Benjamin Franklin

I made it a rule to forbear all direct contradictions to the sentiments of others, and all positive assertion of my own. I even forbade myself the use of every word or expression in the language that imported a fixed opinion, such as “certainly”, “undoubtedly”, etc. I adopted instead of them “I conceive”, “I apprehend”, or “I imagine” a thing to be so or so; or “so it appears to me at present”.

When another asserted something that I thought an error, I denied myself the pleasure of contradicting him abruptly, and of showing him immediately some absurdity in his proposition. In answering I began by observing that in certain cases or circumstances his opinion would be right, but in the present case there appeared or seemed to me some difference, etc.

I soon found the advantage of this change in my manner; the conversations I engaged in went on more pleasantly. The modest way in which I proposed my opinions procured them a readier reception and less contradiction. I had less mortification when I was found to be in the wrong, and I more easily prevailed with others to give up their mistakes and join with me when I happened to be in the right.

Vocabulary Help

  • make (make, made, made) – fazer
  • rule – regra
  • assertion – afirmativa
  • own – próprio
  • forbid (forbid, forbade, forbidden) – proibir
  • undoubtedly – sem dúvida alguma
  • think (think, thought, thought) – pensar
  • deny – negar
  • begin (begin, began, begun) – começar
  • soon – cedo, em breve
  • find (find, found, found) – encontrar
  • change – mudança
  • engage – engajar
  • less – menos
  • prevail – prevalecer
  • give up – desistir
  • mistake – erro
  • join – juntar, unir
  • happen – acontecer

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