The Dandelion Group

Technique of the week


Phyllis Diller was right. A smile is a curve that can - sometimes - set everything straight.

Cutting to the chase may achieve limited success in delicate situations. If you believe that meeting an issue head on would worsen the situation as much as shying away from an argument, think of tmesis. It comes from the greek verb meaning “to cut” and refers to occassions where a speaker inserts an informal emphasis between compound words. Adding a dash of humour to such rhetoric helps address the elephant in the room more easily.

How to include a tmesis

  • Check which of your key arguments sound too serious.

  • Find a formal compound word supporting your case.

  • Even if it is closed, put a fitting colloquial word in between.
    (Browse this list of British slang.)


You share an apartment with a guy who pays as much attention to grooming as he does to a blade of grass on a meadow. Initiate a conversation about personal hygiene and keep it going in a humorous way with a tmesis.

Learn the techniques. Boost your confidence. Make your point.
here to explore our workshops.

Ben Wilhelm