Submitted by nancyfriedman  •  October 28, 2006

“I’m just saying”

I’m interested in the origins of “I’m just saying” used postpositively. (Also its variant: “I’m not saying, I’m just saying.”) An example: “Have you ever noticed how many people end statements with qualifiers? I’m just saying.” It seems to be an update of “With all due respect,” or perhaps something I’m not thinking of. Is it an East Coast expression? I’m from California and have never heard it in speech, but have noticed it frequently in blog titles and posts.

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Hmm, everytime I or my friends say "I'm just sayin'" we're usually pointing out a truth or opinion that most people don't want to hear or are afraid to say aloud. But at the same time, we're hoping they don't get offended or throw a fit. Most often though, it's said after something fairly humorous, leaving the listener to their own conclusion.

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I have to agree with Ben C's comment. I have a friend that uses this as part of his daily vocabulary.

This is a phrase which has a two part effect: 1) to deflect what would be a strong disgust/disagreement with that person's argument and 2)inserting the mere placeholder of a possibility that the argument is valid (though hollow).

I really hate that term. It's really an attempt to make an end run an extremely weak argument to make the declarant's point good in the face of overwhelming impeaching evidence or argument. The person using this term doesn't have to or want to invest any amount critical thinking skills and logic to support their position.

I'd be dismissive of that type of person as being an academically dishonest cretin.

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I have always taken this to assure that the statement that precedes it is not intended to begin a discussion for the purposes of trying to decide whether it is true, etc., but is intended just to sort of post your opinion.

"That shirt doesn't really go with those pants... I'm just sayin’..." (In my mind’s eye, this statement is delivered with shrugged shoulders and hands turned palms toward the recipient, fingers up, a posture of "I'm not looking for a fight.")

Without the latter statment, this would be an invitation to discuss it. But with the latter, it is more a piece of information for the recipient to do with as he wills--take it or leave it.

Or, if Sue says to Bob, "My boyfriend thinks I talk too much." Then he says, "You do talk a lot... I'm just saying..."

This provides Sue with input that she talks a lot (in a neutral way--neither good nor bad). But Bob is NOT saying, "...and it bothers me, too." He isn't taking up the boyfriend's fight as a proxy, nor is he opening a battle front of his own--he doesn't really care how much Sue talks. But he cares for Sue, so he provides her with his opinion, though making it clear that she can do with the info whatever she likes.

There are other appendages that can be used to modify statements in a way that is amusing, ways that make speech more fun to engage in, such as "so to speak..."

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It means, "Don't blame the messenger, but let's agree the truth if it is obvious."

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East Coast guy here, and I hear it in speech all the time. Tends to be used as, "I'm not claiming it's absolutely true; I'm just saying what I think." But often its intent is the opposite: "Since what I just said is so obviously true I can concede that it might not be true, thereby showing just how true it really is."

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I'm inclined to believe that the general use of the postpositive "I'm just saying" is meant to excuse having said something impolite or inappropriate. It seems akin to the prepositive use of "I'm not a racist but...," just before the expression of an altogether racist sentiment.

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I'm also a California native, yet hear it all the time. Assuming of course it is a regional thing (I'm specifically in Los Angeles) I think it is another slang saying that my generation has put being statements, so as to not offend anyone, or to place emphasis on the fact that it is an opinion being stated. Stating "I'm just saying" at the end is a sort of deflection of rebuttals before they happen. I doubt it has anything to do with location.

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My take is that it is a rhetorical device that has come to the fore as a result of political blogging and that its similar to "I'm just asking".

The speaker is being intentionally, sarcastically coy.

As in: "I'm not sure of her poltical background, but I'm pretty sure she doesn't own any bras. I'm just saying!"

I've heard it used that way both by left and right wing commentators.

"I'm not sure if those Obama people smoke dope, but do seem to giggle a lot after lunch. I'm just saying!"

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Yes, porsche, that's how I intended my comments. Let's use an example. Co-workers are discussing a man in their office who they suspect of cheating on his wife. Saying "I'm just saying, he left left his wedding ring at home last night" IS subtlely different than saying, "He left his wedding ring at home last night. I'm just saying." The latter, in what I've heard around me, does more toward implying inappropriate intentions on the part of the man.

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I disagree with Ben C.'s interpretation. I don't think it implies more innappropriate intentions. It just implies hearsay and uncertainty and that the speaker doesn't take responsibilty for what results may come of informing other people since he, himself is not even 100% certain. I think it's a substitute for saying "it's possible but not concrete."

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I'm sorry I'm sorry, this isn't paininthejapanese.com, but, I am living in Japan at the moment without a full comprehension of the language, so I notice this sort of stuff more (maybe when it's not your native language and you don't really understand all of it, the fillers and sentence trailers that you can recognize stand out more). People here end their sentences with "ke do" (but) or "no de..." (so...), or "toki ni" (at that time), or "sou iu koto de" (so to speak) all the time. Usually, these sentence trailers do nothing to the meaning of the sentence even though they do by themselves have meaning. Maybe "I'm just saying" used postpositively works similarly. The expression does have meaning, but what does it actually add to the point you're trying to convey? Maybe it is sometimes used for a purpose, but maybe it is often also just a linguistic tick.

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I hear it mostly with the under 30 age groups.

It is used as a statement qualifier for situations where someone doesn't have the backbone to take responsibility for the words coming out of their mouth.

The phrase is often tacked on to the end of a statement in an attempt shift the ownership of the words from the speaker/writer to some nebulous party out there somewhere.

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It's a cop out: a trial balloon. I won't speak from conviction because I don't want to offend anyone and I really don't have convictions. Those are too damn dangerous' someone might not like me. But there again, I'm just saying...

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I've noticed "Just sayin." getting used more often at the end of posts on message boards. Think some people like to use it as 'their' trademark/signature line. Also think some people use it to soften whatever has just been said; reminds me of "just kidding" when both parties know the person was serious.

I find it grating and not at all cute, but that is the case with most phrases that get grossly overused in speech and/or on line. There are a few things I'd like to see retired; if just LOL and OMG would go away, that would be great.

Just sayin.

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Along with many others, I found this page while googling the origin of the phrase.

I had assumed it was another sitcom catchphrase, and was surprised to see the original question asked 3 years ago. Perhaps it's built slowly, or I keep my head in the sand (no television, avoid magazines, etc.).

Unfortunately it's one of those expressions that causes me to sigh and roll my eyes. It's a useless piece of meaningless speech, an attempt at being humorous without actually including humor. When I think of the possibilities we have with our individualism, our freedom of speech and relatively decent education, I'm left wondering why people continually strive to sound like everyone else, repeat catchphrases and drag in references when they want to seem funny.

The funniest people I know aren't the ones who quote and pass on funny things they've heard and seen elsewhere. The funny people are intellectual, original and imaginative. Following your words with "...just sayin" is the exact opposite.

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Agree w/ Ben C. I interpret, "All I'm saying" as a statement intentionally devoid of supporting detail and background information so that it will either imply scandal and/or spur another party into saying what the "All I'm saying" originator was thinking.

Along that line, I suppose, "All I'm saying" is a tool of the sh1t stirrer.

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I'm so glad to have come across this conversation! :)

I'm studying to be a high-school teacher and I googled this term after a good friend of mine said (after a few beers), "Look at the facts. Nobody respects teachers anymore. I know you're enthusiastic and all, but you'd be mad to think that your profession has the credibility you'd like it to. You'll be burnt out after 5 years. JUST SAYIN'"

Now, I'd always loathed the phrase (used postpositively) even before this exchange, but this just reinforced my reasons for doing so. It assumes the right to say something without the responsibility of having to be held to account for it.

