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To be irritated by the excuse 'I made a mistake'

(26 Posts)
MiceElf Sat 13-Sep-14 14:11:06

A mistake is made unintentionally as in mistaking one person for another or making a mistake in a calculation.

As an excuse for having done something very wrong it seems to me that the work 'mistake' minimises the wrongdoing and lets the speaker off the hook.

If only they would say 'What I did was very wrong and I am very sorry for it and I shall try my best never to do it again because I realise the hurt and injustice that my actions caused'

Instead of which we hear again and again 'I made a mistake'. Or, in other words 'I'm not really responsibe, I did it unintentionally'.

ninathenana Sat 13-Sep-14 15:41:55

Good point MiceElf

janeainsworth Sat 13-Sep-14 17:06:46

I agree with you MiceElf
'Making a mistake' has become a euphemism, hasn't it.
If only 'lessons will be learned' were a euphemism for 'those who were responsible for this pigs' breakfast will be appropriately dealt with by those to whom they are accountable', and not a platitude meaning that everyone will carry on as before until the next cock-up.

Ana Sat 13-Sep-14 17:16:07

'I made an error of judgement' is another good one, implying as it does that the speaker had a momentary lapse in concentration.

HildaW Sat 13-Sep-14 17:17:29

I too have noticed the over use of this phrase, usually when someone has been caught breaking either a moral code or the actual law of the land. What they really mean is that they were mistaken in believing they could get away with it.

Grannyknot Sat 13-Sep-14 17:49:22

What is someone genuinely realises that they have made a mistake? People make mistakes all the time, I think it's great that some people acknowledge it.

Nelliemoser Sat 13-Sep-14 18:03:44

MiceElf A good point.

janerowena Sat 13-Sep-14 18:10:47

But we do learn from our mistakes, no matter how big or small the mistakes are. I don't think everyone means it as lightly as you believe, I have had an apology from someone, who said that they had made a dreadful mistake and were sorry. If it's said and you can tell the person is truly sorry, then they have not chosen the wrong words. If it's said defensively, then no words are enough.

HildaW Sat 13-Sep-14 18:15:13

Of course we all makes mistakes....I think what MiceElf is referring to, or at least what I thought it was about....were those public officials, Bankers, Journalists, politicians etc who chose to bend/break rules but then it all comes out later. They were not doing anything by accident...they were making conscious choices that everyone else knew to be wrong.

In my book a mistake is buying the wrong size dress, turning left instead of right or forgetting I've already spent that £50 I though I had going spare.

ffinnochio Sat 13-Sep-14 18:16:13

The integrity of the response and not the words used is all that matters, surely.

Nelliemoser Sat 13-Sep-14 18:32:49

HildaW Exactly how I wanted to explain it but you did it better.

MiceElf Sat 13-Sep-14 20:31:45

Yes Hilda, that is exactly what I meant. I'm very much speaking about those in the public eye who seek to diminish their personal responsibility.

Lilygran Sat 13-Sep-14 20:55:30

The other one is, 'I'm sorry if...' Because it implies the person who is or feels hurt or damaged is being over-sensitive.

Deedaa Sun 14-Sep-14 00:02:19

And don't forget, when something awful happens because someone has made a mistake it doesn't really matter because "Lessons will be learned!"

absent Sun 14-Sep-14 04:44:17

Does anyone else remember John Prescott's apology after the revelations about his cavortings with his diary secretary? He said that he was "sorry for what happened", as if their having sex on the Deputy Prime Minister's desk was entirely out of his control - an act of god maybe.

janeainsworth Sun 14-Sep-14 12:48:14

absent there seems to be something slightly bizarre about a sentence which contains both the concept of having sex with John Prescott and the words 'Act of God'.
I'm sure there is a proper literary term for it, but I can't think what it is.

rosesarered Sun 14-Sep-14 13:03:18


rosesarered Sun 14-Sep-14 13:06:40

I know what MiceElf means though, we have all got used to the term 'mistake'. It does sort of lessen things by using it. Error of judgement is another one, it's all 'wrongdoing' but lessened by the wording.

Deedaa Sun 14-Sep-14 13:26:54

John Prescott is another case of not being sorry it happened, because no doubt he thoroughly enjoyed it, but being damned sorry he was found out. Must have some sympathy for the secretary though as anyone whose tried it knows a desk is very hard! (Happy days) grin

rosesarered Sun 14-Sep-14 13:41:02


janeainsworth Sun 14-Sep-14 14:14:28

I thought it was another minister, not a secretary. Or perhaps she was as well as the secretary.
Anyway I expect Pauline took appropriate revenge grin

annodomini Sun 14-Sep-14 14:17:29

Is there something you need to tell us, Deeda?

absent Sun 14-Sep-14 19:57:04

Would bathos be the word you're looking for janeainsworth?

janeainsworth Sun 14-Sep-14 20:41:58

Absent Just had to look 'bathos' up blush and think that is what I had in mind, though perhaps in this instance, paradox, or maybe reverse bathos, might be more appropriate hmm

Deedaa Sun 14-Sep-14 21:30:07

No,no annowe just used to work late some nights wink Back in the days when I could manage the contortions!

I imagine Pauline's revenge would have been worth seeing grin