March 5, 2019

Public Speaking Sins: 'I would submit'

Strictly Speaking , Cardinal Sins , Public Speaking , The Buckley Experience

Reid Buckley’s "Strictly Speaking" was published by McGraw-Hill 10 years after Reid founded The Buckley School. Drawing on his decade of work with students, Reid designed it to be used as a reference for any speaking situation, so that a person could read as much or as little as needed. In 2019, we’re publishing excerpts from the first chapter in our online magazine: "10 Cardinal Sins that Amateurs Commit."


"And this, ladies and gentlemen, I would submit to you, will get us off the list."

– U.S. governor in a speech about hate crime legislation


Cardinal Sin 3: Shun the conditional tense.

Use an opaque black felt pen to wipe outcroppings of the conditional tense from your text.

It's weak. It's tentative.

And nothing conduces more certainly to giving the impression that one is a windbag. "I would suggest." "I would submit to you."

It spills into the subjunctive before one can say would-that-it-were, which sounds stilted. Stick to the present tense.

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