Having Said That, That’s An Argument Worth Having

Because I’m a writing instructor, I probably harbor more than the average number of language irritants. I’m not really talking about grammar and mechanics here. I’m mainly addressing how people actually use our language. For example, the introductory phrase “Having said that” has gotten quite popular for some reason. I’m hearing and seeing it more and more.

Problem is, most people use this phrase incorrectly. Most people use “having said that” as a synonym for “consequently.” “Consequently” indicates a continuation of the previous statement:

Sometimes my ass is really itchy. Consequently, I use a lot of baby powder on my heiny.

See? It’s like a math problem and “consequently” serves as the equal sign, and as I previously wrote, many people think “consequently” and “having said that” are synonyms. Here’s the thing: “having said that” is a phrase that indicates negation, and it serves to invalidate the previous claim and not provide a continuation:

Sometimes my ass is really itchy. Having said that, I think the bloody scratch marks on my ass look manly.

In this example, I know the audience will infer that an itchy ass is a bad thing. “Itchy” is usually not a desirable trait, so I need something to negate that inference. I could have used the conjunction “but,” but too many buts in a sentence that’s already dealing with my hindquarters might become distracting. So instead, I chose “having said that.”

And just to show I’m not the worst in this, here’s L.D. and Jerry bitching about the same thing:

Related to the “having said that” nonsense is the phrase “I think that’s an argument worth having.” People don’t necessarily use it incorrectly, but I’m not sure they’re aware of its nature. Interestingly enough, you’re more likely to hear or read this phrase in academia or politics, and it’s a douchy, passive-aggressive way of one person subtly inferring that the other person is a dipshit.

Person 1: We really need to cut back on the amount of porn we watch. It’s gotten out of hand.

Person 2: I’m not sure. It’s more the type of porn we watch and not the amount. But whether or not we eliminate transvestite-dwarf porn from our routine is an argument worth having.

In this example, Person 2 is implicitly asserting that Person 1’s argument is so asinine that it’s not even an argument worth having. It’s an incredibly condescending way to address another person.

When I’m in the middle of a conversation and the other person uses “that’s an argument worth having,” I want to spit in that person’s mouth. “How about that? Does your highness deem that an argument worth having?”

We should be aware of the connotations of our language because like George Carlin said, “The quality of our thoughts is only as good as the quality of our language.”

Having said that, it’s entirely possible that I’m a bit pedantic about this kinda stuff. That’s certainly an argument worth having.

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Comments

  1. Christine Caver says:

    I’m sick of “at the end of the day.” Having said that, I love L. D.

    I believe that is a non-sequitor.

  2. Christine Caver says:

    Non sequitur
    Drat.

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