When President Trump’s press secretary gave his first press briefing, he made statements about the crowd size at the inauguration that were false. When questioned about it later, another Trump spokesperson, Kellyanne Conway, claimed he wasn’t lying. Rather he was presenting ‘alternative facts’. Her interviewer objected and said ‘Alternative facts are not facts. They’re falsehoods’. Falsehoods is a slightly more gentle way to say ‘lies’.
Calling someone a liar is a hostile act in English (and in any language). Admitting you lied is difficult too, so people will often look for ways to soften how they say ‘I lied’ or ‘He/she lied’.
Can you match these statements to their meanings?
1. They made a misstatement. They misspoke.
2. They hyped it a little. It was a slight exaggeration.
3. They were economical with the truth.
4. They were fibbing
5. They falsified the figures
a. They changed the data so it was no longer true.
b. They deliberately withheld important information.
c. They said something in a way that was not clear or accurate.
d. They told a small harmless lie.
e. They made it seem better or more important than it was.