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Old 06-08-2008, 02:02 AM   #1
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Default No pun intended

This is going to sound like an odd question... but does anyone else feel "no pun intended" is the single most offensive phrase in the English language?

I was pondering this the other day, but I'm curious if it's just me.
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Old 06-08-2008, 03:09 AM   #2
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This is going to sound like an odd question... but does anyone else feel "no pun intended" is the single most offensive phrase in the English language?
Apparently, yes. Not me, though. What makes you assume that the phrase is a form of apology or excuse? Note:

1. Just because I say I hadn't intended the pun, doesn't mean I hadn't.
2. Even if I didn't intend the pun, I may not necessarily consider it bad when I spot it.
3. Even if I do consider it bad, I may not consider it bad enough to go back and change the wording.

(And even if I do find it that awful and leave it anyway... I can think of plenty of worse ways to offend others verbally than bad puns. But that's pretty subjective, so I won't list it as "4.")
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Old 06-08-2008, 03:25 AM   #3
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I think the phrase "no offense" much worse. No pun intended may be because someone has realised they've written something that looks like a bad pun but wasn't originally meant that way. It could thus be considered an acknowledgement that the pun was an accident rather than claiming it as a witty thought by the writer. An act of humility if you will (this sounds really clever but not because I was clever enough to think of it)

By contrast, "no offense", can only ever be used when someone has said something offensive. If you say something offensive by accident then apologise. If you know what you're saying is offensive up front then expect me to be offended despite your last minute weaseling.
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Old 06-08-2008, 03:27 AM   #4
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A old joke on this subject.

A man saw a newspaper competition to write a clever play on words. He was so keen to win this competition that he submitted over and over again, a total of 10 times in fact.

He was sure one of his clever wordplays would win but, as it happened, no pun in ten did.
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Old 06-08-2008, 04:05 AM   #5
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The thing that bothers me about it is that it breaks the flow of a text. If you accidentally made a pun, drawing attention to it is hardly your best option and if you really did intend it it's a lot classier to let it stand on its own merits, or lack thereof. A silly pun might bring a smile to those who notice, "no pun intended" only a groan.

I agree that "no offense" is generally a more harmful thing to say, but I don't come across it very often and it mostly reminds me of John Stewart's New Jersey impression. "You're mother's a whore, no offense." ... so I can't fault it too much. Though if someone used it in actual conversation, then yeah, that's not cool.
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Old 06-08-2008, 09:53 AM   #6
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I think the phrase "no offense" much worse.
How about "no defense"?

Wait, does anyone else actually use that phrase?
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Old 06-08-2008, 10:22 AM   #7
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This thread is so gay retarded.
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Old 06-08-2008, 10:44 AM   #8
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I find double entenres more offensive than puns.
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Old 06-08-2008, 11:31 AM   #9
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This thread is so gay retarded.
Glad you approve... though I take it you're making a point about using "gay" or "retarded" to denote a negative?

Double entendre can be funny if you embrace the stupidity, like The Todd in "Scrubs", it's so dumb it becomes funny again.
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Old 06-08-2008, 12:14 PM   #10
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onces at a party when a whole bunch of people where arguing, I said without thinking "mass debate" , I think this might cover both a pun and a double entenre.
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Old 06-08-2008, 03:20 PM   #11
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I'm annoyed by the phrase, but being offended by it seems like going a bit far. I mean, the phrase only accompanies a really bad pun, but it's not, you know, offensive. Unless the pun was offensive.
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Old 06-08-2008, 10:52 PM   #12
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Well, I mean offensive in the sense of bad taste being offensive, not in the sense of being personally insulted...
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Old 06-09-2008, 04:52 AM   #13
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Well, yeah. I could see one's intelligence being insulted as being offensive.
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Old 06-15-2008, 06:54 PM   #14
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http://www.thebestpageintheuniverse.net/c.cgi?u=puns

Just read that, then came to ag and read this.
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Old 06-16-2008, 10:55 AM   #15
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I think the phrase "no offense" much worse.
In the same vein, my favourite phrase is "with all due respect". You can get away with saying almost anything to someone, just by prefixing it with "with all due respect...". I seem to recall Scott Adams made a witty observation about this phenomenon in one of his Dilbert books or comic strips.
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Old 06-18-2008, 03:31 AM   #16
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"No offence intended" = A great deal of offence was intended, but please don't punch me.

"With all due respect" = With no respect whatsoever.

In the chat section of a magic forum I belong to, we have a permanent thread called Innuendo Bingo. This is for quotations from postings elsewhere in the forum that read as double-entendres. For some reason, talking about magic is a hotbed of double-entendres. Or else magicians just have dirty minds.
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Old 06-18-2008, 06:48 AM   #17
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By contrast, "no offense", can only ever be used when someone has said something offensive. If you say something offensive by accident then apologise. If you know what you're saying is offensive up front then expect me to be offended despite your last minute weaseling.
You seem to assume that "offensive" is an absolute. It's possible that I realize, on a purely intellectual level, that what I am going to say is likely to offend someone, without me actually intending to offend. Hence, I preface it with "no offense (meant)".

