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I had always had the impression that when people say, "correct me if I'm wrong", their underlying meaning is not to ask for correction but to stress that, "I'm 100% sure of what I'm saying", especially during heated debates.

Is that so? Please "correct me if I'm wrong", hahaha.

(there will be a follow up question if it is indeed so)

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    Personally, I've never come across the rhetorical meaning of this phrase. It's always been - "I think this is right, but if you disagree, correct me." – cst1992 Jun 18 at 11:36
  • Generally, from my experience, it simply means, "I'm confident that I'm correct, but not entirely certain, so correct me if I am wrong". I do not believe it infers a connotation of being "100% certain". More like "99% certain". – Tim Hallman Jun 19 at 17:21
60

It's used both ways – it can indeed be an expression of confidence, but it can also be a genuine request for clarification. And even in the former case, you can usually assume that the speaker is in fact reasonably open to being corrected. (Though maybe not in a "heated debate"!")

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    "I think I'm right, but accept that I might be wrong." – RonJohn Jun 17 at 2:40
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    But also, "I'm so certain I'm right I don't mind giving you the opportunity to correct me" – sgf Jun 17 at 7:48
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    To underline what is said above, if said in a sarcastic tone of voice, then it means "I REALLY don't think I'm wrong", but if said 'evenly' then it means that the speaker isn't entirely sure of himself, and should be taken at face value. How they will react to being corrected is a seperate question. – Mike Brockington Jun 17 at 10:51
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    @MikeBrockington Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't a sarcastic tone flip the meaning of anything that's being said? – FooBar Jun 17 at 12:06
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    This is a type of expression that I tend to avoid, even as a native speaker, because it can be misinterpreted quite easily depending on who is listening. "For your information..." is another, for example. They are overly sensitive to variations in the listener's state of mind and can be taken the wrong way even when the speaker uses them correctly. – J... Jun 17 at 12:46
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I hear "correct me if I'm wrong, [name]" quite often in my office environment. It is used when someone is answering the question that they were asked while at the same time acknowledging that someone else in the conversation may have better knowledge to offer.

They might also say "keep me honest, [name]" for the same effect of inviting someone to chime in with additional details or corrections.

2

Generally, "correct me if I am wrong" is mostly heard from people who've come to a particular conclusion from their experience of how earlier instances of how the same situation has played out. There is a reasonable expectation that they're right unless you have a valid clarification/explanation for changing their opinion.

Used sarcastically, it could be just a "humbler" way of asserting their stand and expecting you not have a factual opposition to it.

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