Do no harm — an important litotes

Nosiree, I didn’t commit a typographical error in the title. A litotes* is a figure of speech, and a common one at that. It is, according to a Webster clone, an “understatement for effect”, especially when expressed by a negative to the contrary. In plainer words, you use a negative when you mean a positive.

An example: You say, “I have not a few regrets.” You mean, “I have many, many regrets.”

Another example: You say, “That’s not bad.” You mean, “That’s really good!” Continue reading “Do no harm — an important litotes”

What he said and what he meant

If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away…” (Matthew 5:29a).

I explained during a sermon that a particular statement Jesus made was hyperbole and that it wasn’t intended literally. I was told by someone afterward that I should be ashamed because “the Bible means what it says,” and that I shouldn’t “ad lib” for the Bible. Continue reading “What he said and what he meant”