Besides, what is it to 'just say' something anyway? When you 'say' anything, you lose control of its meaning, inferences etc the moment it leaves your mouth and reaches the ears of your listeners. Most of the time, your listeners will largely understand the phrase as you meant it. However, this is often not the case, and when this happens it's the responsibility of the speaker to further clarify/justify his/her statement - that is, if you want to avoid offence or confusion.

It seems to me that 'just sayin' absolves the speaker from any responsibility to provide such a follow-up. So far as I can see, this can only mean that the speaker is unwilling or unable to explain or justify what was just said. Personally, I think you should keep your mouth shut in this case.

Ah, this was so cathartic :)

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I agree with John. It's used to be coy; tongue in cheek, as a capstone disclaimer.

And, yeah, very Jerry Seinfeld along the lines of, "Not that there's anything wrong with that."

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Adding "just sayin'" the the end of a phrase is passive-aggressive. If you are going to insult someone, own up to it. Pretending that your insult is OK by adding that stupid phrase is not OK. It's lame.

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I hope I'm not misinterpreting this, but, everyone, Nancy is not asking about the general expression "I'm just saying." She's specifically asking about the use of the expression postpositively, i.e., tacked onto the end of a sentence.

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I think I agree with Mike's interpretation. I have also heard it used to mean something like "Don't read more into this. Take it at face value. Don't infer anything beyond what I have actually said." I have frequently heard it used after a discussion escalates into an argument when someone misunderstood something. I Have never heard "all I'm saying" in a context that implies something scandalous. I have also never heard it used postpositively at all, and couldn't begin to imagine how that would change the meaning. As for "All's I'm sayin' is", I really couldn't imagine anyone ending a sentence that way, and certainly never heard it used that way either.

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I'm an old geezer (48) and am typecast as the guy in the office who says, "I'm not sayin'. I'm just sayin" I don't know where I scooped it from. It erupts from my mouth when I make an editorial comment about something or someone and don't want to be held responsible for the consequences of my comments.

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My son uses "Im just saying" as a way to wind me up in a disagreement and I thought this was just an argumentative child thing until a new woman started at work who also uses it to provoke an arguement...the thing is everytime she says it I just see a stroppy teenager and feel the urge to send her to her room :)

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im from vancouver, just north of cali and washington and i hear all the time. im only fifteen and ive always that it was just said in casual talks about nothing. i guess its just a random comment that really isnt sposed to be taken seriously.

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I made it up. It is from New England.

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I agree with Ben C and I find Mike W's interpretation to be bizarre. Are you a native English speaker, Mike? Your inability to pick up on the nuances of this construction indicates otherwise, as does your seeming inability to hear the implied inflection in your head. You must have a difficult time getting jokes. I'm just saying...

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My first exposure to the phrase was an episode of The Simpsons. After a particularly disappointing road trip, one character says, "This never would have happened if we'd gone to Macon, Georgia." When the other characters give him "the stare", he responds with "I'm just sayin', is all."

Apparently I picked up the phrase, and now am known for it myself.

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I hear those words spoken 50 times a day. "I'm Just Saying", "I'm Just Saying", "I'm Just Saying"... I take it as an insult to my Intelligence, especially when it's said at the end of a convesation. It's like the person saying it is trying to get in the last word and make their point about the conversation a step above yours. It's also like they're trying to put your opinion on the conversation down a notch, so my reply is usually "I know you're just saying, that's why you said it in the first place." and most of the times I get crossed looks from the person... Then I just laugh...

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I remember comedian Paul Reiser do a stand-up bit back in the '80s using the expression. I can't recall the entire bit verbatum, but I think he went on with "I'm not saying you're fat, I'm just sayin'. I don't think it or even mean it, I'm just sayin' it."

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I think that "I'm just saying" is a passive-aggressive phrase. You have stated your opinion and you feel unsure or defensive about it. It comes across as a desperate plea to avoid giving offence. "With all due respect" was mentioned - when some prefaces a comment "with all due respect", you are about to be insulted, criticised or belittled!

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I know this isn't a very constructive comment, and doesn't add a lot to this discussion, but I HATE the expression: "Just sayin'." Why did everyone start to use it, all of a sudden? Was it something in the collective linguistic unconscious???

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What ever happened to, "If you don't have anything nice to say..." All this seems like to me, is it allows people to say whatever they want, whenever they want and use a phrase like, "Just saying," to seemingly justify the comment. Now, the comment may have grains of truth, some truth, or half of the truth, but if you don't have the whole truth, then don't discuss it with someone who may be offended unless you have the testicular fortitude to be responsible for the words coming out of your mouth. If you're going to say something, say it and don't hide behind words that may confuse, disarm or otherwise discredit your statements. For that is who we are in the end, be proud of what you believe.

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Hmmm. I came here looking for the origin of "I'm just sayin' 'izall". I thought for sure it came from a movie or similar pop culture content. I think I've learned that its a specific variation of a (unknown) regional expression. I'm in Ottawa Canada & here we use as an after statement" it when we've inadvertantly caused an argument or controversy (how Canadian eh).

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The way I see it, there are two goals to ending your statement with, "I'm just saying." As stated above, it implies something, leading the listener to think a certain way. At the same time, it absolves the speaker of responsibility for whatever conclusion the listener may come to as a result.
Used in that way, it means: "I don't mean anything by it, but you're certainly welcome, and encouraged, to draw your own conclusions."
Of course, none of this actually answers the posed question of the phrase's origins.

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I dislike the term; just say what you're saying, and leave it. You don't need to use a scapegoat term and run-on sentence to end your thoughts. I like to reply back with "Just saying what? Finish your sentence."

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I agree with you, Frostable, and I've also noticed that the use of this phrase seems to be on the rise (which adds to its obnoxiousness). The response in most situations might well be a gentle , "Well then, how about just NOT saying, then?", in lieu of something more spirited which might get you into trouble!

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Yes, Emily, what you said:
"I always thought of it as making yourself sound more innocent, especially if it follows some kind of biting comment or teasing remark."

But there is also the "protest too much" inflection with which one can say "just sayin" You (seem to) step back from what you said only to draw the other person closer to its truth.

"What if we didn't have ice cream for desert? Just sayin."
"What if we don't go 75 miles an hour? Just sayin."

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i think it's a way of saying something to someone w/o saying it. the substance of what youre trying to point out to the other person is omitted but s/he stills gets the drift, as in:

im not sayin' youre ...

... putting on too much weight ...
... drinking too much ...
... spending too much money on ...

... im just sayin' ...

the words go unspoken but the point gets hopefully 'heard'

y'know ... im not sayin' ... im just sayin'

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I use it comical situations. It can add more punch to the punch line. I tend not to use it in every day speech and certainly not in more serious conversations.

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I thought I remembered a Seinfeld episode where Jerry gets into this analysis of the phrase where he points out that you can say just about anything negative or critical to another person as long as you follow it with "I'm just saying ...." If they protest further, you can defend your criticism by telling them, "I'm NOT 'saying' ... But I AM saying...." As always, Seinfeld makes the point that it is part of the new mindless gobbledygook that dribbles from the mouths of people nowadays.

It works like this:

You: Wow. Your ------- really stinks.

Her: What? What are you saying.

You: I'm just saying that your ------- really stinks.

Her: I'm not sure I like you saying that to me. That hurts my feelings.

You: No. No. I'm NOT "SAYING," ... But I AM saying ... that, um, your ------- really stinks.

Her: Oh. Um. Okay.

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To all the people that write that they came here to find the derivation of the phrase, someone already posted a use of the phrase that dates to the 1940's. It was used in a play. Go through the thread an reread. You missed it.

