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Aster's avatar

Do you say, "to be honest with you...." Why or why not?

Asked by Aster (15335 points ) March 28th, 2012

I just can’t use that expression. It implies I’m usually not to be believed but , this time, I’m being honest. Do you say it?

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14 Answers

tom_g's avatar

In my experience, saying “to be honest…” usually means that the person is about to say something that s/he feels people will object to and/or be offended by. I don’t think it necessarily is saying, “To be honest – as opposed to my usual dishonesty…”

“To be honest…”
– I don’t really want Chinese food tonight.
– I think you look better with short hair.

And, to be honest, I don’t believe I use this expression. But I understand where you’re coming from – it could be interpreted as declaring that the following statement will be a rare, honest one.

Blackberry's avatar

Occasionally, but I’ve started to refrain from using it because it sounds as if I need a special occasion to tell the truth.

jca's avatar

I don’t say it but I know people who do. I think it makes it sound like other times I’m not being honest.

JustPlainBarb's avatar

Sometimes I say, “Honestly,” and then the rest of the sentence. That means I’m going to be pretty frank… I’m always honest .. just sometimes more tactful than others.

But I normally don’t say “To be honest with you…”

What kills me is on the Court Shows when litigants under oath preface what they say with “To be honest…” kind of makes it sound like they’re really not!

SpatzieLover's avatar

No. I say, “I’m going to be blunt with you…” because I’m already honest. Sometimes I take politeness out of the equation when speaking, but I let the person know I am about to rip off the figuratve band-aid prior to doing so.

gailcalled's avatar

People use it, as they use “actually,” “basically,” “um,” “er,” and the other mechanical pausers to buy a little time to think of their answer.

It isn’t expected to mean anything.

Sometimes, when I listen to talk radio while in the car and at a stoplight, I will count the “you know”‘s and “like”‘s that some people use in every sentence. I am unable, after a while, to pay attention to the context at all.

Honestly, sometimes I do despair.

jca's avatar

@gailcalled: To be honest with you, I do say “like” once in a while. Ya know what I mean? It’s like, it helps me.

Sunny2's avatar

If I’ve used the phrase, to be honest with you, I don’t remember. I might say, “I honestly can’t remember,” but that’s a little different and I wouldn’t say it, if it wasn’t true. Oops. Once I lied about it. I had learned something about a friend and stopped myself from telling friend 2. I told her to ask me in 5 years. She did ask and, having thought better of passing that information on, I told her I didn’t remember. I remembered. I was just 5 years older and wiser.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Um…yes, I do use it on occasion. Thinking about it, I use it in situations where I should know the answer, but don’t.

CaptainHarley's avatar

Yes, but I usually use it with the modifier “to be completely.” What I’m doing is signaling to the listener that the news is probably not something he or she wants to hear, but I am telling the whole truth anyway.

PurpleClouds's avatar

Well, to be honest with you, no.

Haleth's avatar

It basically means, “I’m going to be blunt with you.” There’s nothing wrong with that.

Leanne1986's avatar

I say it and I agree with @Haleth

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