if you’ll pardon the expression

brainstorming

Senior Member
Portugal, Portuguese
Hi everyone

Can I use "if you’ll pardon the expression" in a text on Art or is it used in oral speech? Maybe it is too informal and cannot be used in this context...

The 1925 Exposition digested all those movements, if you’ll pardon the expression.

thanks in advance
 
  • brainstorming

    Senior Member
    Portugal, Portuguese
    Could you please provide the entire sentence?

    The use of "movement" in discussing art is quite common so I fail to see why this should be any cause for concern.
    This is the entire sentence. It is not the use of "movement" but of "digest". If I translated the sentence literally it would be:

    The 1925 Exposition digested all that, if you’ll pardon the expression.

    That would refer to several art movements mentioned in the previous sentence of my text
     

    bibliolept

    Senior Member
    AE, Español
    Perhaps "in a manner of speaking" or "as it were" would be more sensible stylistic flourishes to append. They ask the reader to use his imagination by warning him or her that your phrasing is not used in the usual manner or your words don't have precisely their usual meaning.
     

    out2lnch

    Senior Member
    English-Canada
    I find that when such expressions are used, it calls attention to something the author wishes to subtly point out, in the way of a pun. What I mean is, if the text is just as it is and is intended to be read that way, there's no reason to use if you'll pardon the expression. If you wanted to draw attention to a word or implication, and then are excusing yourself for it, then it might be more appropriate.

    For example, if you're saying that the art movements at the time were excrement, then said that the Exposition digested all these movements along with that expression, I would look to see where the hidden joke, meaning etc. was hidden. I'd naturally assume it was in the use of 'movements', as in 'bowel movements'. If that expression weren't there, it wouldn't draw attention to the fact that the words were purposely chosen for effect; the reader might assume that it was unintentional or miss it altogether.

    Compare to no pun intended. Oftentimes, the pun may have gone unnoticed, but by calling attention to the fact that it wasn't intended, it shows that it either was planned, or at least appreciated by the speaker and perhaps wants others to register it. Hope that helps.

    As for whether the expression is suitable in writing, I suppose it depends on the tone and formality of the work.
     

    ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    For example, if you're saying that the art movements at the time were excrement, then said that the Exposition digested all these movements along with that expression, I would look to see where the hidden joke, meaning etc. was hidden. I'd naturally assume it was in the use of 'movements', as in 'bowel movements'. If that expression weren't there, it wouldn't draw attention to the fact that the words were purposely chosen for effect; the reader might assume that it was unintentional or miss it altogether.
    That was exactly how I read it.
     
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