As far as the meaning behind it, I found that "ridethgus" summed up its passive aggressive quality quite well:


Ridethgus (unregistered)
January 6, 2007, 10:49pm
"im from vancouver, just north of cali and washington and i hear all the time. im only fifteen and ive always that it was just said in casual talks about nothing. i guess its just a random comment that really isnt sposed to be taken seriously."

"casual talks about nothing", "random", and "isn't sposed to be taken seriously" perfectly sum up the lack of ownership for one's questionable intentions, words, and attitudes when using the phrase "just sayin' ".

"Random" is another heinous word that erases thought. It means nothing other than, "I don't understand what was just said or what just happened and I don't know HOW to think it out or describe it properly, or maybe I just don't LIKE what happened, so I will try to build group consensus against that event by saying, "That was random." So, "random" is a perfect way to deny the insulting intent behind the phrase "just sayin".

Or, there is W.F.:

W.F. (unregistered)
January 31, 2007, 11:54pm
Hmm, everytime I or my friends say "I'm just sayin'" we're usually pointing out a truth or opinion that most people don't want to hear or are afraid to say aloud. But at the same time, we're hoping they don't get offended or throw a fit. Most often though, it's said after something fairly humorous, leaving the listener to their own conclusion."

Translation: We use it when we want to make fun of someone by saying something that we know will hurt their feelings or by pointing out that their position is assinnine, and at the same time we want to make sure they are so thoroughly ridiculed that they have nothing to say. "Leaving the listener to their own conclusion" means that since nothing of substance backs up the insult, there is nothing to argue against.

I absolutely love Vwmoll's idea for a response: "Well try just NOT saying it." Perfect.
Of course, we have to accept that the response might be, "Dude, no offense, I was just sayin." Even apologies can be passive aggressive. It's hard to communicate with people that make a point of not thinking.

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Beats the hell out of awesome...I am so sick of hearing that word! Just sayin'

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In almost all instances that I have seen, this phrase follows a comment which could be critical, controversial, incendiary, or rude. Tacking it on the end of a sentence usually implies, "but don't get defensive," or "I don't want an argument." However, because it withdraws the critic from the critical statement issued, this makes it all the more frustrating to reply to.

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I feel as though I've heard this in films or TV shows from the 50s... but with an added "that's all" -"I'm just saying, that's all!" - in instances where advice or information was being given by someone and a negative reaction was anticipated or sometimes seen by the listener, so then the speaker quickly said that phrase as if to halt the reaction and sort of smooth it over. I distinctly recall it being used on Seinfeld and The Simpsons as well.

Personally, I dislike it's current usage or over-usage and see it as an insinuation. Whether that be insinuating something is true or false, insinuating that the person can't be held accountable for what was just said, or suggesting that the reader/listener draw their own conclusions based on the info, it's all insinuation to me. Insinuations by nature, are indirect statements - to me, a sign of one who may prefer to avoid confrontation/responsibility and not offend anyone. Whether you find this to be a positive or negative trait, is completely subjective, and for me, it's a case-by-case basis. I'm not big on generalizations and I think the intentions behind speech sometimes don't match what is being said.

There are those who'll throw in that kind of thing simply because they picked it up in their vocab. There are others who's humor is such that "just sayin'" fits in perfectly as a post-punchline to whatever they were attempting to make a joke of. That kind of usage of the phrase makes me think of the old saying "there's truth in jest." In finding humor in truth, you risk offending anyone living with that truth.

In reading comments here, it bothers me to think that some feel saying "just sayin" gives the message that "I don't want to discuss this" or "I'm not trying to fight." It's almost like using a silencer ("just sayin") at the end of a loaded gun (what was said before "just sayin"). If someone is broaches a topic with another, whether light-hearted or serious, that other person shouldn't feel compelled to not be able to discuss their opinion or thoughts as well. Maybe the fact that a little statement like "just sayin" can be as powerful as to 1) provoke this much interest 2) be believed by some to disable further comment on the subject by the listener/reader 3) be used as frequently as it is 3) understood to have both ill-intended and well-intended meanings; says something about the state of "Freedom of Speech" and maybe even the mentality of a large population in this country. As I said, I see "just sayin" no matter the intent, as a type of insinuation or implication, a way of saying something indirectly. Why would so many feel the need to be this indirect if in fact we felt comfortable, confident and secure with the speech we have the freedom to use, as well as with ourselves and others whom we choose to have conversations with? Is it our fears, whatever they may be, that hold us back from total direct expression of what's REALLY on our minds? THAT is what I'm saying, and it's totally up for discussion! =)

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That phrase -- which I like, too, in moderation -- sounds as if it comes from Jewish comedians of the 1930s and 1940s, possibly from Yiddish theater and drama of the era, or possibly the stereotype of the Jewish mama, the zenta, who is usually a nagger: nags her husband, her children, her sister in Brooklyn. For example:

"I'm not saying marry a rich boy, Rachel, but it's just as easy to fall in love with someone rich as it is with someone poor. I'm just saying .. "

The rich, earthy, usually wise resonances of colloquial Jewish American speech seem to come across in this phrase. It's subtler and often more persuasive than saying, "Now listen, I'm not ordering you, but .. " or "I'm not telling you what to do, but .. "

Maybe the famous "Molly Goldberg" said it on her radio program or "Mrs.Nussbaum", or Hermoine Gingold, or someone like that. That's my guess.

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Jan, I think "refuse" is to strong. One declines to elaborate or defend because
1) one wishes to avoid picking a fight. Sometimes the phrase "just saying," by suggesting that one is avoiding a fight, introduces a sense of contentiousness which was not there before
2) one is not vehement about the statement. One just wants the other to consider. Underlying this is the suggestion that the other persons resistance itself indicates that it may have some truth to it.

Example:
- Could he just be trying to get your attention?
- No!
- Just saying.

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My favorite is, "Alls I'm sayin' is". It's definitely a derivative of, "I'm just saying." I'm just saying is something that comes up in daily conversation. It's used exactly has Ben C. showed in his example. It very subtly changes a statement, but does so all the same.

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I think it can be used as a way of distancing oneself; a way of asserting something while at the same time claiming that it's not necessarily one's own opinion, perhaps to avoid offense. Say, something like "I'm just saying, If you paint your car purple, some people might think you're a bit weird." Translation: You're my friend. I'll support you no matter what you do. I don't think you're weird, but you might want to reconsider your aesthetic choices a bit. Alternate translation: You're my friend, but if you do this everyone, me included, will think you're friggin' nuts. I'm trying to warn you diplomatically so we can both save face.

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Culling from posts by Rick, "seems to be a fad phrase"; Jan, "little capability of independent thought"; and Pliny "internet-non-speak" I think sums it up.
The post-positive phrase "Just saying" is about as intelligent, insightful, and meaningful as a submarine in the Sahara. I just ignore it and hope it is a short-lived fad.

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I'm just saying how I feel, man/ I ain't one of the Cosby's I ain't go to Hill, man

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I'm from Oregon and recently noticed that phrase being used a lot, especially on facebook. Not sure where it originated or when, but it seems to be a fad phrase that has become popular by phony types who think it's cool and hip to say it and that they are cool and hip by using it, but really the opposite is probably true...they are followers with no originality. I may sound a bit harsh and cynical, but just making my point. I hate the over-usage of it and place it among other dreaded fad phrases such as "you go girl."

To clarify, people will say some random statement that could stand alone as said and then they'll add "I'm just saying" or "Just saying" after the statement. The statements can range anywhere from "Justin Bieber needs a hair stylist. Just Saying," to "Obama and FCC sell out on net neutrality. Just saying."

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Bingo! Those who use this phrase have little capability of independent thought.

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Looks to me like "I am just saying" is just a way to deliver an insult, spread a rumor, seed a doubt, hurt and pretend to not mean it. I am just saying.

