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Propriety

 

Disciplines Argument > Virtues of Style > Propriety

Description | Example | Discussion | See also

 

Description

Be careful in your words that they are apt and fit well with one another and also that they match the situation and create a decent sense of decorum.

Be moderate in what you say. Neither exaggerate beyond reason nor hide your light under a bushel.

Be considerate of other people and their sensitivities to particular forms of language.

Example

I've had a f***ing good idea. (not a lot of propriety)

I have had a very good idea. (better - less cause of offence)

I have had a an idea. (even better - less boastful)

Discussion

Propriety is generally context-sensitive, and what is apt in one situation will lack propriety in another.

Vices of propriety include the use of boorish, crude language, particularly in polite company (and also when you are not absolutely sure of the company you are in).

See also

Values

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