After finding an unusual solution to a very minor issue, I noticed myself thinking something I’d heard and personally stated many times before:
“Well, that’s the exception that proves the rule.”
And, then I caught myself.
You see, the exception didn’t actually prove the rule. It was simply an exception to the rule; a reversal of the usual way to effectively handle a similar situation.
Example: a recent post demonstrated a method used by Benjamin Franklin to win a difficult person over to his side of the issue. It was an exception to the rule. However, simply being the exception to the rule didn’t prove the rule.
Another example: while I practically always suggest not coming across as intimidating in the persuasion process, there are those extremely rare occasions when it is absolutely proper and productive to do so. So rare it is almost negligible, but it is an exception that happens. It is indeed an exception to the rule. But, it certainly doesn’t prove the rule.
So, here is my question: is the saying, “The exception that proves the rule” simply a false statement that we as a society have allowed ourselves to buy into as fact…or am I wrong; is there ever such thing as an exception that – in and of itself – actually proves the rule?
I’ve been wrong all-too-many times before and could very well be here, as well. But, I’m not coming up with any exceptions to this…at least not one that would “prove the rule.” 😉
Well, turns out that I might be wrong after all…or not. Kathy, who was proofreading this for me, asked if I had checked for anything about this on Google. I had not. So, I did. Here is what it said. As you can see, there’s an explanation, but I’m still not sure the phrase makes sense as it’s usually used.
Would love to know your thoughts on this. 🙂