14 votes

I for one...

Tags: ask, language

A long time ago I had noticed a trend developing on reddit where people were starting to preface their comments with: "I for one". It's pretty insignificant, which is why I never made a post about it at the time. Since then, its use seems to have spread significantly on the site and I've seen it a bit here as well.

It makes sense to use the phrase when talking about or quoting another person to help separate their opinions from your own. The weird thing is many people now seem to use it when its not ambiguous that the comment is their own opinion. I was under the assumption that the default position should be that the comment is the opinion of the person that posted it.

For example:

"I for one, prefer dark chocolate over milk chocolate."

Is the same as:

"I prefer dark chocolate over milk chocolate."

There's nothing wrong with using the phrase, it just reads like someone trying to pad out an essay for school.

Have you noticed people using the phrase on other sites? Is it a phenomenon more specific to reddit?
Do you use the phrase yourself? If you do, what is your thought process when typing it out?

28 comments

  1. [4]
    KehrBehr
    Link
    Not that phrase specifically, but I have noticed this sort of thing. I think one big reason why this occurs is people tend to forget a lot of what you say is your opinion by default. At the fear...

    Not that phrase specifically, but I have noticed this sort of thing. I think one big reason why this occurs is people tend to forget a lot of what you say is your opinion by default. At the fear of being yelled at, or corrected, people (I do sometimes too) tend to preface their sentences with, "in my opinion", or "I for one". To me it's just reaffirmation that the following statement is my opinion, which hopefully helps mitigate some sort of harassment.

    22 votes
    1. [2]
      Blaises
      Link Parent
      It's sad that we have to brace ourselves for abrasiveness when we post our thoughts. I hope that tildes continues to provide an environment where that type of preempting isn't necessary!

      It's sad that we have to brace ourselves for abrasiveness when we post our thoughts. I hope that tildes continues to provide an environment where that type of preempting isn't necessary!

      8 votes
      1. wizbam
        Link Parent
        That is definitely something that has kept me from being active on reddit for years. The thought of hundreds of people licking their chops to nitpick every submission for errors or points of...

        That is definitely something that has kept me from being active on reddit for years. The thought of hundreds of people licking their chops to nitpick every submission for errors or points of disagreement is very troublesome to me.

    2. sky
      Link Parent
      I think sometimes it can be a little ambiguous whether someone is stating something they believe to be fact or simply their own opinion. Unfortunately some people assume that everything they read...

      I think sometimes it can be a little ambiguous whether someone is stating something they believe to be fact or simply their own opinion. Unfortunately some people assume that everything they read is a statement of fact and feel the need to "correct" it!

      4 votes
  2. Archimedes
    Link
    I think it emphasizes that the statement you are about to give is just your personal perspective rather than being more general. https://english.stackexchange.com/questions/151120/i-for-one-dont-know

    I think it emphasizes that the statement you are about to give is just your personal perspective rather than being more general.

    https://english.stackexchange.com/questions/151120/i-for-one-dont-know

    6 votes
  3. [4]
    Baldemoto
    Link
    I usually use it to state that someone's opinion is not invalid just because I think of something one way. It's a way of saying "I understand that the matter is subjective to a certain degree"....

    I usually use it to state that someone's opinion is not invalid just because I think of something one way. It's a way of saying "I understand that the matter is subjective to a certain degree". There are some people, though, that seem to sprinkle it like glitter on a sentence.

    I, for one, think that if you're going to use "for one", it needs to be to specify that the topic being discussed is, to a point, a subjective matter. I'm not sure why anyone would use it for anything else.

    5 votes
    1. [3]
      aethicglass
      Link Parent
      That seems most on the nose to me. It functions as a way to assert your understanding that your opinion is singular and you have no expectation that your audience needs to agree. But like many...

      That seems most on the nose to me. It functions as a way to assert your understanding that your opinion is singular and you have no expectation that your audience needs to agree. But like many aspects of language, it is often used in other situations where that may not be the case.

      Personally, usage of "literally" drives me absolutely batahit when it is incorrect or unnecessary.

      1 vote
      1. [2]
        hachiko
        Link Parent
        I just sat for (literally) five minutes trying to figure out what the hell "batahit" meant before I realized you probably misspelled batshit.

        I just sat for (literally) five minutes trying to figure out what the hell "batahit" meant before I realized you probably misspelled batshit.

        1 vote
        1. aethicglass
          Link Parent
          Haha sorry, I typed that out on my phone and my auto-correct has been sneaking things by a lot lately.

          Haha sorry, I typed that out on my phone and my auto-correct has been sneaking things by a lot lately.