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This is one of the most irritating phrases of all. Obviously the speaker is saying something. Whenever I hear it it makes me want to say "You've made your point. Now be silent. Better yet, next time you want to fill the air with noise, think again." It's a waste of words but is also a sign that someone wants to have the last word. Control freaks and those who are insecure tend to be the worst offenders. Be quiet! Don't "just say" -- button it!

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I first saw this phrase this summer, used by a friend on Facebook. Basically she uses it in place of "for what it's worth." Usually it follows something said tongue-in-check with a bit of a smirky grin implied.

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funny use of it here...

http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/wed-october-2...

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Hmmm... I just thought that I would GOOGLE this phrase and see what I come up with. I was looking for the origin of the phrase: "I'm just saying!" It has struck me as in general usage (as pointed out in other posts) for the past 4 or 5 years. But maybe it has been longer. If Jerry Seinfeld did a skit on it I wonder if its origins are on the East Coast. Here I am on the West Coast (Wet Coast) of Canada.
Thanks, everyone, for the comments.

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This is like my favorite saying... "I'm not saying, I'm just saying" LOL we always say it at work... I work at a big box retail store and we must say this like a million times during our weekly manager meeting. I love it, we have a blast! It's just fun to say!

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Perhaps in 2006 when this was posted, the saying was "I'm just saying." By now it has become "just sayin" and appears on national TV, in ads, and even on CNN as Jon Stewart famously pointed out:
http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/tue-august-18... http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/08/19/jon-st...

Used effectively, it allows one to say something bold or raise an uncomfortable question while assuring the listener that one does not mean to offend or pick a fight. In a more subtle usage, one tags this phrase to the end of a sentence in order to alert the listener that one has in fact said something controversial ("fighting words"), which might not have been evident from the statement alone. For example: "If we repair the levy this area will be able to withstand a hurricane. Just sayin."

Overused, it is yet another way to refrain from stating your view with conviction, just like the annoying habit of intoning statements as questions and demanding reassurance for every word and phrase before expressing a thought.

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Basically "I'm just saying" or the more colloquial, I'm just sayin', is a humorous way of pointing out a flaw in logic, often delivered as a quip or a jab. The intended purpose can be to stop someone from continuing an already illogical argument or statement, or as a way of rebutting the statement once it is completed. When properly delivered, it is a devastatingly witty means of ending an argument that also makes the intended mark rethink their train of thought and provides fodder for any bystanders.

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OP is a faggot!! I'm just sayin'..

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Interesting. This came up twice in e-mails recently (here on the East Coast) and I wasn't sure how to interpret it.

In one case, I sent a group e-mail reminding everyone about a deadline from the previous day (I'm the project manager). In a group of 8, only 3 of us had met the deadline. In my reminder, I didn't mention anybody by name, not even myself -- I asked everyone who hadn't made the deadline to please get their stuff in ASAP. I got kind of a hissy note from one of those who did make the deadline, saying: "It hurts my feelings to be lumped in with all these slackers who can't get their work done on time. Just sayin'." I'm still not sure what to make of it.

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In my area people who use this expression don't even bother to write or say "I'm just saying". It is always "jus sayin". It drives me INSANE!

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I needed to know what some people were talking about when they used this phrase (as each had a different definition of what the phrase means to them), so I looked it up in the urban dictionary.

Urban Dictionary: just saying
Just saying: a phrase used to indicate that we refuse to defend a claim we've made---in other words, that we refuse to offer reasons that what we've said is true.

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Oops, I guess one does, if not the other.

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I hate the term! I see it used as a narcissistic way of saying "I'm bragging, or look at me." Example: "sailing through the Straits of Gilbralter."

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Read the Urban Dictionary online, I'm just saying.

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It's part of my ever-growing email...composed entirely of internet-non-speak.

So far I've got:

"How's that working out for you? Al Gore invented it. I'm just saying."

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Jan, I think "I am not here to argue" is also an implied meaning of "just saying."

Also wanted to share an apt usage of the phrase that I spotted in a comment to the article on Gravity in the New York Times:

http://community.nytimes.com/comments/www.nytim...

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Jan, are you suggesting that the Urban Dictionary is an irrefutable source of English usage? I think what several people are trying to point out to you is that the Urban Dictionary (by their own admission) is just a big open blog where anybody can post whatever they want.

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I'm just saying that "i'm just saying" is annoying. I'm just saying.

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porsche, if you have read and understand my original post you would know the answer to this. To fill you in, I simply supplied a viable definition to "just saying", the best and most correct one in fact, and apparently there are some who were reading more into it than the simple answer. Some are picking at things that have nothing to do with the original post and cannot be reeled back in. Again, I am NOT "suggesting anything or giving any personal opinions. I simply offered a great reference to help. I am not here to debate anyone. Many are just jumping in without understanding, and picking apart the last post & specific words; and asking questions that are off the topic. They have not even seen the big picture, just one post or reply. That is all.

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Over 50 years ago, Col. John R. Stingo, The Honest Rainmaker, told the story of “the White Robin Authenticity setup.” Rumors of the unique bird’s appearance in South Jersey began a betting frenzy among the New York gambling crowd. Finally, after observers from both sides made the trip and a photo was taken in evidence, all bets were paid off. Turns out, though, the original rumor-monger’s brother had done “a little Rembrandting on the good horse Ahmadoun” a decade before. Col. Stingo explains:

“Made this Ahmaudon look like a certain $1500 Claimer entered in a race that same afternoon. The conspirators got the Price and they reaped the harvest. Without customary Easel or Pastel, somebody could have done as neat a Job on White Robin.
I’m only Saying, that’s all.”

[From Stingo’s column, Yea Verily, March 3, 1945 in the Enquirer, according to A.J.
Liebling in The Jollity Building, The Library of America edition, p. 479.]

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oops, "p" is me.

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so many comments... I'm just saying...

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people that say im just saying dont realize that just saying your words you already dissed somebody without thinkin bout what you just said.there is a process without using thought and logic because it's america and many ppl just open their mouth without realizing the concenses of their words.for example if a man said to a woman he dont even know yo you got a fat ass and the woman says what? the man would reply stupidly im just saying you got a fat ass without even getting to know that person he insulted.so yes it can be insulting because in society you cant cure stupitdy.but he used a poor choice of words when looking at the lady.im just saying he said to the lady is telling her she knows she has a big rear but he annouced it to the world without thought and felt like saying it because the world is covered with 90 percent idiots who say the dumbest things without thinking .plus it showed his lack of class and judgement.with the american education system down the toilet and we're near dead last we better step our game up.otherwise saying im just saying after a insult gonna lead to more funerals.point made.no im just saying because people dont get to the point after they say it.end.

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"Just saying"..I see it as a disclaimer of sorts..A way to not really own what your point is..Non commital..Probably most often used when giving an opinion or taking a guess at something..Also a point of emphasis..

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I could be mistaken but I swear Eddie Murphy referenced the expression "I'm just saying" in one of his early comedy routines (perhaps Raw or Delirious) from the 80s.

Ever since then I've been using that expression. His point was that you can diffuse tension or turn around the meaning by saying "I'm just saying" or by repeating the offensive remark.

Example 1:

"You're ugly!"
"What?! Who you callin' ugly?!"
"Relax! I'm just saying you're ugly."
"Um, okay."

Example 2:

"You're ugly!"
"What? Who you callin' ugly?!"
"You're not UGLY ugly, you're just ugly."
"Um, okay."

So Eddie Murphy surely didn't come up with the expression, but 30-somethings like me probably learned it from him and help spread the expression.

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Comically, I just asked my co-worker, who used the phrase "I'm just saying" postpositively, if she were quoting a movie. I hear this phrase all the time now. Hailing from New Jersey, I realize it may be common back east, but in Idaho, where I now reside, it has suddenly crept into common usage.

