I Personally Feel That...

Grant Barrett gbarrett at WORLDNEWYORK.ORG
Thu Sep 12 12:59:16 UTC 2002

Late Tuesday or early Monday as I listened to the BBC before slipping
off into sleepytime, I heard a string of interviews with Americans who
were affected by the World Trade Center attacks. In clip after clip, at
least five total, the interviewee used the construction, "I personally
feel..." or something similar.

What is the function of "personally" here? Why, in this circumstance,
does that particular word seem called for? I don't ask this
facetiously, but are these people in the habit of using "I" to
represent some group--a family or business?

(It sounded like the interviews were taken at different times, although
under the same circumstances. I wonder if the interviewees were not
overhearing each other give interviews and so unconsciously mimicking
each other.)

Grant Barrett
gbarrett at worldnewyork.org
Small Business Apple Macintosh Support in New York City

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