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7 Reasons That Sorry Isn’t The Hardest Word

Posted on October 22, 2010 in Posts | 0 comments

Sorry is the hardest word*, we are led to believe.  But it isn’t.  It’s amongst the easiest.  Here are seven reasons why.

The word sorry written in white on a red background

1.  It’s Short.   There are far longer and more difficult words in the English language:  triskaidekaphobia, for example, or antidisestablishmentarianism.  They’re much trickier:  Try using them at a bar and you’ll inevitably trip over your tongue and come across as a slurring dunderhead, even if you’re not.

2.  It’s Not Laden With Terror. Sorry; a hard word?  Try saying Coulrophobia.  It’s not only longer, with more syllables, but it evokes both clowns and fear.  Clowns!  Fear!  Yeah, that’s a harder word.  Say “Coulrophobia without stuttering.  Or shuddering.  Or checking over your shoulder.  Have a quick check now, you’ll feel better.

3.  It’s Ubiquitous.  Politicians of all parties, and husbands who’ve got carried away at parties (if you will hold a party in a house next to a golf course, you’re asking for trouble) have spent many years proving that sorry is bloody easy to say.  It’s a lot easier to get the apology in early rather than spend years in the political wilderness, or doghouse (or actual wilderness if you’re married in Montana).  I’m tempted to say that nothing is easier to say than sorry. But that’s not true.  Sorry is easier to say than nothing.  It doesn’t have the tricky th sound in the middle and ends in a vowel.

4.  Allusion.  You don’t even need to say “sorry” to say sorry; you can just hand over chocolates or flowers.  Which means that anyone with access to the local confectioner or graveyard can say sorry without saying anything at all.  Couldn’t be easier.

5.  ComparisonPress, solid, rock, hulk, force, Chuck, iron, bang, kill, Norris, clap, strike, pound,   All harder words than sorry.  Every last one of them.  As is hard.

6.  Fired.  I’ve had to tell people that I’ve fired over the years many things.  And trust me, sorry was almost always the easiest part of the statement.  Easier than incompetent, feckless, unreliable, dishonest, tardy, lazy and unstable (which is not a crap version of the seven dwarves, by the way). “I’m sorry, we’re going to have to let you go.  It’s not that we have a problem with you personally, or the standard of your work, it’s more the thousands of pounds that you’ve embezzled from the company during your time here.  Sorry.”

7.  Nationality.  Because I’m an Englishman and, to me, sorry is the default word.  It just pops-out whenever anything unexpected happens.  Someone bumps into me: “Sorry”.  Someone tries to put their letter through my hand while I’m using a post-box:  “Sorry”.  Someone drives their 4×4 at me on the pavement because the road isn’t wide enough: “Sorry (though it is sarcastic in this case)”.  Sorry is the easiest word.  It’s just there.  Saying itself, even when you don’t want it to.

*There is an Elton John and Bernie Taupin song entitled Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word.  This is coincidental.  It is not Elton John week at 7 Reasons(.org).  Nor is it Bernie Taupin week.  Sorry about that.

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