Pet peeve: “A more nuanced position”

Original statement: “I prefer coffees with notes of chocolate and nuts.”

Misunderstanding: “Sorry, we don’t have hazelnut syrup.”

Unfair exaggeration: “He hates any coffee that doesn’t taste nutty.”

Nuance: “Can you tell the difference between a hazelnut note and a toasted almond note?”*

When I hear a person or company say anything like, “we take a more nuanced opinion,” it sounds to me like they mean “You’re basically right, but just sounds so awful when you say it like that.” If their words or position had been taken out of context, or misunderstood, or exaggerated, then they could disagree and say that’s not their position, or an oversimplification.

Nuance is like detail. But if you say you have a more detailed opinion, it just sounds like you’re saying that you believe you’re right, and you think any rational person would agree. This, of course, is how every person feels about what they believe. If you felt it was rational to think something else, you’d already think that.

The broad strokes of your opinion or argument shouldn’t hang on subtlety. Make it clear.

*No, I can’t. Either my palette isn’t refined enough, or it’s marketing speak. I don’t mind either way.

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