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I think the remark is the same as saying " I don't have room to talk but ...... -I'm just saying" . Also it is a way of initiating insult without Accountability .

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I've always considered the postpositive "I'm just saying" to be analogous to speaking loudly to non-English speakers to make them understand. To me, the expression translates to "I see I haven't convinced you yet, so I'll just restate my conclusion without anything further to support it. There--now don't you agree???"

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''Just saying'' ~ a blurb at the end of a stement used by youth today to protect themselves. The once ever popular ''Just joking'' was also used at the end of a sentence....when my sons would say something that they thought their father or I would not approve of they would always follow up with a ''just joking''....now that they are older they are using ''Just saying''...in a few years it will be something else...

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I actually found this blog while googling the exact definition of the term "just saying," but here's my two cents. I generally use it as a sort of disclaimer, a verbal 'throwing up the hands in innocence' if you will. I use it after a joke or tease directed at a friend. On one hand it's a disclaimer, but it's also a way to let them know it *was* a joke, and not an actual mean-spirited comment.

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I hoped someone would know the origin of this phrase. I'm just sayin.

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It means,"take it as you wish and I don´t want to discuss about it."
Ex.:
That´s my understanging, I´m just saying.

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oops.

That´s my understanding, I´m just saying.

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Roger, maybe it was just a typo, but I think you mean yenta, not zenta.

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Thank you, yes. It was both a typo and an absent-minded error. Thanks for correcting me.

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I've lived in NYC, Charleston, SC, Chicago and Berkeley, CA...I started hearing it in Berkeley a few years ago actually but now hear it everywhere. I often use the phrase or hear it--especially at work in my design meetings or when someone has a hunch or opposing idea.

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AO-

Ending sentences with lots of words to cushion your statement is definitely a big thing in Japanese, especially among girls, who were the majority of my conversation partners when I lived there. Sometimes half the words in someone's conversation will be those sorts of cushion or apology words (especially "nandakedo" used without a particular meaning, such as in "moshimoshi, Emirii dakedo, ano..", where you're basically apologising for being yourself). Equivalents of "um" ("anou", especially "saa" where I was) also take up a lot of Japanese speech. It helped me a lot because it gave me time to understand the useful information in between, but it also makes people seem overly apologetic to my ears. I'm not sure where "toki ni" fits in though - it's usually used in the middle of a sentence, no?
I guess "Just sayin'" is kind of apologetic as well, but I always thought of it as making yourself sound more innocent, especially if it follows some kind of biting comment or teasing remark.

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I started hearing this used on forums a lot in the past year. For some reason, I LIKE it!

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Thanks for the info.
Can you recall who said..."good night Mrs. ????? wherever you are"
Was in Jimmy Durante or Red Skelton??

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"Good night, Mrs. Calabash, wherever you are" was Jimmy Durante's radio sign-off.

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IMHO it's just a trend, a fad running itself around contemporary American speech. It reminds me a little of the overuse of the word "awesome" to describe just about anything positive. It also reminds me of the little bit Billy Crystal used to do imitating Ricardo Montelban on SNL with his line, "You Look Marvelous". That went around and everybody was saying that for a few months 20 years ago and then it died out. People pick up on stuff like that and it becomes the thing to say for a while. I'm just sayin'... (It IS fun to say!)

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Andrew, I'm a little confused by your examples. Nowhere do they actually include "I'm just saying".

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Best definition at Urban Dictionary is "A phrase that is used when someone is offended by something you said. This phrase then removes all the offensiveness of the previous statement, making it all good.

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Again, I was just gave the Urban Dictionary definition. Any other definition or opinion is nothing more than someone's personal opinion. You'll have to take it up with the Urban Dictionary as they are the definition experts, not me.

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Douglass, I'm not here to argue. I stated a simple fact. The definitions in UD are aprroved by a majority, just like any other acceptable law or definition is. Let it go.

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Wherever it originated, I wish it would go back there, and take along "What Everrr" and the rest of the nails on blackboard, jersey shore, punctuations! I'm NOT just sayinn!

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I see it first used in a family guy episode, 1999. I don't see earlier usages (after a quick poke around google results from 1990-2000.

http://www.tv.com/family-guy/i-never-met-the-de...

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(Flashback to Peter in Willy Wonka's factory)
Wonka: I'll ask you one more time, are you sure you didn't eat anything in my factory?
Peter: (appears as a giant blueberry) No.
Wonka: I'm just asking.
Peter: Are you calling me a liar?
Wonka: No, I'm just saying -
Peter: Hey, shut up Wonka! [edit]

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Same to you, Jan.

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I think "just saying" means,"I'm stating my opinion and I will not defend it or engage with criticism of it: just saying, not discussing, debating, analysing or anything else. My mind is made up, I'm telling you what I think, and that's that."

It seems to be a very American phenomenon. I wonder if it is connected with American attitudes towards free speech? Freedom of speech is an important part of the American psyche. By "just saying" something, do we imply that any criticism of our opinion is actually a criticism of the fact that we "just said" something? Does not every American read the phrase "just sayin'" and think "Well, of course they have every right"?

Just exercisin' constitutional rights.

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http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=...

funny buy good definitions...

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i already went over who started it!! It was in my earlier post! the underground comic BILLY KLEIN first started this saying!!

I'M JUST SAYIN'!!

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Along with "epic", "just saying" is one of those annoying, overused terms that drive you crazy until they disappear. Finding this discussion has been an "epic" moment for me!
The Seinfeld origin appears to be the best answer. The reason I came here was because I have spotted the phrase in writing, on the internet, far too many times in the last week. It is extremely annoying because the author is not saying anything. They are writing it!

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I completely agree with Cali girl (her comment posted December 11th 2006). It's the same in my region of California (in the mountains and hills East of Sacramento), or at least very similar. Here the statement just means: "It's a statement. Please don't look into it too far and please don't be offended." = I'm just saying.
I've only heard this phrase with this particular definition placed at the end of the sentence, whole topic, or end of the entire post.
Largely it just means please don't be offended and isn't meant to be placed at the end of insults and racial comments, just as an opinion or statement backer to prevent insults.

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EDIT: Here it's like 'no offence' but, with less offense... and I've also heard it as, and said it as (sorry) "just saying". I've never heard it over used here, though. "Like" is the word over used here and it is entirely annoying. I've read some of the comments and I guess the "I'm just saying" phrase in my area is different than others, as it isn't used with insults.

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simple -

"IJS"=Unless it hasn't already hasn't been observed, I AM a terribly illiterate psychopath, with nothing better to do than attempt to make a comment on a matter, of which, I obviously know nothing about! Essentially, this is an attempt to avert PC disqualification, while at the same time, offering the heart-felt, yet iniquitous, extension of my real 'feelings'.

Please extend me the honor of pretention. Pretention that encompasses the assertion, that perhaps, aforementioned comment never occurred. Unless however, under the most egregious circumstances, one has agreed with aforementioned comment; in which case, aforementioned comment DID cross these non-confrontational (yet, unfortunately opinionated) lips!

ie "...If I was 2½ , I would say..."

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I guess the assertion "I'm just saying" is a bit like the preface "I'm not being rude, but ..." and then saying something rude. Quite daft, really. It is a conversational habit in my neck of the woods. A bit like the current mania for people to say "if I'm honest", or "I have to be honest" or "I'll be honest with you". You want to call back "No! Lie, like you always do!, go on, treat yourself!" when you this daft verbal litter spattering the conversation.

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EtLLXjLEkdY

They use it twice here :)

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Wow, lots said about this! I get irritated when I hear "I'm just sayin'" spoken. It is used as an excuse to say something that the speaker does not take ownership of. If you're sayin' it, you're sayin'" it. Own it!

