kfw

Top Ten Irritating Phrases

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The Daily Telegraph today brings the comic relief language lovers need so we'll literally die laughing: Oxford compiles list of top ten irritating phrases

1 - At the end of the day

2 - Fairly unique

3 - I personally

4 - At this moment in time

5 - With all due respect

6 - Absolutely

7 - It's a nightmare

8 - Shouldn't of

9 - 24/7

10 - It's not rocket science.

I don't often hear number seven here on the American side of the pond, but I've been guilty of the sloppy number eight. My own, personal list includes "going forward" for "now" or "in the future," and "go away" for "end," as in "when might this this recession go away?"

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"I have nothing against. . . "

Always followed by something where you do.

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Thanks for posting this, kfw. These lists come up from time to time and they're always fun. Jargon phrases and words go in and out of fashion - probably a decade or so 'Hopefully' and 'Finally' would have been on the list (they're still around but have lost their novelty and hence the annoyance factor has receded somewhat).

I'm not wild about 'With all due respect' but it has its uses, especially when you're disagreeing with someone (not least on the internet). :flowers:

I wouldn't flog yourself over #8, either, a misdemeanor I've also committed. It wouldn't surprise me if, many years down the line, it becomes more or less standard usage - such shifts do happen.

Any other pet peeves in this department, BTers?

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Forgot to add that I agree strongly with the Telegraph commenter who mentioned "It is what it is."

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One I can't stand is 'on a regular basis'. Why not simply 'regularly'? There is also the matter of the over-use of 'currently'. 'We are currently in the process of...' Really? Right now? I thought you meant you would be in ten years. :flowers:

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I'm not wild about 'With all due respect' but it has its uses, especially when you're disagreeing with someone (not least on the internet). :)

I hate it too, but agree with its irreproachable and unimpeachable importance. Actually, I find it amusing as well, because people used to say it all the time on the old 'L.A. Law' TV show, and that's where I learned it. Jill Eikenberry was good at it.

Listen, dears, I think you're all wrong about 'shouldn't of', at least part of the time, because even if I say full out 'he shouldn't have' (which I do), I will say 'he shouldn't've done that', which sounds like 'shouldn't of' but definitely isn't--it's a legitimate diminution of 'shouldn't have' .

Here's one that gets on my nerves: not using 'entirely' occasionally, but always using it. It is not forbidden to remember that 'completely' and 'thoroughly' exist. All theorists and wannabe philosophes do this, and even Joan Didion overuses it. There is an 'I'm an intellectual' swagger to 'entirely' sometimes, although not nearly always, and it is very often used to throw weight around in an obnoxious way :flowers:

I don't like any of the 'rocket science' things and won't say them under any circumstances. I confess to having now begun to use '24/7', which overcame years of resistance, but I've decided things are too claustrophobic not to have some things you can slip in that will be understood by children of all ages.

Don't like 'YO!' and can't stand redneck 'yyyellooo...' on the phone.

I thoroughly dislke 'a couple drinks' and all variations leaving out the 'of'. This is maybe 20 years old, and now even smart bloggers like Josh Marshall will write, not just say, 'a couple clips'. It's 'a couple of clips', Josh.

One that has definitely entered common usage is 'different than', and we are all anachronistic curios who say 'different from'.

Also, there are many tacky overuses of 'actually', and some are in the same bimbo vein as 'I mean, it was like...' and don't even mean 'actually' anymore. Usually pronounced. 'you know, ACk-shu-a-leee...' and not even necessarily followed by anything at all.

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"_______ and I", when it should be: "_________ and me"

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For me it's "waiting on" instead of "waiting for". I know this is regional, but it makes me crazy!

If "It is what it is" was banned, the software industry would come to a halt :flowers:

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For me it's "waiting on" instead of "waiting for".

That's a good one. Waiting doesn't make one a waitor or a waitress.

Another phrase that bugs me ("This dress bugs me" -- thanks for the laugh, Jim Jarmusch) is "let's not go there." I don't know who first said it, but it showed personality then, I'm sure. By now, what's wrong with the descriptive "talk about" or "discuss"?

