A Reader’s Guide to Coded Conversation

By Mordechai Shushan

Are you puzzled by some of the statements you hear when issues are being discussed? You’re not alone. In conversations about controversial issues, people often don’t say what they’re thinking; they speak in a kind of code. As a service to our readers we’re providing guide for the perplexed to ten commonly used expressions.

Try to guess the meaning of each of these ten comments. Then scroll down to find out what they really mean!

  1. “Your point is not sufficiently nuanced.”
  2. “That comment raises questions.”
  3. “That perspective is troubling.”
  4. “We need to address the root cause of the problem.”
  5. “The process lacks inclusiveness.”
  6. “Your assumptions need to be reexamined.”
  7. “That conclusion is a bit reductive.”
  8. “The issue calls for a more layered approach.”
  9. “That conclusion sends a problematic message.”
  10. “The practical consequences of that approach need to be considered.”

Answers below.


  1. Your point is not sufficiently nuanced. “You’re wrong.”
  2. That comment raises questions. “You’re wrong.”
  3. That perspective is troubling. “You’re wrong.”
  4. We need to address the root cause of the problem. “You’re wrong.
  5. The process lacks inclusiveness. “You’re wrong.”
  6. Your assumptions need to be reexamined. “You’re wrong.”
  7. That conclusion is a bit reductive. “You’re wrong.”
  8. The issue calls for a more layered approach. “You’re wrong.”
  9. That conclusion sends a problematic message. “You’re wrong.”
  10. The practical consequences of that comment need to be considered. “You’re wrong.”