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Spill Words

 

Techniques > Use of language > Modifying meaning > Spill Words

Method | Example | Discussion | See also

 

Method

Spill words are words that are intended yet which remain unsaid.

Sometimes they are so obvious, everyone gets them. Sometimes they are so subtle, only a few people get them. Sometimes they are a form of private conversation between two people.

Example

What a nice place. It's so ... nice. (It's pretty but I don't like it)

Michael bought Susan flowers. (Why can't you buy me flowers?)

Nice legs! (I'd like to go to bed with her)

Discussion

Conversations are littered with spill words. We say a few words but mean a whole lot more. Why do we not just what we mean? Often it is to do with manners and social norms. It is generally forbidden to criticize others, particularly when others around, in order to 'save face'.

Spill words are often intended to be understood by others as we talk in cultural codes. They may also accidentally leak what we are thinking. By paying attention to the spill in conversations and when others are talking you can pick up a lot of what people are really thinking.

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