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Top Ten Irritating Phrasesgrrrr


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#61 dirac

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Posted 14 November 2008 - 07:07 PM

I'm referring to situations where it's pretty clear when it's a casual How are you or a more probing and genuine inquiry, although I quite agree that there are people who have trouble distinguishing between the two. :)

#62 carbro

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Posted 14 November 2008 - 07:23 PM

Maybe this is slightly off topic but my blood pressure goes up when I hear:

"Hello, how are you?" when the speaker isn't really interested in the answer

I do not want to be too, too terribly English, but your example is what we might call, civilised behavior. It doesn't matter if it is not meant, it is a code of politeness that establishes your upbringing your education and your class and would also when obviously genuine indicate a certain selflessness. (Yes, in some circles one is still measured by these standards). It would be seen to separate people as others, as opposed to PLU( People like us).
. . .
The Americanism "Have a nice day", rankles most with English people sounding particularly phoney and robot like.

Funny! "Have a nice day/evening," seems to me a concluding counterpart to the opening "How are you?" We may not always mean it, but it's a little more pleasant than just plain "Goodbye".

#63 kfw

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Posted 14 November 2008 - 07:43 PM

I'm referring to situations where it's pretty clear when it's a casual How are you or a more probing and genuine inquiry, although I quite agree that there are people who have trouble distinguishing between the two. :)

I understand, and I'm sorry for not making that clear. :)

How could I have forgotten till now that aggravating favorite of politicians and talking heads, "the American people" (most of whom, I believe, are "Americans")?

#64 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 14 November 2008 - 08:25 PM

Maybe this is slightly off topic but my blood pressure goes up when I hear:

"Hello, how are you?" when the speaker isn't really interested in the answer


It doesn't matter if it is not meant...

Sorry, leonid, but i have to disagree here. If something said to me is not meant, not only does that bothers me, it really offends me. It is a plain lie on one's face. (Yeah, many phone costumer service representatives sarcastically wishing you a nice day and thanking you just to hung up on you after having decided that the discussion with the caller is over). Honestly, i don't believe whatsoever in plain/watery politeness as a measurement of...anything, although i notice that it is a highly praised/valued behavioral set of patterns and formulas in some societies.

#65 Giannina

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Posted 14 November 2008 - 09:02 PM

Great topic, and I could go on forever on "How are you?" and a host of others.

My peeves:
"differential" instead of "difference"
the mispronunciation of "jewelry"; you hear "jewery" or "jewlery". Should I add "February" and "library"?

Giannina

#66 papeetepatrick

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Posted 14 November 2008 - 10:02 PM

Funny! "Have a nice day/evening," seems to me a concluding counterpart to the opening "How are you?" We may not always mean it, but it's a little more pleasant than just plain "Goodbye".


I don't find it to be as pleasant as just goodbye, or as in France au'voir monsieur-dame, etc, but the difference is with a more modern business usage. It's equally mechanical in pharmacy transactions in England and France, just a little less 'okay, you've paid, now buzz off...' although the difference is in the 'length of the moment of intimacy' between the seller and the buyer. The buyer often wants to prolong the interaction out of guilt at not having to tolerate such a tedious job; he wants to be reassured by the lower-down, in fact, that he needn't feel guilty about his greater privilege (this is tedious--much better to just realize that that's the arrangement for the moment). There are other versions in which the well-to-do want to pretend to be modest, and others in which the well-to-do want to enjoy being rude; others still in which the lower-downs and clerical types want to be as beastly as possible as 'That is correct, SIR!!'. I've reported bad attitude problems a number of times, but never gotten anybody fired (even though once I should have). But I've heard 'have a nice day' nearly everywhere outside America as well as in, and I don't have to like it to respect that they have to say it. These are different from some of the others, because they are just lubrication to get through tiresome sequences of irksome events, so 'have a good evening', 'have a good one', and 'no problem' are here to stay, and Customer Fulfillment Specialists in all lands have agreed to follow their guidelines accordingly.

Leonid is talking about 'formality politeness', which is not especially American, but at certain levels it is a form of true politeness, if only because if one leaves it out, one has become impolite. I do tend to agree that these kinds of polite gestures and usages do not have to be deeply heartfelt to be important to observe, otherwise we'd never get a thing done; equally, if they never were, that's pretty pathetic too. Lots of them are different from country to country. I love the English habit of a waiter saying 'thank You', as he places your plate or glass on the table, and never heard that in America even at the best restaurants. The division by class is obviously what is being objected to, and certainly PLU can be seen to be quite absurd, esp. when it can be used by any class, such as social-climbers like the married bimbo in the play 'A Day in the Death of Joe Egg', who is not at all even upper-middle-class and going around with PLU and PUA (Physically Un Attractive, and referring to a baby with birth defects). But Proust has a wonderful description of aristocratic style when speaking of letters from ancien regime descendants to, say, artists they admire and are praising in the body of the letter, their 'new discoveries.' Nevertheless, at the end of all these letters, the duke or princesse never neglects to put the chill separation back in place with 'Croyez, monsieur, de mes sentiments distingues.' This can probably be construed as being either polite or impolite.

