Trans4mind Home Page
~ Making the Human Heart Visible ~

Looking for a better life?

Our online, interactive video workshops present the most effective methods of personal development, combined with personal support from expert life coaches.

Explore Article Library

Do You Say What You Mean?

By John Sheridan

It's generally accepted that the majority of people learn to speak from a very early age, and on average a basic vocabulary is formed between the ages of four and six years old. As we get older our method of using language changes and we end up speaking in such a way that if everything we said was to be taken literally the effects could be amusing or tragic. With language, we know what we want to say; we often think we have said it; unfortunately, more often than not - we haven't.

Some years ago, I worked in a taxi office taking bookings over the phone. You would assume that it would be simple enough to say, "Could I book a taxi please?"

Rule one - never assume!

Requests for taxis came as, "What's your soonest taxi?" "When is your fastest taxi?" "How long is your next taxi?" "What's your next taxi?"

Now obviously I knew they all meant they wanted to order a taxi - but that is not what they said. After a little while, I got to thinking what would happen if I answered their questions literally - so I did. The first of many similar conversations was as follows.

Customer. "How long is your next taxi?"

Me. "About 4 yards."

Customer. "What?"

Me. "About 4 yards."

Customer. "What the **** are you talking about?"

Me. "You asked me how long my next taxi would be and I told you about 4 yards"

Customer. "You knew what I meant"

Me. "Yes but I answered your actual question."

Customer. " **********!! " Puts the phone down.

(I didn't have a taxi available anyway!)

I find it fascinating that in all walks of life people use language the same way. They rarely say exactly what they mean clearly and concisely. This is everyone's fault including my own because I'm occasionally as guilty as the next person for not saying what I mean, but we let it happen firstly because we know and understand what people are saying when they speak to us; secondly because we've got lazy.

Language has always been constantly changing and developing because that's what language does; so who knows what extra fun you will be able to have with it in say five or ten years. In the meantime, try and bear one thing in mind - the next time you order a taxi, ask about the availability of one - and not its external measurements.

About The Author

John Sheridan is a professional proofreader of hard copy items and website copy. He also writes web copy and occasionally accepts small copy-editing assignments. He can be contacted at:


This article is the property of the author and may only be reproduced in its original form.


Careers & Employment
Grief & Loss
Kids & Teens
Public Speaking
Self Help
Self Improvement & Motivation
Sexual Relations
Stress Management
Travel and Leisure

From our extensive site, you'll find good info on many topics using this search:

A great way to support your Trans4mind Training is to use these popular and effective hypnosis downloads...

  • The Next Level ~ Designed to radically boost your performance in any field. It's based on a technique used by top athletes and other successful people to help them make a big stride forward.
  • Create Your Own Reality ~ Use the power of your unconscious mind to transform your life.
  • Deeper Self Respect ~ Use hypnosis to connect with your true inner worth.
  • Detach From Fear ~ Tune out nervousness and anxiety with hypnosis.
  • Generalized Anxiety Treatment ~ Use hypnosis as a generalized anxiety disorder treatment and you can feel calm today.
  • Improving Concentration and Focus ~ Learn how to discipline, direct and command your mind to improve your performance.
  • Exercise Motivation ~ Give you powerful keys to getting back on track with your exercise - and staying there.
  • Overcoming Shyness ~ Provides an invisible security blanket allowing you to develop social ease and overcome shyness.
  • Quick Confidence Booster ~ An audio hypnosis session that's specifically designed to get you (quickly!) back on track.
  • Stop Negative Thoughts ~ Learn powerful hypnotic techniques to stop negative thoughts before they start.
  • Overcoming Procrastination ~ Let hypnosis help you get on with what you need to do, when you need to do it. Let nothing hold you back.
  • Think Thin ~ Use hypnosis to re-train your brain and lose weight naturally... that's how to get and stay slim.
  • Fall Asleep Fast ~ Relearn how to fall asleep fast and enjoy a good night's sleep.
Search on an issue that interests or concerns you...

Trans4mind Training is the best thing we've ever done! It's a series of interactive video workshops covering the key challenges we all face in life - to help you achieve greater inner peace and true fulfillment.
Copyright © 1997-2016 Trans4mind Ltd