While reading the health care thread, I started thinking about the difference between "IMHO" (in my humble opinion) and "I think". On the surface, they seem like they should mean the same thing.
However, I've been sensing a difference between the two. In particular, "I think" sounds more powerful. One theory: "I think" comes first and is part of the sentence. Which tends to soften the sentence both in tone and in typing. I'm less likely to write "I think you are a jerk" because it feels weird to write. Whereas if I'm angry, I could say "You are a jerk" and then add IMHO at the end. It reminds me a bit of how "no offense" is used. Adding it doesn't render an insult innocuous.
Nitin Nigam wrote:To me "In my humble opinion" appears sarcastic.
IMHO, I concur, but I think if one takes what someone else types on the internet, particularly in a forum named "Meaningless Drivel" seriously enough to take offense, one should reexamine their priorities. Arguing on the internet and all that nonsense.
Pat Farrell wrote:Yes, of course, literally, IMHO is not at all humble.
I usually see the 'H' as somewhat neutral, from the writers view. But it acknowledges that at least some readers may feel the writer is less than humble. One could also use IMO to avoid that, or IMAO to more overtly acknowledge that they may be seen as arrogant or asinine. But for whatever reason, IMHO is the one that's most widely recognized nowadays.
Pat Farrell wrote:In practical usage, its exactly the same as "I think" and takes fewer characters.
The usage goes back at least 20 years.
That's pretty much how I see it, too.
Bear Bibeault wrote:Jargon is one thing... l33t-speak is quite another.
Associating IMHO with the "l33t" crowd is a mistake, I think. This page distinguishes fairly well between "internet abbreviations" and "l33t speak". The former has a much wider userbase, not trying to obfuscate or be "kewl" like the l33t crowd, just interested in brevity. Back when BBS's (gosh, can I say that?) and Usenet were the basis of online communities, IMHO and YMMV became particularly popular as ways to remind readers that, yes, the writer is aware that this is just an opinion. Early online users found it necessary to express this much more often than was necessary in spoken conversation; consequently they shortened it. Some people used it judiciously and effectively, while some overused it. Some learned to say any obnoxious thing that came to mind, and add an "IMHO" at the end, as if that gave them immunity of some sort. But the fact it was abused by some shouldn't reflect on the entire community of IMHO users. I mean, I can think of a few people who seem to use "I think" as an escape clause for saying some truly idiotic or offensive things, much like some use "IMHO" as an escape clause.
(And yeah, I know Bear is older than dirt ;) , and doubtless knows the history of BBS's and Usenet. But as we seem to interpret some parts differently, I thought it worthwhile to lay out my view of things.)
As I see it, "IMHO" is just as valid as, say, "FAQ".
Jeanne Boyarsky wrote:Pat: I don't consider IMHO to be jargon. Just discussing how/if it differs from "I think."
Mike: Interesting thought on whether/when IMHO shows the author recognizes an opinion vs when the author adds it as afterthought.
I have always thought it was exactly the same as "I think". Same as YMMV, which may not play as well internationally. Both are used to state an opinion and recognize that others may disagree.
I don't see any positional different between:
IMHO, Java is a dead language
Java is a dead language, IMHO.
At least from a meaning/ontology view. I can see that as you type an opinion, the author can sometimes end with IMHO/YMMV to clue in the reader that as strident as the writing may appear, the author just sees it as a personal view.