#67 Ray

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Posted 15 November 2008 - 06:31 AM

Honestly, i don't believe whatsoever in plain/watery politeness as a measurement of...anything, although i notice that it is a highly praised/valued behavioral set of patterns and formulas in some societies.



...um, and in certain art forms, i.e., ballet!

#68 perky

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Posted 15 November 2008 - 06:44 AM

Another annoying phrase, " Git ur done!".


Most pretentious phrase, "Quid Pro Quo".
I prefer the more seedier sounding "You scratch my back, I'll scratch yours" preferably said with an New Yawk mafioso accent.

#69 Hans

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Posted 15 November 2008 - 08:35 AM

Having worked in retail, I must say that it is very annoying to perpetually have to thank the customer for allowing me to serve them. How absurd. While I would never be impolite, they're paying for a service, and I'm giving it to them, and that is that. When I go to a store, I don't feel the need to be thanked for buying a book or a shirt. It strikes me as some fantasy of the wealthy that it is somehow a pleasure to be subservient to them, and I think the French-speaking countries have the attitude about right--polite, but when you're finished, a civil and impersonal 'Merci, au revoir'--often run together as one word!

#70 kfw

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Posted 15 November 2008 - 09:23 AM

When I go to a store, I don't feel the need to be thanked for buying a book or a shirt.

I interpret that thanks as meaning "thank you for shopping here" and not as subservience, especially since I reply with my own "thank you."

#71 papeetepatrick

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Posted 15 November 2008 - 10:02 AM

When I go to a store, I don't feel the need to be thanked for buying a book or a shirt.

I interpret that thanks as meaning "thank you for shopping here" and not as subservience, especially since I reply with my own "thank you."


Yes, and there is a mutual benefit on either side--the merchant values the money more than the shirt, and gets it. Therefore, it's equal insofar as they agree to complete the exchange. The cashier, while not the owner, still is employed and must represent the owner, whether or not he wants to (until he won't! I certainly know that feeling!)

#72 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 15 November 2008 - 12:01 PM

When I go to a store, I don't feel the need to be thanked for buying a book or a shirt.

I interpret that thanks as meaning "thank you for shopping here" and not as subservience, especially since I reply with my own "thank you."

...which sometimes leads to the comical/absurd repetitive sequence of never ending "Thank you...no, thank you, oh no...thank you". and so on..ha! :)

#73 diane

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Posted 16 November 2008 - 01:37 AM

"... I could've cared less"

-d-


This one is maybe something somebody can answer. I always thought it was 'I couldn't care less', but then a lot of people say 'I could care less' and always mean the same thing. Is one of them more right than the other.


That is what I meant - the phrase only really makes sense when it is "I couldn't care less"; as in: it is so unimportant to me. When the person saying it gets slightly confused and says instead, "I could have cared less", then it means the opposite.
(or it does to me)
I have noticed that " I could've cared less" has been used for a long time, but it still bothers me.

-d-

#74 bart

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Posted 16 November 2008 - 06:37 AM

(1) "I love the ballet." (When spoken by someone who can name only one, Swan Lake.)

I would guess that people who really do love "the ballet" tend to say "ballet" without the "the."

(2) Over-reporting on what "I like" and what "I don't like." For example ... last night after a performance I overhead a threesome who were meandering very slowly down the the sidewalk. The speakers were, incidentally, blocking the entire sidewalk for those who wanted to walk faster. :)

"I liked the first one. I didn't like the second one. I didn't like the third one."

"Which one was Swan Lake, the first one? I liked that but I didn't like the second one. I liked the last one."

"I liked them all. Where do you want to eat?"


Conversations like this tend to be loud. My amazement was compounded by the fact that they had apparently not even looked at the advertising, the posters, or even the program. For the record, "the second one" was Four Temperaments and the "last one" was In the Upper Room. The first one was indeed Swan Lake. :o In the Balancine version.

#75 dirac

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Posted 17 November 2008 - 05:23 PM

'Meh' enters the dictionary.


"This is a new interjection from the U.S. that seems to have inveigled its way into common speech over here," McKeown said. "Internet forums and e-mail are playing a big part in formalizing the spellings of vocal interjections like these. A couple of other examples would be 'hmm' and 'heh.'

"Meh" was selected by Collins after it asked people to submit words they use in conversation that are not in the dictionary. Other suggestions included jargonaut, a fan of jargon; frenemy, an enemy disguised as a friend; and huggles, a hybrid of hugs and snuggles.




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