Rules For Winning Arguments: Rule #3

3.  Use meaningless but weighty-sounding words and phrases

Memorize this list:

1. “Let me put it this way”

2. “In terms of”

3.  “Vis-a-vis”

4.  “Per se”

5.  “As it were”

6.  “Qua”

7.  “So to speak”

8.  “Well, anyhow”

You should also memorize some Latin abbreviations such as “Q.E.D.,” “e.g.,” and “i.e.”  These are all short for “I speak Latin and you do not.”  Here’s how to use these words and phrases.  Suppose you want to say:

“Peruvians would like to order appetizers more often, but they don’t have enough money.”

You will never win arguments talking like that.  But you WILL win if you say:

“Let me put it this way.  In terms of appetizers vis-avis Peruvians qua Peruvians, they would like to order them more often, so to speak, but they do not have enough money per se, as it were.  Q.E.D”

Only a fool would challenge that statement.



5 Responses to Rules For Winning Arguments: Rule #3

  1. Clint says:

    That is awesome!

  2. Davis says:

    This reminds me of an article that Dave Barry wrote a few years. I think it was on how to have an intellectual conversation at a party. My favorite line in the article was ‘Before we begin this discussion we need to define our parameters…’ 😉

  3. Davis says:

    Ok… I should have checked the link in your post, it goes right to that Dave Barry article.

  4. Becky Vartabedian says:

    Philosophers and philosophy students often forget that we are not exempt from Strunk and White’s Elements. 🙂 It makes me wonder if jargony speak like the list above should be written out of our papers and communications with others.

  5. Wesley says:

    Why use an english word when a perfectly good latin one will suffice? Potes decere latinum?

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