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"let's not go there."

Yes, abhorrent, as is the related 'we are NOT gonna go there' by the overly maternal and paternal.

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1. "Paradigm" (sp?) was overused as a business term throughout the 90's

2. "ACKS" instead of "ASK"... The word is only 3-LETTERS!!! long and people still cannot pronounce it correctly?!!!

3. "The fact of the matter is/was..." Whatever became of, "the fact is/was..."

4. I actually heard an NPR anchor say "you betcha" tonight (Was he kidding? It didn't sound like that to me.)

5. "Wonk" (still have no idea what or who that actually refers to) A slang term that was never defined but used constantly in the 90's. I thought it might be the psychological definition of an obsessive-compulsive disorder?

Sorry, it's late, so will have to think of more (Noooo!) later.

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Regarding Helene on "on line:" the first thing I noticed when I moved from Los Angeles to New York is that people waited on line, not in line. I was very impressed with that.

I think the source of "No problem" for "that's alright" was the "Get Smart" television series. It has a vacuous quality--as if the speaker is not there. Recently someone in San Francisco said "no worries" in its place, which is a bit gentler and down home-like.

"Literally" happened (as opposed to "metaphoricially"?).

At a granular level the apostrophe before the s in the plural (like a decorative flourish) and in the pronoun possessive its. A friend of mine is certain that the gene that determines the sense placement of the apostrophe has been lost or compromised.

"Gradient" was the "paradigm" of the 1970s, everybody at CBS news used it whenever he or she could. And where have all the "parameters" everyone used to use gone?

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For me it's "waiting on" instead of "waiting for".

That's a good one. Waiting doesn't make one a waitor or a waitress.

Or a waitron either. With all due respect to gender equality, that' a word that really bugs me.

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"Sorry for the inconvenience"--somehow doesn't seem appropriate when, say, they cancel the last flight out.

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Numbers 6 & 7 together as in "It's an absolute nightmare". There is a radio announcer who says this every morning when she describes London's traffic jams. the M25, Limehouse Link, Blackwall Tunnel, M13 etc - all absolute nightmares. :D

Worst of all for me is the number of people incapable of pronouncing the words something and anything and say somethink and anythink instead. Sounds vile and has even infiltrated the BBC.

I hate 'Over the moon' too, as in "When the ball hit the back of the net I was over the moon". Ugh.

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I love this topic. You're all providing me with a list of annoying things to learn to insert into my conversation, thus driving many people crazy.

I especially like what zerbinetta has to say about the misuse of "ironic." "It's tragic" is similarly misused. And what about "horrendous"? Is this indeed a word?

"No problem" is often a response to "thank you," which has always bothered me. It seems dismissive of one's previous statement of thanks. Sometimes it makes me feel I shouldn't have bothered. For some reason, "pas de probleme" in France doesns't have this effect on me. Did this usage actually come from France, international center of all things classy?

A related issue involves "excuse me" used automatically, even fliply, without any suggestion that the speaker actually believes he/she is inconveniencing someone. Or, worse, "excuse ME" or "Ex-CUSE me" expressed sacrastically (or should I say, "ironically"?).

The Starbucks practice of using TALL for their SMALLEST size coffee is annoying. And how about "What's up?" or its contemporary variant "WAHZZUP"?

I was struck by how many of the phrases you've been listing involve ...

(a) reversal of letters ("aks") or transferral of consonant sounds ("ink" for "ing") -- some of these are indeed regional, as someone has said;

(b) misplacement of prepositions, ("on line/ in line"), again, often regional.

© borrowings from pop or youth culture.

(d) exagerrated use of exaggeration: "Absolutely" "horrendous" "it's a disaster/nightmare/catastrophe" etc. , to descrdibe things like a bad haircut.

(e) the desire to avoid the conventional forms one learned as a child. ("Thank you," "your're welcome," etc.)

and (f) long winded ways of saying simple things.

