If you’re just joining me

Terry Gross, on her program, Fresh Air, routinely says, “If you’re just joining us, my guest is so an so. . .” But whether I’m just joining her or not has no bearing on who her guest is. What she means is: “My guest is so and so and I’m saying that for the benefit of those who have recently tuned in.” All she needs to do is pause and say the name of her guest. There is no need to explain why she is telling us who her guest is. “You’re listening to Fresh Air and my guest is Elijah Wood.”

Similarly, other people say things like, “If you’re hungry there’s food in the fridge.” Do they mean that if I’m not hungry there is no food in the fridge? If there is food in the fridge then is this statement true: “If you are not hungry, there is food in the fridge.”

Usually when people say “if” they mean that what follows is contingent on some condition being met. For example, if you have five dollars, you can buy a hamburger.

See? It’s easy.

[Posted from Waynesboro, Georgia]

4 Replies to “If you’re just joining me”

  1. Great post. That’s one of my pet peeves also. “If you’re just arriving, there are some seats down front.” “If you need to upgrade, you can download the files from this site.” “If your inspection is about to run out, you can get it done here.” “If you don’t like my grammar, you can make a comment.” “If you don’t like this post, you can ignore it.”

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