Of course, I agree that it gets often overused as a lame non-apology. As is "with all due respect". But it's hardly those phrases' fault.

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The thing that bothers me about it is that it breaks the flow of a text. If you accidentally made a pun, drawing attention to it is hardly your best option
Again, just because I made it accidentally (if I did) doesn't mean I don't want others to notice! On the contrary, I would think it's common sense that whoever says "no pun intended" doesn't actually try to hide the fact he made one.

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and if you really did intend it it's a lot classier to let it stand on its own merits, or lack thereof. A silly pun might bring a smile to those who notice, "no pun intended" only a groan.
Well, you're entitled to your own opinion, but I don't think it ever made me groan. It certainly did (indirectly) make me smile a couple of times when the accompanied pun would be otherwise hard to spot.
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Old 06-19-2008, 11:54 PM   #18
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You seem to assume that "offensive" is an absolute. It's possible that I realize, on a purely intellectual level, that what I am going to say is likely to offend someone, without me actually intending to offend. Hence, I preface it with "no offense (meant)".
I can understand what you're saying.

However, this leads me to two additional thoughts. If you know something you say is likely to offend someone should you be thinking about rephrasing it or not saying it at all? If you don't consider either of those is an option (and saying nothing is often a bad option) but you consider it's possible someone will take offense, why apologise for their reaction? If what you're saying isn't intended as offensive it isn't your fault if someone takes it that way.
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Old 06-21-2008, 03:26 PM   #19
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Once at a party when a whole bunch of people where arguing, I said without thinking "mass debate" , I think this might cover both a pun and a double entendre.
I think that can be classed as word play, rather than double entendre. A double entendre is usually where you use a word that is appropriate to the discussion seen one way, but when looked at another way, gives you another less flattering or more salacious meaning.

In claiming 'no pun intended', I think sincerity counts, but it's also subject to whether the person speaking is one of those who is aware of and sympathizes with the low opinion some folks feel towards paronomasia. Other folks use it as a cheap way to indicate some bit of clever word play they perhaps just realized they used, and wish to be congratulated belatedly.

Personally, I think some folks are just a little bit uptight about what in small doses can be a fun way to enliven a conversation. This need to apologize before anyone speaks up isn't offensive so much as it is weak and dull. I'm not a great one for puns, but I never apologize for them, nor draw attention to them. If someone else in the audience is quick enough to catch them, they get more of my attention. If they groan... well, same deal, except that then my attention might be a little more pointed.

Claiming 'no offense' is of course grounds to haul off and punch someone, but you should perhaps take into account that they may be saying it upon realizing they misspoke themselves. 'Sorry' is usually more sincere, and 'I apologize for offending you', while not a full admission of guilt, is at least a polite acknowledgment of the offense incurred.

I can vaguely recall a number of situations where someone shooting their mouth off has uttered 'no offense' upon delivering what they think is pretty good barb, and I've generally blown it off, dismissing them as an anal passage and choosing in future not to tolerate them. I can't recall if I've ever responded with 'none taken', however. I prefer smiling falsely and walking away at the earliest convenience. Yes, I'm passive aggressive.

That said, I've spoken strongly on a number of occasions myself and, though I've not necessarily changed my view, do experience some regret if someone voices a note of insult. I only rarely actually intend to insult anyone, and generally only after they've offended me... in which case no such apologies are forthcoming.

I did on a couple of occasions shoot my mouth off publicly and have to be slapped down by those more in the know on a subject (or who were perhaps the subject of one of my more pointed rants), and have on those occasions apologized, even if I fairly sincerely meant to be offensive at the time. Often being confronted by someone of some authority who politely sets you straight after having been rude can be quite effective and life-changing.
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Old 06-22-2008, 04:29 AM   #20
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However, this leads me to two additional thoughts. If you know something you say is likely to offend someone should you be thinking about rephrasing it or not saying it at all?
Of course, you should think about it. But, as you admit later, there often will be legitimate reasons to do neither eventually. Also, I'd argue that by adding "no offence" in such cases (again, if it's not something you overuse as a stock phrase), you at least acknowledge a possible controversy, which is, after you decided against rewording or remaining silent, least you can do to prove you're not an insensitive clod.

Quote:
If you don't consider either of those is an option (and saying nothing is often a bad option) but you consider it's possible someone will take offense, why apologise for their reaction? If what you're saying isn't intended as offensive it isn't your fault if someone takes it that way.
As should be clear by now, when I say "no offense" I feel like flashing a warning sign rather than actually apologizing for anything, so it's a moot a question for me personally. That said, in the past I have apologized for things that I didn't feel were my fault per se. Haven't you?



Finally, just to provide an actual example to all my philosophical ramblings, this is the most recent time I said it on AG. Does it really look like "a great deal of offence was intended, but please don't punch me"? I should hope it's clear from the context that "no offence" here equals "don't read too much into it" or "it's nothing personal, but...". Basically, I wanted to address previous poster's comment, but also make sure my general observation is not misread as wishing ill on that particular project.
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