation], but..."

Last edited by Riemann; 02-11-2020 at 05:06 PM.
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Old 02-12-2020, 06:30 AM
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Related to "Yeah, but".
  #12  
Old 02-12-2020, 10:53 AM
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It's a backhanded strawman, structured to be less overtly accusatory but also implying that the respondent sees through the stated argument to the unstated (strawman) premises, like some kind of superior understanding.

Still strawman. "I get that" isn't even the salient part of the fallacy, just rhetorical dressing. Like stabbing with an underhand grip instead of overhand.

Last edited by gnoitall; 02-12-2020 at 10:54 AM.
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Old 02-12-2020, 10:56 AM
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Definitely straw man, or, attribution-of-malicious-intent (if that's a term.)
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Old 02-12-2020, 01:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Riemann View Post
But again, as with Tim's post above, what you describe here is different from the usage in the OP.

"I get that, but...." is often a genuine acknowledgment of the point made, followed by a valid rebuttal or refusal.

The construction in the OP inserts a paraphrased misrepresentation before the comma, thus:
"I get that [paraphrased misrepresentation], but..."
I will also draw the distinction between misrepresentation of my argument and difference of opinion. "I get that" can be used in both instances, and both can be annoying, but misrepresentation is more annoying than disagreement.

~Max
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