Sunday, January 22, 2006


Now this is an expression that I use a lot myself and I just realized that it is completely useless. The expression being "... blah blah blah (pause) if you know what I mean". Yup! I feel that "if you know what I mean?" is right up there in the list of rhetorical useless expressions along with the likes of "You won't believe who I saw the other day (coz once they tell you who the person is, they don't expect you to doubt their honesty)" and "Guess who I saw the other day (where you are never given a chance to guess a few responses)".

For starters, nobody ever says "if you know what I mean" and expect a NO for an answer. Seriously, have you ever heard anybody say No to this question? Try imagining this conversation:

"She surely didn't fall for his charm. She very well knows that she can BANK on him ... if you know what I mean .."

"No, I don't."

"As in BANK on him. A pun because ..."

"No I don't understand ..."

Nay! That never happens. This phrase is to a conversation, what extra tobasco sauce is to a Mexican meal i.e. the food was already spicy and even if you didn't add the sauce the zing would've still been there. I tried thinking back where, when and how I picked up this expression, and strange visuals seem to come to my mind. I somehow imagine a young girl saying this line and adding an elaborate wink to it (I wish I could show it to you guys). I'm pretty sure that no such thing ever happened for the simple reason that my personality hassn't ever evoked the interest of young winking women. But still, I'm indeed confused by the origin of this habit. So if any of you folks know me in person, feel free to snub me the next time you hear me say something like, "He wears such short shorts that you BARELY (accompanied with air quotes) notice him ... if you know what I mean ..." feel free to snub me.


That was truly philosophical at some level... "*add the needful*" :D
Hehe... I actually say "no" very often when the person uses IYKWIM for totally unexplained remarks. Irritates the other person, but what the hell, I dont know what you mean... so you'd better use your brain and explain it to me!
Your post was as funny as you think you are...if you know what i mean! :)
*Give it up for Rimi, the educator!*

right, so dr. nandy, it's like this. imagine two women sitting amongst a gaggle of admiring men. both of them are bored to death. one of them has another appointment and wants to leave. "i'll be off in a while", she says casually. the other woman arches her eyebrows. "well, if half the interesting company leaves, the other half will accompany." she casts an enigmatic smile at the clueless men. "if you know what i mean."

the formula can be edited to suit any number of occasions, sentences and attitude.
here endeth the lesson.
Lol cool stuff Sagnik...i have often wondered about this vague expression but you have explained it leaving no further doubts in my mind!

And Rimi that was a brilliant case study :-)
@aparna--:-D. thanks!
Aha....you're back. Lately your posts have been sounding ....a little less spicy shall we say? Not exactly like you....but you're back and spewing so welcome!
ah, i may hav an idea as to where from came the winking habbit of IYKWIM. i think it came from playing killer too often. u kno? the game where there is loads of wierd winking involkvd. think bout it. ;)
these air quotes and abbreviations just beat me. And no I don't know what you mean!
How's the new work place? Looks like it's keeping you pretty busy, huh?
IYKWIM is one of the very few phrases in the language that has any use whatsoever! It's function is to pre-empt and forestall the most irritating and useless phrase in the world: "I know what you mean"

Person 1: I lost all my family and all my property in a fire
Person 2: I know what you mean. I stubbed my toe last week.
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?