Abandon All Fear

What nobody else seems to be saying…

[Doublespeak] Inferred and Implied Meanings

Posted by Lex Fear on January 9, 2006

We currently live in a time where our government, elected leaders and leaders of corporate world rely on constantly on the use of certain words and certain language to disclose the truth, but in a way which infers something quite different from the reality. Take the example provided by the BBC today.

The article refers to a recent letter sent to local traders of Bournemouth by some sputnik at Dorset Police Head Quarters. The letter informed them that they should not report shoplifting thefts worth less than £75 and that detaining a criminal would be against the Human Rights Act.
A Dorset Police rep. has apologised for the letter and are quoted as saying:

“I would like to apologise to retailers who were led to believe that we may have
changed our policy.”

And,

“While sent with the good intention of reducing crime, the letter… was a
mistake and incorrect”

OK, now back to your GCSE English classes. This exercise tests your powers of observation, reasoning and ability to recognise implied meaning. Circle A, B, or C:

Question 1. Dorset Police have apologised to retailers.
A: Yes
B: No
C: Cannot be certain

Question 2. Dorset Police want to apologise to retailers.
A: Yes
B: No
C: Cannot be certain

Question 3. If retailers had followed the instructions in the letter, crime would have been reduced.
A: Yes
B: No
C: Cannot be certain

The next exercise tests your lateral thinking, reasoning and ability to hypothesize. Answers in paragraph format:

Question 4. Dorset Police clearly “would like to” apologise to retailers who received the letters. What is stopping them?

2 points.

Question 5. The letter sent out was intended to “reduce crime”. How would not reporting crimes fitting certain criteria actually reduce crime overall?

4 points.

End of Test. How did you do?

Since this kind of inference plagues our leaders and politicians, I intend to point out more of my observations in the area of implied meaning.. be on the lookout!

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