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Parenthetically speaking, you're fired!

I once had an English teacher who was a stickler for grammar rules. You would think this would be a given for any English teacher, but I've actually had English teachers who have bungled our beloved language more than our President has.

This teacher told us a story of an official at a school where he once taught who felt the need to preface all of his points with the phrase "Parenthetically speaking". Anyone who knows anything about English knows that "parenthetically" is related to "parentheses". In writing, anything enclosed in parentheses is considered non-essential. If, then, you are speaking parenthetically, you're not saying anything important.

Prior to the next staff meeting, the teacher made a bet with a colleague that he would exit the room as soon as this school official uttered the words "Parenthetically speaking". As expected, at the staff meeting, our friend began speaking parenthetically. The teacher, whom I respected even more for this incident, left the meeting.

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