“It turns out” « jsomers.net

- Saturday, March 6, 2010

This is an engaging post about the use (and abuse) of a rhetorical phrase that gives the user immense influence, without actually needing the weight of facts to substantiate it.

“It turns out” became a favorite phrase of mine sometime in mid 2006, which, it turns out, was just about the time that I first started tearing through Paul Graham essays. Coincidence?

I think not. It’s not that pg is a particularly heavy user of the phrase—I counted just 46 unique instances in a simple search of his site—but that he knows how to use it. He works it, gets mileage out of it, in a way that other writers don’t.

That probably sounds like a compliment. But it turns out that “it turns out” does the sort of work, for a writer, that a writer should be doing himself. So to say that someone uses the phrase particularly well is really just an underhanded way of saying that they’re particularly good at being lazy.

Let me explain what I mean.

Suppose that I …(continued after the link)…

via jsomers.net

I’ve always found this phrase quite compelling, and reading this post was quite entertaining. (HT Ben Casnocha)