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When I sometimes make a confident statement (for example) "All great men marry once in their life" there is always someone who refutes it. So to lighten up the situation what's some good conversation lines, phrases and expressions etc to use? Like "Yes, there is always a 'but'".

Also I am not talking about being funny here because I usually stick to my idea while giving the other guy some leeway.

So what are some tactful sentences that I could use so the other person understands that the topic is open for discussion or debate?

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closed as primarily opinion-based by jimsug, Chenmunka, Nigel Harper, snailplane, Zhanlong Zheng Jul 3 at 16:32

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

    
What about "There are always some caveats/exceptions"? A somehow related phrase is It is the hallmark of any deep truth that its negation is also a deep truth (Niels Bohr). –  jinawee Jul 3 at 12:57
    
There are many ways to avoid this. Simply beginning the stance with In general... to Yes, that's true but... and I would call it as a specific case where ... etc. However, if I'm pretty sure about myself, I always use -- "Yeah! But exceptions never make rules!" :) –  Maulik V Jul 3 at 13:03
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There are far too many possible answers to this, which will depend on the specific statement being made, your relationship with the speakers and the social circumstances. A parent speaking to their child will almost certainly say something different to friends chatting amongst each other. –  jimsug Jul 3 at 13:30
    
I don't think I can reword my question. This is exactly what I wanted to ask. Although any one of you is free to reword it if you feel like it. –  Arrowfar Jul 4 at 11:39

2 Answers 2

One stock phrase is the exception which proves the rule.

Be careful using this phrase, however. Most people think it means that the presence of an exception “proves” the rule in the primary modern sense of “demonstrating that the rule is true”. This is of course absurd; if anything, an exception demonstrates that the ‘rule’ is, in at least some contexts, false. The original full form of the phrase is the legal maxim An exception proves the rule in cases where there is no exception. That is, a statute or regulation which explicitly excludes some application of a rule demonstrates that the rule is otherwise operative.

In this sense, the phrase provides an admirable transition to discussing the relevance of the "exception": does the existence of a counterexample establish that your proposition was a hasty overgeneralization, or are there "exceptional" circumstances associated with the counterexample which clearly demonstrate the validity of your proposition in ordinary cases?

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I have seen this remark about "prove" before: are you sure about this? This stock phrase is also present in dutch where it is "de uitzondering die de regel bevestigd" which is sort-of "the exception that confirms the rule". The point here you would use it when implying a rule, for instance the exception "Parking on sundays is not allowed" proves (implies, confirms) the rule that you are allowed to park here (on all days except sundays). Concluding: It wouldn't be appropriate here, though it is used in this context (and not making much sense then if you ask me). wikipedia seems to agree a bit? –  Nanne Jul 3 at 15:12
    
@Nanne It appears that you are correct in questioning the traditional interpretation of probat; the term to be analyzed more subtly is in fact exceptio. I will rewrite. (However, Wikipedia is in fact wrong in attributing the formula to Cicero.) –  StoneyB Jul 3 at 16:14

Some that you can try are:

"As with everything, there are exceptions."

"But everything is up to debate."

Or, you could also try following up your statement with a question, such as

"What are your opinions on the topic?"

"What do you think?"

These are just some starters, you can play around with the wordings a bit to get different phrases based on who you are talking to.

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