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Origin is New York Jewish, can't tell you when it was born though, but my guess would be before you were. I'm guilty of the phrase, although I'm not Jewish, only by marriage and not even from NY. but I like it because to me it is saying that I'm stating MHO eluding arguement, but if you prefer then take it to a higher court.

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Great point. I don't know what a MHO eluding argument is, but I get the drift. Your last bit suggests you should then finish with "just saying"!

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I WANT TO THANK THE GREAT MAN THAT WAS ABLE TO BRING BACK MY LOVER WITHIN 24HOURS. IF YOU WANT YOUR LOVER BACK CONTACT THIS GREAT MAN WHOSE NAME IS DR. OKOJA ON UDUPISOLUEIONTEMPLE@OUTLOOK.COM AND I PROMISE YOU THAT YOUR LOVER WILL RUN BACK TO YOU ASKING YOU FOR FORGIVENESS.

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my lover is back with the great help of priest Upesa he help me cast a spell that brought her back to my arms, in just 2days. my lover left me with our only kid and now they are back, once again i want to thank priest Upesa for his wonderful spell am now a happy man. you can contact the great spell caster on his email: upesalovetemple@gmail.com

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Ok, let me paraphrase a little on that. I like to use the phrase (Just Saying) because I think it is like saying: "I'm stating My Humble Opinion eluding (evading) arguement" Or in other words "I said it, but it's just an opinion not an arguement"

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Alia's wholly surreal contribution to the discussion includes a relative clause introduced by 'that': THE GREAT MAN THAT WAS ABLE TO BRING BACK MY LOVER ... We should have "the great man who was able ..." just as we have "CONTACT THIS GREAT MAN WHOSE NAME ,,," rather than "this great man that's name ...". Perhaps less importance is attached to such niceties across the Atlantic in places such as the USA, or Haiti. I'm just saying.

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@Brus - ah, it's sparring time again. I'm afraid it's a shibboleth that 'that' can't be used for people in defining (restrictive) relative clauses. What's more, it's the writers of certain American style guides and grammar books that are in the forefront of those criticising this practice, so I think you're a bit wide of the mark there, too. Apart from the MWDEU, all the following sources are British.

'The people (that) I spoke to were very helpful.' - Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary
'We haven't met the people that live next door.' - Macmillan Dictionary
'Who was it that said "The Law's an Ass"?' - Longman Dictionary

In the Third Edition of Fowler's, Burchfield says 'Down through the centuries, "that" has been used with a human antecedent'' and the OED quotes it being used by Chaucer and in Wycliffe's bible. MWDEU says that ' "that" has applied to persons since its 18th-century revival just as it did before its 17th-century eclipse.

Well known British grammar writer for foreign learners, Raymond Murphy, in English Grammar in Use, writes - 'You can also use that (instead of who) - "The man that lives next door is very friendly" '.

And another respected British grammar writer, Micheal Swan, - 'Who refers to people and which to things; that can refer to both people and things - "The people that live next door keep having all-night parties." '

And I'm afraid the point about 'whose' is a red herring, as whose can be used for things as well as people, and there is no such possessive as that's, even for things. '(whose is) used to give more information about a person or thing' (OALD) - 'I was at a meeting whose purpose I didn't understand' (Swan) - it's either that or 'of which' -- 'I was at a meeting, the purpose of which I didn't understand'. There ain't no such animal as possessive 'that's'.

So, grammatically at least, alia has nothing to worry about.

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I found this thread while searching for the origin of this over used expression. I just heard it on Downton Abbey (set during WWI). Did people use this expression then? Seems like a gaff in the writing.

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Yes, Will.
All that you say about ‘whose’ and ‘that’s’ is wholly in accord with what I said in my piece, where I cited Alia’s “man whose” with approval by way of comparing it with the sloppy “man that” and suggesting that “man who” is much to be preferred. You just didn’t read my stuff the way I wrote it. I too taught my pupils that ‘whose’ is for people and things...
You are right, too, that Alia need not consider possible grammatical solecisms in her unusual contribution to be important, in the wider scheme of things.
The literary authorities to whom you refer never set out to demonstrate sound grammatical English; that was not their purpose at all.
The reference works which you cite seem to be those to be found in the libraries of students of English as another language, and are therefore descriptive of current usage rather than prescriptive about correct usage, as used by purists. My dictionary (Collins) suggests ‘that’ as a relative pronoun in a context such as “the book that is on the table” to distinguish it from another book somewhere else, (restrictive) but “the book which is on the table” to explain it isn’t somewhere else. My dictionary also refers to levels of formality of speech: the more formal, the more the need to use the correct term. That's a bit obvious, really! When teaching others English it won't do to present colloquial language as good enough for formal use, obviously too.
I don’t like ‘that’ in this context at all, as it is sloppy, and would use commas:
The book, which is on the table, ... (explains that that is where it is)
The book which is on the table ... (explains it isn’t some other book you mean).
I taught my pupils about formality and how to avoid ‘that’ in written work. It depends on the level of formality, and written work is formal in my book. Just saying.

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@Brus - of course we teach our students about formality, but most of us use formal language very rarely. Actually with my students, who were originally taught fairly formally, it's getting them to reduce their levels of formality, not the other way round, that is the problem. In any case we don't teach our students to say 'the man that is standing over there', but we do warn them that native speakers will sometimes use 'that' for people, especially after impersonal pronouns like 'anybody' etc, and that it is perfectly correct.

You won't be surprised to learn that I have no time for the argument that the only correct rules are those of formal English. As the editor of the Cambridge Grammar of the English Grammar has said - 'informal is normal'. Why should 'Whom do you know here?' be considered more correct than "Who do you know here?", when hardly anyone would use the first, and if they did they would get funny looks. Yes, I have a duty to teach my students about formal language, but I have just as strong a duty to teach them language that is in normal currency.

I don't know where you get the idea that dictionaries that are published for learners are any different from other dictionaries. Nearly all dictionaries, and especially the OED, are descriptive; that is their job. In fact most learner's dictionaries give much more usage information, including on formality, than standard dictionaries. In any case the likes of Longman and Macmillans no longer market themselves as learner's dictionaries, but have a much wider audience, especially on the web.

In fact, with the Bank of English and their Cobuild project, Collins Dictionary was one of the pioneers of using real life examples rather than those made up their lexicographers. And they are at the forefront again in a new, separate online dictionary, which invites contributions fro the general public, although retaining overall editorial control. And if you'd looked a bit more carefully at Collins, at least the online version, it says - 'that, pronoun - used to introduce a restrictive relative clause ⇒ "the book that we want" '- nothing about being only for things, and further down, among the example sentences is this -"I looked at myself in the mirror and felt reassured by the healthy young man that stared back at me."

Your last two example are interesting:

"The book, which is on the table, ... (explains that that is where it is)
The book which is on the table ... (explains it isn’t some other book you mean)."

While the former is the former is a non-defining (or non-restrictive), which gives us extra information, the latter is a defining or restrictive relative clause which, as you say, tells us which book we're talking about. Now there are many 'purists' (who of course I don't agree with) who insist that we should only use 'that' and not 'which' in defining relative clauses when talking about things, a whim of Fowler's that got taken up by many American publishers, but not only in the US. So your example would be just as wrong in their eyes as alia apparently is in yours.

"Written work is formal in my book" - how much writing is formal these days, really? Academic essays maybe, most business correspondence probably not. And as for comments on this forum, no way! Not even your contributions here follow the conventions of formal language (for example use of contractions). So I think it was a little bit high-handed to pull alia up for using language that was perfectly appropriate in the context. Just saying.

