People do bad things. They misspeak, mislead, and misbehave. They lie, cheat, steal, and kill. Often, afterward, they apologize.
In Sorry About That, linguist Edwin Battistella analyzes the public apologies of presidents, politicians, entertainers, and businessmen, situating the apology within American popular culture. Battistella offers the fascinating stories behind these apologies alongside his own analysis of the language used in each. He uses these examples to demonstrate the ways in which language creates sincere or insincere apologies, why we choose to apologize or don't, and how our efforts to say we are
sorry succeed or fail.
Each chapter expands on a central concept or distinction that explains part of the apology process. Battistella covers memorable apologies from McDonald's and Martha Stewart, Oprah Winfrey and James Frey, Mel Gibson and Jane Fonda, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, and many more. Moving back and forth between examples and concepts, Battistella connects actual apologies with the broader social, ethical, and linguistic principles behind them. Readers will come away from the book better consumers of
apologies-and better apologizers as well.