  4. [11]
    tilde
    Link
    Semi related question, what're everyones thoughts on "I, for one, prefer fizz over buzz" vs "I for one, prefer fizz over buzz"? Which one is more correct? I'm always conflicted by that and this...

    Semi related question, what're everyones thoughts on

    "I, for one, prefer fizz over buzz"

    vs

    "I for one, prefer fizz over buzz"?

    Which one is more correct? I'm always conflicted by that and this post made me remember it ha

    2 votes
    1. [7]
      Buddy
      Link Parent
      Well the comma use is correct in the first example you used, but incorrect in the second. You want the sentence to still read properly without what is between the two commas, so, “I, for one,...

      Well the comma use is correct in the first example you used, but incorrect in the second. You want the sentence to still read properly without what is between the two commas, so, “I, for one, prefer fizz over buzz,” reads correctly with the content between the commas taken out, like, “I prefer fizz over buzz.” The comma in the second example you used is pointless and incorrect. There should be a comma after “I”. Without that, the comma after “one” makes zero sense. There isn’t a pause there. It needs two commas to work. You’re saying, “I,” but then you’re specifying “for one,” so it should have a comma before and after it. No comma or one comma is incorrect.

      14 votes
      1. sky
        Link Parent
        The "take out the content between the commas" trick is a great tip for stuff like this! Unfortunately insisting on the proper punctuation slightly ruins the good old "I for one, like Roman...

        The "take out the content between the commas" trick is a great tip for stuff like this! Unfortunately insisting on the proper punctuation slightly ruins the good old "I for one, like Roman numerals" joke

        6 votes
      2. [4]
        crius
        Link Parent
        When I was in primary school (Italy) the Italian teacher spent a great deal explaining that "the punctuation is not mute". Comma, full stop, etc., are all indications of how and when to breath and...

        When I was in primary school (Italy) the Italian teacher spent a great deal explaining that "the punctuation is not mute".

        Comma, full stop, etc., are all indications of how and when to breath and take pauses when reading.

        I found that teaching to be applicable to every language that have punctuation (no idea if there are any without) and really make this kind of doubts pretty trivial.

        3 votes
        1. [3]
          Archimedes
          Link Parent
          Yeah, I almost always put commas before a "but" clause even though I don't think it's grammatically proper because that's how I would say the sentence.

          Yeah, I almost always put commas before a "but" clause even though I don't think it's grammatically proper because that's how I would say the sentence.

          1 vote
          1. [2]
            Buddy
            Link Parent
            That’s what you’re supposed to do. A comma almost always comes before the word “but.”

            That’s what you’re supposed to do. A comma almost always comes before the word “but.”

            1. Archimedes
              Link Parent
              Yes, but only when connecting two independent clauses. That accounts for the majority of my cases though, so I think I'm doing it right most of the time.

              Yes, but only when connecting two independent clauses. That accounts for the majority of my cases though, so I think I'm doing it right most of the time.

      3. tilde
        Link Parent
        Good, I've always typed it like that but see a lot of other people type it "incorrectly". Thanks for the explanation!

        Good, I've always typed it like that but see a lot of other people type it "incorrectly". Thanks for the explanation!

        2 votes
    2. [3]
      Blaises
      Link Parent
      It seems like both versions are acceptable. I checked a few different sites and there doesn't seem to be an established 'correct' way to place the commas. The funny thing is that I can imagine...

      It seems like both versions are acceptable. I checked a few different sites and there doesn't seem to be an established 'correct' way to place the commas.
      The funny thing is that I can imagine hearing someone say them both ways and it still gets the point across.

      1. Algernon_Asimov
        Link Parent
        There is. A non-essential relative clause like "for one" should be punctuated with a comma at the start and a comma at the end. Basically, it's just a little tidbit of extra information about the...

        there doesn't seem to be an established 'correct' way to place the commas.

        There is. A non-essential relative clause like "for one" should be punctuated with a comma at the start and a comma at the end. Basically, it's just a little tidbit of extra information about the person being spoken about in the sentence (the subject: in this case, "I"). It functions almost like parentheses: you could put the clause into parentheses without significantly changing the sentence. As such, it is separate from the rest of the sentence.

        A good rule of thumb is that, if the clause can be removed from the sentence and the remaining sentence reads correctly, the clause itself should be enclosed by commas. In this case, "for one" can be removed from "I, for one, prefer fizz over buzz." to leave "I prefer fizz over buzz", which is a correct and proper sentence. Therefore, "for one" is a non-essential clause, and should be enclosed by commas.

