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Top Ten Irritating Phrasesgrrrr


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#16 Ostrich

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Posted 13 November 2008 - 01:47 AM

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.

#17 Ray

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Posted 13 November 2008 - 03:59 AM

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

#18 Mashinka

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Posted 13 November 2008 - 06:33 AM

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.

#19 bart

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Posted 13 November 2008 - 07:13 AM

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.

#20 Ray

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Posted 13 November 2008 - 07:54 AM

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.

#21 sz

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Posted 13 November 2008 - 07:54 AM

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


The dismissive "whatever" bugs me as does
the "no prob" Bart mentioned above.

#22 Hans

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Posted 13 November 2008 - 08:15 AM

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. :)

#23 perky

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Posted 13 November 2008 - 08:21 AM

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".

#24 papeetepatrick

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Posted 13 November 2008 - 09:29 AM

"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.

#25 kfw

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Posted 13 November 2008 - 09:45 AM

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?

#26 bart

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Posted 13 November 2008 - 09:49 AM

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."

Thanks, Ray, for the correction. I feel horrendously embarrassed. But, hey, "not to worry."

And thanks, Hans, for your elaboration on Starbuck history. It makes sense. I still say "your smallest cup" when ordering, however. I like to distance myself from Starbuck-mania by using that "your" (implying, "nothing to do with me," as though I were a visitor from Mars). Incidentally, yesterday's paper had an article about people deserting Starbuck's coffee for McDonald's. Indeed, several financial stories in recent weeks have used "Starbuck's" as a symbol for over-spending on non-essentials.

#27 papeetepatrick

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Posted 13 November 2008 - 09:56 AM

Indeed, several financial stories in recent weeks have used "Starbuck's" as a symbol for over-spending on non-essentials.


That's good to hear, because I have this $50 Starbucks card, and this information will make Starbucks, which I don't even like and think of as ordinary, seem like a luxurious and gleaming dream.

#28 Marga

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Posted 13 November 2008 - 01:11 PM

"Are you serious"?!

#29 Ray

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Posted 13 November 2008 - 01:52 PM

OK, since I teach, I have a lot more of these that I like to put in my "word graveyard":

"Relatable"
"Different"
"Interesting"
"Contrastingly"
"In today's society"
And any paragraph ending with "....soul"

It's all, like, oh so very.

#30 Helene

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Posted 13 November 2008 - 02:07 PM

Indeed, several financial stories in recent weeks have used "Starbuck's" as a symbol for over-spending on non-essentials.

Hmmm, it's been called "Fourbucks" here for years.


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