I often have problems with phrases that are literally neutral, but have negative connotations. For example: for years, I thought ‘forget about it’ was a polite way to tell someone that they didn’t have to worry about a situation. Eventually, I realized this was insulting. If possible, could you please list some more phrases that are literally neutral but have negative connotations? Possible with the connotative definition?
Most of these aren’t always negative, but they can have negative connotations depending on context and tone.
- That’s nice (“I don’t care”)
- Uh huh (“I don’t believe you and/or I wish you’d shut up about this”)
- Fine (Can be taken to mean “I’m not ok with this, but I’d rather put up with it than discuss it further. I’m probably going to stay mad about this”
- Whatever (“I don’t respect your opinion and want you to shut up about it”)
- Never mind (“I wish you’d shut up.” or “You’re obviously not going to do anything worthwhile about this, so I want to drop the subject”)
- I hope you’re happy (“You’re doing a stupid thing that I have contempt for”)
- Duly noted (“I don’t care”)
- It doesn’t matter (“It matters, but I don’t respect you enough to say why”)
- I guess (“I don’t think I agree, but I don’t want to say why”)
- Thanks for sharing (“What you said was inappropriately personal”)
- Interesting (“That’s boring, annoying, or offensive, and I would like you to stop talking about it”)
- Really? (In certain tones it can mean “I don’t believe you and can’t believe you would say such a stupid thing” or “I think you’re lying to me and I’m angry about that.” It doesn’t always have that kind of connotation, though - it can also just be a way of expressing surprise.)
- Good luck with that (“That’s a stupid idea” or “That’s going to fail and I can’t believe you’re trying it”)
- If you say so (“I don’t believe you and can’t believe you would say such a stupid thing”)