20 May 2015

Being quoted out of context


A quote taken out of context should be outright denied by the person being quoted on the basis of assumed context. For example, if someone says "kill her", the assumption is that the subject is a human being or at least something living. If the subject is actually a car the statement simply means "turn off the car".

So instead of saying "That statement was taken out of context", one should say "I deny having said that on the grounds of ambiguous context". That could also be received negatively but the alternative makes you look like you're trying to wrangle your way out of an admission of guilt.

Quoting out of context is a popular tool used to sway public opinion of honest people and being unprepared gives manipulative people the upper hand.