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Good point 'hatar' makes .. Literature is written by people who reflect their own culture, even while trying to convey a culture from another time and place. Shakespeare did no differently. Antony speaks of Brutus, who has just helped assassinate Julius Caesar:

"Yet Brutus says he was ambitious;
And, sure, he is an honourable man.
I speak not to disprove what Brutus spoke,
But here I am to speak what I do know."

[Julius Caesar, SCENE II. The Forum.]


(This may be the equivalent of ".. just sayin' .. "
Once something is said, even when it has been "stricken from the record," remains in the ears and memory of the listeners. It may still have consequences...).

After hearing Antony speak, the audience responds:

First Citizen
"Methinks there is much reason in his sayings."

The writer knows that whatever is said has consequences, and the speaker had better know as well...

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Sorry, went a bid mad on typos there.

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Will, thanks for all that. It is most informative and helpful. I got my dictionary in 1978, I think, and it is well-thumbed after all those years teaching Latin. My original reason, inter alia, (sorry!) for remarking upon Alia's remarkable piece, was: how could one not? (Especially with mercy33's extraordinary, mystical follow-on.) It shouted out for comment, surely, and it was relative clauses and their governing pronouns which sprang to mind at the time, as they do in these circumstances.

(Sprang? Sprung?)

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@Brus - well, we can certainly agree on the strange nature of both contributions, and as it looks as though peace has broken out between us, have a good weekend. :) Incidentally, I hardly ever look at a physical dictionary nowadays. I wrote a little gadget for my blog which allows me to cycle through about a dozen dictionaries in seconds.

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This saying is widely used in the state of Michigan and seems to be
getting more popular with the rest of the world! The saying is the
equivalent of the old New York saying- "forget about it!" It was
first originally invented and used by the underground comic
sensation BILLY KLEIN of BURT, MICHIGAN, USA. He loves others to
use it in their everyday conversations, but definitely wants
everyone to know it was him that started saying it and using it
in his shows!!

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I Like it. I'm just sayin

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Well I'm from Estonia and even we use it. It's more like you say smth almost rude in Estonian and add "just saying" to the end. For example "Your hair is a lot prettier when it's washed....juuuuuust sayin' "

"Just sayin' " is the new "No offence"

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I picked up this phrase from the character Paul Reiser played in Mad About You. He said it all the time.

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just say it.

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"all i'm saying" just means that the person is summarizing whatever he/she just said previous in one final climatic statement. So all i'm saying is stop overanalyzing it.

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I find it abso-freakin-lutely ridiculous that this discussion has gone on so long.

I'm just sayin'.

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Wow,

I was just curious about the origins of this phrase, and found this thread -- started in 2006!

Read all the comments and didn't once come upon a definitive oxford-engl style answer of the phrase's first usage, where it came from, or who said it, yet everybody's still sayin' it. Sorry to all the folks out there who don't like English colloquialism's, but this one looks like it's going to be around like rap music. Just sayin'.

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These are examples of how I've heard it being used, but more often than not it seems that folks are dropping the "I'm" part and ending the sentence with "just saying".

Married men live longer than single men, but married men are a lot more willing to die...I'm just saying.

Or

Eighty percent of married men cheat in America. The rest cheat in Europe...just saying.

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@Nelson - perhaps not authoritative but this might interest you, and seems to agree with what others have said on this thread:

'The origin of “I’m just sayin’” is not clear, but most paths trace it back to Yiddish humor. “I’m just saying” was the way some Jewish vaudevillians ended a joke. The phrase was popularized by two comedians in the 1980s: Paul Reiser and Eddie Murphy.'

http://prestwickhouse.blogspot.com/2010/01/plai...

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Well, I think it's funny. I associate it with slow-speaking women customers of a certain age in Dorset and Devonian pubs making snide comments to their menfolk (whom they seem to wish wouldn't make them come to these places) about the cleanliness of the facilities, but asserting by way of a coda that they are just sayin'. As it is clear that they are just sayin', there is no need really to explain so, is there? That's a bit of what I find funny. But after a few pints of the marvellous real ales to be had in South-West England almost anything seems funny. Cheers! Just sayin'.

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I use it synonymously with "I'm just throwing it out there." In other words, after saying something that might be considered offensive or controversial, yet also reasonable/logical/understandable, tacking on "I'm just sayin'/I'm just throwing it out there" distances the statement from me personally, so that the topic itself can more easily be discussed for whatever merit there may be in the suggestion.

This intends to a) allow someone to contend the argument without fear of hurting my feelings, since I've already offered the distance; and b) allows me to have even made the statement without fear of reprisal because, hey, it's not how I might actually see it, it's just an idea for your consideration.

Reminds me of Chris Rock summarizing OJ's position with "now, I'm not saying he did it...BUT I UNDERSTAND."

As an example, the continuing tensions between N. Korea and S. Korea prompts me to compare N. Korean Twitter huffing and puffing to that of a schoolyard bully, and you didn't get a schoolyard bully to pipe down by continuing to hand over your lunch money....I'm just sayin'.

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And yes, I know the OP was looking for the origin.

The earliest reference I saw among the responses was to an Eddie Murphy standup routine, which goes back to the early 80s.

My comment was just adding some colour to the use discussion since I hadn't seen anyone mention "I'm just throwing it out there", which is also a not-uncommon phrase.

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That was helpful.

I still find it funny that people think they can determine what phrases will stand the test of time, or infer that using a popular phrase somehow reflects on one's intelligence. You've still got slang and colloquialisms from the 19th century still being used today.

If the phrase 'just sayin'" originated with vaudeville, then it's basically made a resurgence and has already proven that it's got legs as vaudeville's heydays were the turn of the century to around the 1930's.

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Many comedians, movies, authors & famous people have used this expression. However, the usage of "just sayin" as a way to absolve one's self of blame or to mitigate responsibility for any insult, was made enormously popular by the television talk show host..... Conan O'Brian. I fargin despise people who use it and/or think it's funny.
My deep hatred focuses not so much on the phrase itself, rather more about how lame, unfunny and effeminately milk-toast vanilla modern-day comedians have become. I guarantee if I heard the late, great George Carlin use it in his act.... I'd think it was hysterical. I highly doubt he would, though. Unless he was making fun of those who do.

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@Pee Wee - well you obviously despise me then, as I used it yesterday, but not to absolve myself of guilt, rather to soften a criticism of something the person I was writing to had said. As for thinking it was funny, that had never occurred to me (but then I don't live in the States).

I would suggest that if you're going to go around despising people for using language you don't approve of, that says rather more about you than them.

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I hear it particularly often in Jewish humor. Perhaps it's from Yiddish?

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If you say something that may be hurtful to someone, or it just may not be well received, you might end with the expression just sayin' which might be short for "just sayin' something that needed to be said."

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Caroline - I agree. "Just saying" seems to be the new "no offence", as in "no offence but (insert insult here)".

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Thank you Jo! :)

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Wow! All this from a question posted in October 2006. just sayin. I intend to buy tee shirts, coffee mugs, and maybe a rubber wrist band. If they don't exist I may start a company to make them.

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strike the "was" LOL :)

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The Urban Dictionary website says:

"All the definitions on Urban Dictionary were written by people just like you."

Which is to say: not by "definition experts."

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I am from Northern Maine (Aroostook County) and that is a favorite statement here. I am think here it has four meanings. 1. The statement is in my opinion. 2. My opinion is all that matters . 3. Pointing things out that are mostly obvious to another person. 4. "getting the last/final word in" comes to mind as well.

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And Aravinda, you have every right to feel that way. It has nothing to do with the original topic, but you still have the right say it. Let it go, you will feel much better.

