Familiar Fallback for Officials: ‘Mistakes Were Made’ – New York Times


The New York Times details a history of the phrase, “mistakes were made”, which has seen some heavy use in Washington since the era of Tricky Dick the First. I particularly liked this zinger from the final paragraph:

The nonconfessions inspired William Schneider, a political guru here, to note a few years ago that Washington had contributed a new tense to the language. “This usage,” he said, “should be referred to as the past exonerative.”

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