There's a possible book in this topic, -- and a vast potential buying public of sharp, verbal, and slightly grumpy people like us -- for those adventurous enough to pursue the project. The Ballet Talk Guide to Odious English, anyone? :D (Note to kfw: my apologies for replacing your word "irritating" with the more grating term "odious." Exagerration is indeed the "name of the game" and "what it's all about" -- to use a couple of other irritating phrases.

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And what about "horrendous"? Is this indeed a word?

Since at least the 17th century (so, all in all, fairly new). From the OED:

"1659 HOWELL Twelve Treat. (1661) [...] Your horrendous Sacriledges the like whereof was never committed."

One gets a sense that the writer is responding to something that's actually really horrible, rather than to, to use Bart's expl., a haircut.

"No Worries" is a granola-crunchier version of "no problem" that is starting to get under my skin; also, the use of "folks" as a way to be crunchily gender-neutral.

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"No problem" is often a response to "thank you," ...

The dismissive "whatever" bugs me as does

the "no prob" Bart mentioned above.

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Ok, I can explain the Starbucks issue. The original sizes were Short (10 oz.), Tall (12 oz.), and Grande (16 oz.). Customers complained that the Grande was not large enough, so Starbucks added the Venti (20 oz.--'venti' means 'twenty' in Italian), and people eventually stopped ordering the Short size, so they removed it from the menu. Whether the fault lies with Starbucks for insisting on cutesy/pretentious names for its sizes or with American gluttony, I leave to you. :D I think it's somewhere in between.

Oh, and some annoying grammar/spelling issues: alright and alot when it ought to be all right and a lot. Similarly, every day and everyday, although the difference there is that both are valid but have different meanings. If something occurs every day, it is an everyday occurrence. :)

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The overuse of the word genius, as in "My hairdresser is a genius at highlighting!"

Using the word "meh" to describe something or someone you really couldn't be bothered to have an opinion or feeling for.

Inserting the word "uber" as in "uberchef" or "uberexecutive".

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"No problem" is often a response to "thank you," which has always bothered me. It seems dismissive of one's previous statement of thanks. Sometimes it makes me feel I shouldn't have bothered. For some reason, "pas de probleme" in France doesns't have this effect on me. Did this usage actually come from France, international center of all things classy?

A related issue involves "excuse me" used automatically, even fliply, without any suggestion that the speaker actually believes he/she is inconveniencing someone. Or, worse, "excuse ME" or "Ex-CUSE me" expressed sacrastically (or should I say, "ironically"?).

The Starbucks practice of using TALL for their SMALLEST size coffee is annoying. And how about "What's up?" or its contemporary variant "WAHZZUP"?

'No problem' is customer service talk, and anybody who has called New Delhi unwittingly for tech help knows that they are all told to say that just like 'Have a nice day'. I no longer notice these, since they're told to do them. When someone says it in real life, I still don't find it offensive any more.

There's a third version of 'Excuse me' as sarcasm, which bart will also recognize, more like 'Ex-cuse MEEEE!!!' but the second one 'Ex-CUSE me' is even more about being offended and self-righteous, and can often be juxtaposed to the 'Hel-LOOOOOOOOO????' which I've never been able to use properly.

Eggs also don't go below Medium. I want Accuracy in Egg Titling. I want SMALL EGGS :D. 'WAHZZUP' is annoying, but that's kids.

Of course, there's 'WHAT-evah', that has endless sleazy variations.

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There's a possible book in this topic, -- and a vast potential buying public of sharp, verbal, and slightly grumpy people like us -- for those adventurous enough to pursue the project. The Ballet Talk Guide to Odious English, anyone? :D (Note to kfw: my apologies for replacing your word "irritating" with the more grating term "odious." Exagerration is indeed the "name of the game" [ . . . ]

Absolutely, and at this moment in time, I personally like your substitution.

Sorry.

A couple of months ago, online, I found a cheap copy of "She Literally Exploded: Daily Telegraph Infuriating Phrasebook," a compilation of "spoken insults to the intelligence" put together by two Daily Telegraph journalists. Is there a British language convention I'm not familiar with, or is that an intentionally irritating title?

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