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The first time I heard the phrase "I'm just sayin'" used postpositively was about six months ago. A friend, much more aware than I of new slang and hip expressions, was advising me to take an action I did not agree I should take. Her use of the phrase appeared a lame, last ditch effort to convince me of something she knew I could never be convinced of. But I'm not really sure about it... I'm just sayin'.

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@jf - Don't most of us have times when we are not really sure of something and want to qualify it a little, without being judged a being "lame"? It's just a suggestion.

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I am 68 raised in iowa -as a youth I would hear it used as a prefi.xAs in two people arguing about house color One guy says white ,another says off white , the ownner says "Im just saying " get it done .. Adding a bit of authority to the statement . Using IM just saying ,after a sentence I frequently hear on TV , but very seldom on the street.

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As one who is "not here to argue," Jan, you argue quite a lot. Your "viable definition" to “just saying” is simply a crib from a mob-based website, where "best and most correct" is defined by random opinion, not knowledge. Trust me, Porsche has read and understood your original post:

"I needed to know what some people were talking about when they used this phrase (as each had a different definition of what the phrase means to them), so I looked it up in the urban dictionary.

Urban Dictionary: just saying?Just saying: a phrase used to indicate that we refuse to defend a claim we’ve made—in other words, that we refuse to offer reasons that what we’ve said is true."

Here are some current definitions for "just saying," taken from today's Urban Dictionary:

"A phrase that is used when someone is offended by something you said. This phrase then removes all the offensiveness of the previous statement, making it all good."

"Response when your motive for saying something is questioned and you a) had no motive or b) do not want to reveal your motive."

"Response when one has been proven wrong but is not humble enough to admit being incorrect or cannot settle with the other person's statement."

Rather a wide field of opinion. Hardly definitive.

This here site tends to be argumentative. People hereabouts "offer reasons that what we’ve said is true." Have you an opinion of your own?—I'm just saying.

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Ha Ha Ha, That is all, Douglas, That is all. Have a great day!

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I've heard the phrase used postpositvely in a humorous context, teasingly and usually with friends, as WB and others have pointed out. When used in this context it can be amusing, but if overused or mean-spirited it just becomes annoying.

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This is an expression used to pad out the otherwise empty expression of a vacuous thought. It reminds me of a brilliant exchange on BBC television a few days ago. Someone had been invited onto a news programme as a person who might know a thing or two about the subject under discussion.

TV man: "What do you have to say about all this (already being discussed subject)?
Guest (slowly gathering thoughts together): "Well, do you want to know what I think?"
TV man: "Well, that's what you're here for, isn't it?"

"Can I just say? - do you want to know what I think?"

As a teacher for me a treasured moment was 20 years ago when one rather pedantic pupil said one of these cliches, and another more sparky one leapt in with "No! You can't!"

Sorry I can't do the acute accent on cliches. Don't know what tits to press.

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Just Urban Dictionary it. It covers all the ways to define the phrase. http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=...

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@Brus - on my keyboard (US) - apostrophe and then the letter - é, for grave ` then the letter - è, circumflex - ^ and then the letter - ê. I can't remember cedilla, unfortunately.

But back to your opening sentence - "This is an expression used to pad out the otherwise empty expression of a vacuous thought" - would you say the same for "It's just a suggestion", which for me has just about the same meaning. Don't you ever want to qualify something you've just said, or are you (and a lot of others on this thread) always so certain about things? Lucky you if you are! (actually I'm not so sure about that).

The other thing that strikes me is this a lot of stick is being thrown at what is, after all, a pretty harmless informal expression. Are we really meant to go around the whole time uttering perfectly crafted masterpieces of prose?

I have to say, I find words like lame and vacuous pretty judgmental. Why are so many of the comments here about finding fault with others' use of English? If you don't like it, don't use it, it's as simple as that.

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Thanks for those typing tips, W.Will. My keyboard, sadly, does not feature these things.

Now, you say I am judgmental, which I take as a complement, as it means having the ability to make discerning judgments, and to be making them. That is what my dictionary says. I got the vibe in my latter years as a teacher that someone was teaching the pupils in their "PSE" lessons, whatever they were, that it was a bad thing. I suspected them of suffering from the delusion that political correctness is not a joke, and filling the children's minds with nonsense, and that it was something to do with that. I never actually looked the word up until now, and am pleased to be vindicated. What on earth is supposed to be wrong with making judgments? That is what this whole Pain in the English thing is about, surely?

"It's me/you who is wrong". It's (me/you who is )wrong. ...me who am ... ... you who are ... Subordinate relative clause misidentified, badly. "It's I (who am wrong), It's you (who are wrong), It's he (who is wrong).

Is it so hard to get English grammar right if you have been taught it? The tragedy is that it has not been taught in the UK for a generation, because the teachers got it in their heads that somehow it is elitist to teach the pupils anything. Something to do with being lefties, they say. Not really the teachers but those who teach the teachers and tell them what to do but not why.

I'm off on holiday now for a few months so nothing more from me for a long while, mercifully.

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English is not my first language, so please humor me on a very perplexing question: Is there a word in English that describes the activity going on when one asserts or suggests that another is judgmental?

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@Brus - Yes, that is one definition of judgemental, but I think you know perfectly well I meant the other - "having or displaying an overly critical point of view:" or "judging people and criticizing them too quickly". And no, I don't think the point of Pain in the English is to constantly criticise other people's use of English. There are so many other much more interesting aspects of language to discuss.

For example, when I write judgemental my (US) spellcheck red lines it, but when I look up judgmental in a British dictionary it takes me to judgemental. I never realised there was a spelling difference there.

I don't quite share your view of history, I'm afraid. As I remember it, teaching grammar wasn't stopped because it was elitist, but because traditional grammar teaching was stultifying creativity. Unfortunately, yes, they threw the baby out with the bathwater, but that has been remedied to a certain extent since.

And finally, I think I'll stay with Swan as my guide - "It's me/you who is wrong" is absolutely fine in informal English, which is what most of us speak most of the time.

Have a good holiday.

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For fuck sake!
I'm just saying

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Condescending,tyranical,

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Off-topic?

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At the two ends of the spectrum "just sayin" has become so ubiquitous use I often use it in private with my partner when we want to have a great laugh, and then I use it sparingly when I have made a public comment that is obvious but offensive to someone and want to distance myself from what I just said because I must interact with that person on a daily basis and I don't want them to hold it against me forever.

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@Skeeter Lewis - is that perhaps a polite expression for spam? :) I had thought of reporting it, but decided not to.

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"I'm just saying" is used to wonderful effect in the play Rabbit Hole which tells the story of ordinary people in the midst of life changes and tragedies. I saw an excellent production back in the fall and obviously the clause and its useage in the play have lingered. I've enjoyed reading about this clause. Thanks to everyone!

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Looking back at the original question about "I'm just saying", it was about the origin, not the meanings. Douglas seems to have a handle on the possible meanings, but not on the origin. Several people have explained what they and their friends mean, but not the origin. I envision some Brooklyn punk (or perhaps it was Ben in New England) making an offensive statement and pissing off some tough guy, who says, "Oh yea? I ought to kick your ass." To which the punk (or Ben) says "I'm just say'n", as he backs off while holding up both hands. It diffuses the situation and he learns to use it at the end of any insult he makes. It may have evolved from the statement, "I'm just asking." That also comes from some punk who ask girls if they will go to bed with them and when they get insulted, he tries to laugh it off with, "I'm just asking."
I don't know the origin either, I'm just say'n.

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Logging in to report a sighting of "I'm just saying."

Today Pres. Obama, in a speech on Immigration issues, mentioned that Mitt Romney promised to veto the Dream Act. He then added, "I think that we should take him at his word. I'm just saying."

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I hope this clears it up.

Did anyone even read what was asked for in the original question? You all are idiots, Im just sayin, ya know?

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