When discussing the idiocy of people, some people will laugh and say, "HA! Common sense isn't so common, is it?" What they're really saying is "good sense" isn't common, and that is true.

What isn't true, however, is that "common sense" equals "good sense". What is more common, it seems, is "bad sense". The fact that "bad sense" is common makes it "common sense". Does that make sense? HA!

Common means "of or relating to a community at large", according to Merriam Webster. It also means "occurring or appearing frequently" and also "falling below ordinary standards".

So, the community at large seems to have "bad sense", and that makes their sense the "common sense" of the masses, or their general and similar sense. When people say that Sarah Palin is a common-sense candidate, they are absolutely right. She represents the overall bad sense of a large majority of the population. This, however, is NOT something to brag about. Again, "common sense" does not equate "good sense" even though people understand the phrase to mean "good sense".

Am I being picky? Yes. I am. People should understand the words and phrases they regurgitate after ingesting their culture's mantras. If someone accuses you of not having "common sense", you should take it as a compliment. What you want is "good sense", and that is very uncommon.

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I really enjoyed this.


Looks like I'm going to have to start correcting people who tell me I have common sense :)
Ha, I bet it could be awkward to be like, "No, you have it wrong. I have good sense, not common sense." Then they'll think you're arrogant or something. So, instead of putting you in the awkward position of correcting your friends/family... I will say it the way they mean it:

Aric, you have GOOD sense!
Haha, thanks! After I posted that, I also realized that people might think it was arrogant. I may just mention in conversation that the phrase "common sense" would be better described as "good sense", and see if the phrase catches on.
I've always had an issue with the term "common sense" and not really been able to put my finger on why. You definitely nailed it. Thanks!
Common sense, also occasionally called horse sense. To quote Opus: "Stupid horse-brained masses!"
I think that is a very accurate assumption.
Read your post here, and it made every bit of sense. Since then started doing it and the results is amazing. Just sounds right....
When discussing the idiocy of people, some people will laugh and say, "HA! Common sense isn't so common, is it?" What they're really saying is "good sense" isn't common, and that is true.

What isn't true, however, is that "common sense" equals "good sense". What is more common, it seems, is "bad sense". The fact that "bad sense" is common makes it "common sense". Does that make sense? HA!


very good, I laughed nout very loudley man. I will use that and credit you with its thingy.



take care man
You bring up a good point, Jen. A couple days after posting this, I noticed Merriam Webster's definition, too. I've been in the middle of a move and have barely been online at all... sooo I couldn't make note of my own confusion.

This is my OPINION... I think the phrase "common sense" is probably slang. Just like the word "gay" has come to mean something other than "happy" (although I think the initial idea was that homosexuals were making the statement "I'm happy the way I am and despite what you assume.") There are several examples of words that, over time, came to mean something other than what they originally or actually meant.

To me, M.W.'s definition of "common sense" doesn't make sense in light of the literal definitions of both the words "common" and "sense". For instance, "atheist" basically means "without god" although the long version is someone who has no belief in a god. "A" means "without", "no" or "not"... and when you add it to the beginning of any other word, such as atypical, it means "not typical".

Even though the general understanding of the phrase "common sense" pretty much means "sensible", I feel that M.W. and the general population are being a bit loose and liberal with their definitions. How can you take a word like "common" and just decide it means something other than what it does? Right now, everyone knows and accepts that "gay" means homosexual. "Common" still means "common" though... even if that word in combination with the word "sense" means something totally different.

Obviously, we're getting into semantics here... and maybe I'm being too picky. No, I am being picky. I guess I feel like the only way to communicate successfully is for everyone to agree on the definitions of words. It's crucial, especially when having conversations or debates like the ones people engage in on this site. I was recently involved in an argument and there seemed to be some disagreement on what the word "terror" implied. From what I could tell, the guy seemed to only view it as being, maybe, healthy fear. Like, children should have a healthy fear of crossing the street so they'll be cautious. He kept insisting you should instill terror in them over it though, which is quite different to me. If a kid is terrified of crossing the street, he's more likely to develop a phobia of it and will maybe need some therapy to help him learn that he MUST cross the street despite the danger.

Anyway... I'm not quite sure what you meant in your last paragraph. Can you rephrase it? :)

Basically, my point is this: M.W.'s definitions of "common" vs. "common sense" are contradictory... and because I'm so miffed with the contradictions in the Bible, and because I hold that a contradiction CANNOT exist, I would like to insist that M.W.'s definitions (and everyone else's) are cohesive and non-contradictory. Yes. I'm calling M.W. out now... even if it only represents the current zeitgeist.
Even though the general understanding of the phrase "common sense" pretty much means "sensible", I feel that M.W. and the general population are being a bit loose and liberal with their definitions. How can you take a word like "common" and just decide it means something other than what it does? Right now, everyone knows and accepts that "gay" means homosexual. "Common" still means "common" though... even if that word in combination with the word "sense" means something totally different.

Maybe our confusion is from the misuses of the word. I know that in many situations, saying someone has or doesn't have common sense is a judgement of if they have a good sense or they have their heads on straight, as it were.

There is the oft repeated quote of "common sense ain't so common", which I think is just a play on words that is endearing.

Of late, "common" has become a rallying cry of Sarah Palin and other right wing zealots who eschew the sophistry of the intellectual elite. They extol the virtues of the "commoner" and often use the term "common sense" while they do so.

Now I am torn! Woe is me.

Anyway... I'm not quite sure what you meant in your last paragraph. Can you rephrase it? :)

I think what she means is that viewing a situation simply (as in a simple manner) is not the same as exercising good judgement.

But, this would seem to suggest that common sense is synonymous with simplicity?

Okay, yeah, I guess I don't get it either. Rephrase it for us common folk! ;-)
Maybe our confusion is from the misuses of the word.

That's pretty much the point of this post to begin with. I I feel that people (M.W. included) have misused the phrase "common sense". Usually, when you combine words with other words, you're combining their meanings as well. Right? Typically, you don't just tack on an extra word for the heck of it. For example, everyone knows what "growing pains" are. We know what it is to "grow" and we know what "pain" is. Combined, we all realize that "growing pains" are pains you have while you're growing... it's pretty simple.

Sooo... it should follow that the combination of the words "common" and "sense" is a combination of those words' definitions. And... this is the issue I have. I mean, it's not like spelling where you have a letter in a word that is silent (like you don't here the K in "knock"). "Common" isn't, or shouldn't, be a silent definition... as it were.

I feel silly for continuing this discussion so far, but it clearly bugs me. In the LITERAL definition of the phrase "common sense", Palin represents "the common folk"... who are generally uneducated. So I agree. Sarah Palin is full of common sense.

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