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according to

According to the dictionary I’m using, when someone uses according to he or she means that something conforms with something else, was stated by someone else, or depends on something else.

According to is a perfectly fine phrase, but in its “stated by someone else” sense, it’s often used to weasel out of taking responsibility for a thought introduced into a discussion. For example, someone might say, “According to Jeremiah Jerkoff, humanity is doomed due to fornication.”

Leaving aside the fact that humanity is doomed without fornication, the speaker (the one who said “according to,” not Jeremiah Jerkoff) introduced an evangelist rant against fornication into a discussion, without either taking or rejecting responsibility for it. Coward.

He or she could have had said, “According to Jeremiah Jerkoff, humanity is doomed due to fornication. And I agree with him.” Or he or she could have said, “According to Jeremiah Jerkoff, humanity is doomed due to fornication. But I think Jerkoff is an idiot.” Either of those statements would have put the speaker’s convictions out there to be supported or attacked by listeners. Otherwise it’s just a wimpish way to say something you don’t want to be accused of saying. If attacked you can simply say, “Well, I didn’t say it. Jeremiah Jerkoff did.” Wuss.

Before signing off this entry, I have two apologies to make. First, I didn’t do a Google search on “Jeremiah Jerkoff”. If there really is someone named Jeremiah Jerkoff I apologize sincerely for mocking your good name.

Second, I apologize for introducing fornication at this point. I hope that the mental image of fornication that the mention of it created didn’t it didn’t distract you too much from whatever you were doing.

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