Happy Holidays – I’m Just Sayin’


merrychristmasbeachNo, I’m really wishing you all a great Christmas weekend.  It’s just that I came across an opinion piece over at NPR which deals with that phrase in the title.  I never really paid much attention to it whenever I heard it uttered by friends.  Even though I have somehow earned a reputation for correcting other people’s grammar (or flinching at least), I have been trying to be more tolerant in the past year.  After all, I also believe that language is so dynamic that changes are unavoidable.

Scott Simon, however, simply cannot stand it when he hears “I’m just sayin’/saying” being said. I can’t really blame the guy.  If I received e-mails and messages like the one below, I would also have an aversion to the phrase. ((Source: Simon Says))

“You are witless, stupid and immoral, and I wouldn’t let you near my tropical fish for fear you would contaminate them with your depravity. Just sayin’!”

What is this phrase supposed to mean anyway? If you take a closer look at that example – which I assume is from a real e-mail – it is pretty obvious what the writer was doing. He (or she, for that matter) just let out a barrage of insulting words and then backtracked to wash his hands clean somehow. It actually reminds me of a line from one of those stupid movies: “With all due respect, sir, f— you!” ((I can’t remember the movie, but it probably has Will Ferell in it.))  Just because you put out a disclaimer, it doesn’t mean you can get away with being rude, stupid, or silly!

So what’s the point in using the phrase? I honestly don’t know. I guess it is one of those grammatically sound statements that do not convey much. In fact, it just serves to add confusion, doesn’t it?

I think Scott Simon hit the nail right on the head with his piece. Although some of his examples are borderline ridiculous, I do see where he is coming from. That fact may actually have helped in driving the point home.

For the record, I might use the phrase here and there – blame it on the Christmas “spirits” – but I would not dare use it in my writing. How about you? What do you think about saying “Just saying”?

P.S. Yes, that image was chosen on purpose, as I’ll be enjoying the warmth of the sun at the beach in a few days.  I’m just saying. 😉






4 responses
  1. Deirdre Reid Avatar

    I read recently that “just saying” (and its Twitter variant #justsayin) will be the 2011 overused phrase of the year, the new “whatever.” I’m already tired of it so I’d nominate it for the emerging 2010 overused and tired phrase of the year.

    It reminds me of “no offense but…” What follows is usually something that gives offense but the person saying it doesn’t want to take responsibility for it.

  2. Mindy Halleck Avatar

    I completely agree with the passive-aggressive nature of the term ‘just sayin’”. My daughter uses it whenever she is delivering a snipe or some gossip. It makes my skin crawl. I always ask, “exactly what is it you are ‘just sayin’?” She then nicks at me. I thought it was just me or a generational thing – so glad to have read this. She’ll keep ‘just sayin’, but at least now I can smile; knowing I’m not alone. Thank you!

  3. Priya Avatar

    I actually think it’s used in the context of “here’s the hard message that you need to hear, but please don’t shoot me, the harbinger of such tidings”. It might be a cop-out, it might be used to soften the blow… I don’t find anything objectionable about it. Now… when people confuse their yours and you’res, or their its and it’ses, that’s when the grammar-Nazi in me comes out 🙂

  4. J.A. Hall Avatar
    J.A. Hall

    Well said, Noemi. The only time I find this acceptable is when it is used as a humorous afterthought, as in your final sentence. I recently moved to Chicago from L.A. and posted a comment on FB about the cold snap here. A friend in L.A. responded “It’s 75F and sunny here today. Just saying…” I laughed at this use of the phrase.
    As a former NYer, I never felt the need to hide behind a disclaimer when stating my opinion. If you do not wish to hear the truth, please do not ask for it.
    Thank you. I enjoyed your article.

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