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imho vs i think

Jeanne Boyarsky
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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.

Thoughts? Other theories?


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Nitin Nigam
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To me "In my humble opinion" appears sarcastic.
'I think' appears more straight forward.


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Joe Ess
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    9

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.


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Christophe Verré
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  16

I don't like IMHO. For no particular reason, it sounds arrogant. It may be a language gap, as I can't explain why I feel like like.


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Ulf Dittmer
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  65
I agree with the previous posts - the "H" in there generally seems to indicate that whoever uses it is not so humble about their opinion.


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Jesper de Jong
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  22

IMHO... In My Humble / Honest / Holy Opinion (link)

IMS, IMNSVHO, you know. Or maybe IMOBO, IYW.

In other words, IYSWIM, IYDM. Or is that NAGI?

J/K.


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Jeanne Boyarsky
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Nice to hear others agree.

Jesper: OMG. (oh my gosh). That's why we use real words in technical threads. I need a dictionary to read that!
Pat Farrell
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Yes, of course, literally, IMHO is not at all humble. In practical usage, its exactly the same as "I think" and takes fewer characters. The usage goes back at least 20 years.

IMHO, the "use real words" meme is overused here. We use jargon all the time, JSP, JVM, JEE, HTML, AJAX. Jargon grows naturally to allow specialists in the field to quickly communicate.

Sure, jargon can be a barrier to entry, and we need to help greenhorns get up to speed. But I reject the claim that we can always use real words.

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Bear Bibeault
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  67

Jargon is one thing... l33t-speak is quite another.


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Pat Farrell
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    5

Bear Bibeault wrote:Jargon is one thing... l33t-speak is quite another.


I never have tried to defend idiotic things such as "l33t-speak"
Mike Simmons
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  10
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".

IMHO.
Bear Bibeault
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  67

Mike Simmons wrote:Associating IMHO with the "l33t" crowd is a mistake

Umm, I'm not. In fact that was exactly my point -- jargon vs. l33t. Commonly used abbreviations like IMHO, ASAP, and yes JSP are fine in my book.

I do tend to lump l33t and lazy in the same pool -- whether purposefully obfuscating, or just being lazy and freeze-drying all the vowels out of words, is just poor communications.
Jeanne Boyarsky
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Pat: I don't consider IMHO to be jargon. Just discussing how/if it differs from "I think." My jargom comment is directed at the other comments in Jesper's post which are much less common.

Mike: Interesting thought on whether/when IMHO shows the author recognizes an opinion vs when the author adds it as afterthought.
Pat Farrell
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    5

Jeanne Boyarsky wrote:Pat: I don't consider IMHO to be jargon. Just discussing how/if it differs from "I think."
[snip]
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
and
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.
ankur rathi
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I think, IMHO is not for speaking.
You would not speak IMHO. You would speak 'in my honest opinion' if you have to.
Pat Farrell
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    5

ankur rathi wrote: IMHO is not for speaking. You would not speak IMHO. You would speak 'in my honest opinion' if you have to.

You also don't speak emoticons, YMMV, etc.

When someone says:

"To be honest, I think Bush was a great president/idiot."

They are actually saying that most of the time, they are lying, and just this once, they are being honest.

The H in IMHO is "humble" not "honest" and its at best not humble.

Honestly, I frankly mean this.
 
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