        5 votes
      2. Buddy
        Link Parent
        It should be, “I, for one, blah blah blah,” with a comma after the “I” and after “one.” Any other way is incorrect. Punctuation isn’t random; there are rules for it that are set in stone. You...

        It should be, “I, for one, blah blah blah,” with a comma after the “I” and after “one.” Any other way is incorrect. Punctuation isn’t random; there are rules for it that are set in stone. You don’t just throw random commas in a sentence, they are there for a reason and belong in certain places. Saying, “I for one, blah blah blah,” is an incorrect use of a comma. You don’t say, “I for one,” all together and then pause before the rest of the sentence like the comma implies. You say, “I,” and then a slight pause before you specify “for one,” and then carry on with the sentence. Commas indicate a pause in the sentence, for lack of a more in-depth explanation.

        They can also be used in some places with a function similar (not identical to, just similar) to parentheses. In that case, the sentence should function with or without the words in between the two commas. The sentence we have been discussing is a good example of this. “I, for one, like using commas,” can also work with the words in between the commas removed. “I like using commas.” Again, you don’t just put commas wherever you feel like putting them. There is a specific use for them and anything other than that use is incorrect. “I for one, like using commas,” is incorrect because there should be a comma after “I.” The sentence just doesn’t function with a pause only after the word “one,” so you should either put the other comma in or just take out “for one” all together.

        Just because it still gets the point across doesn’t mean the use of punctuation marks is correct. We can still read the words, which is why the point still gets across, but there is still only one correct way to place the commas. Commas and other punctuation marks exist for a reason. They help us read sentences. The words are not all you need to know in order to read a sentence properly.

        2 votes
  5. [2]
    Crash
    Link
    I always thought it was (at least partially) people memeing with a Simpsons reference. http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/i-for-one-welcome-our-new-insect-overlords

    I always thought it was (at least partially) people memeing with a Simpsons reference.

    http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/i-for-one-welcome-our-new-insect-overlords

    1 vote
    1. iiv
      Link Parent
      I second this. I've never heard anyone say it seriously, just as a reference to Simpsons.

      I second this. I've never heard anyone say it seriously, just as a reference to Simpsons.

      2 votes
  6. Caelic
    Link
    How about "It's almost as if" to give whatever you say next that passive aggressive sarcasm that will turn off anyone who reads it

    How about "It's almost as if" to give whatever you say next that passive aggressive sarcasm that will turn off anyone who reads it

    1 vote
  7. [3]
    letswatchstartrek
    Link
    I haven't noticed it with that phrase specifically, but I've noticed similar trends with other phrases (e.g. "sauce?" And staring a comment in an AskReddit thread with "it's my time to shine!"). I...

    I haven't noticed it with that phrase specifically, but I've noticed similar trends with other phrases (e.g. "sauce?" And staring a comment in an AskReddit thread with "it's my time to shine!"). I wonder if it's a conscious or a subconscious thing. Maybe people see a highly-upvoted comment with certain phrasing and imitate it hoping to get karma. Or maybe it's a form of cognitive bias. The more they see others use the phrase, the more likely they'll use it themselves.

    1. [2]
      Archimedes
      Link Parent
      I think the term "meme" captures it quite well.

      I think the term "meme" captures it quite well.

      A meme is an idea, behavior, or style that spreads from person to person within a culture—often with the aim of conveying a particular phenomenon, theme, or meaning represented by the meme. A meme acts as a unit for carrying cultural ideas, symbols, or practices, that can be transmitted from one mind to another through writing, speech, gestures, rituals, or other imitable phenomena with a mimicked theme.

      2 votes
  8. DundonianStalin
    Link
    Well I for one agree with you. Sorry couldn't resist. I think that's exactly where it comes from, I vaguely remember using it as a trick to make a sentence take up a paragraph to increase word...

    Well I for one agree with you. Sorry couldn't resist.

    There's nothing wrong with using the phrase, it just reads like someone trying to pad out an essay for school.

    I think that's exactly where it comes from, I vaguely remember using it as a trick to make a sentence take up a paragraph to increase word count. Now I always have to reread my posts to make sure I'm not still doing it subconsciously.

  9. ContemplativePanda
    Link
    This happens because of the culture of offense we have nowadays. Everyone feels the need to ensure that it is known they are asserting their opinion to avoid being criticized by those who are...

    This happens because of the culture of offense we have nowadays. Everyone feels the need to ensure that it is known they are asserting their opinion to avoid being criticized by those who are angered over things like that. I find myself doing it too - well that's fine but IN MY OPINION - because I don't want the discussion to turn into some argument of "well this offends me" or "you can't say that!". And this seems to stem from our overall culture of taking offense or getting heated at everything.