Irritating Phrases

Oxford University recently made a list of the top ten most irritating phrases:

1 – At the end of the day

2 – Fairly unique

3 – I personally — an expression that BBC Radio 4 presenter John Humphreys described as “the linguistic equivalent of having chips with rice.”

4 – At this moment in time

5 – With all due respect

6 – Absolutely

7 – It’s a nightmare

8 – Shouldn’t of — Shouldn’t HAVE, folks!

9 – 24/7

10 – It’s not rocket science

I would like to add ‘ironically’ and ‘literally’ to the list because the people who use them don’t seem to understand their meaning. And that includes the air quotes. I’m not “kidding.”

But my ultimate pet peeve word is ‘arguably.’ First, coming from a large argumentative family, EVERYTHING is arguable. But a seemingly innocuous sentence like this: “Abraham Lincoln was arguably the best President” makes me sputter in fourteen different directions, none of which has to do with history. Why can’t one say instead, “I think President Lincoln was the best President” or “President Lincoln was the best Prez because he wore that awesome hat” or whatever.

But at the end of the day, I personally am fairly unique in thinking this. With all due respect to Lincoln scholars, it’s absolutely a nightmare to be subjected to “history” 24/7. After all, it’s literally not rocket science.

Oh, I probably shouldn’t of said that.

What’s your numero uno most irritating phrase?

17 thoughts on “Irritating Phrases

  1. Wes

    Appropos of Nothing is one you used to hear a lot, not so much now. Supposably. Another one I can’t stand is a lot spelled as one word.

    Reply
  2. Lana

    allegedly …
    incidentally …
    speaking of which …
    if only …
    and on that note …
    which reminds me …
    OH WAIT, I use those everyday! I’m so tired.

    Reply
    1. beckycc

      All excellent candidates. You have my permission to bitch-slap anyone who utters, writes, or stands near anyone who allows any of these phrases.

      But I’m curious, Jessie … do you hate the phrase ‘I have no idea’ because it means you’re talking to really stoopid people?

      Reply
  3. Donna

    ‘exact same’ really irritates me. I have a friend who says ‘flustrated’ and, as expressive as that is, I’m not sure she knows it’s not a real word!

    Reply
    1. beckycc

      I LOVE ‘flustrated’! I have felt that way many times. One of my favorite things is newly created words. “Blue-ful” springs to mind, especially when used to describe a lovely sunny day. And, of course, the ever-popular “musquirt.” You know, the runny first squirt of mustard?

      Reply
  4. chickenrecipesplease

    Great post! “Think out of the box” and “customer-centric” are two that I’m subjected to almost daily at my place of employment. When my associates speak of business applications as being “powerful” or “sexy,” I’d like to slap them.

    Another phrase that makes me feel violent concerns television weather reports (in Minnesota) this time of year: “We got seven inches of the white stuff last night.” It’s called snow—SNOW!

    When dining in a restaurant, I cringe when I hear a wait person say, “no problem.” May I please have the dressing on the side? “No problem.” Well, that’s good, but is there a circumstance when it would be a problem? But, the restaurant phrase that tops my list is, “are you still working on that?” No, I’m EATING it! I’m not constructing something from it or dissecting it or performing a lab experiment. I suppose some people use that phrase because they must think that it sounds more refined than “have you finished?”

    Reply
  5. beckycc

    I’m with you about restaurant etiquette! There’s also the ubiqitous, “guys,” as in “Are you guys ready for dessert?” even when it’s a table of women, some who even wear high heels and lipstick on occasion. (Not that men don’t do that. I’m just sayin.)

    A couple months ago, I was pleasantly surprised when I ordered something at a Chick-fil-A (probably with a free coupon) and after I thanked the employee, I got a perky “It’s my pleasure!”

    It was his PLEASURE to serve me free food! I almost hugged the poor boy.

    Reply
  6. DeAnna

    “To tell the truth,” is the phrase that raises my hackles, although “The reason being is that” needs to start going on my list.

    But…”utilize” horrifies me. Because nothing sounds more tacky-corporate than tacking an -ize to the end of the word to add an extra syllable. Finalize. Bulletize. “We need to synthesize a working solution.”

    Reply
    1. beckycc

      DeAnna, thanks for commentizing on my blog. To tell the truth, it pleasurized me, the reason being is that I endeavorized really hard on it.

      Reply
  7. Rob

    perhaps the most irritating phrase i can think of is “just sayin.” what does that even mean? i usually hear it following some obnoxious judgmental comment, as if the act of “sayin” magically absolves the person from being either obnoxious or judgmental.

    it doesn’t.

    Reply
    1. beckycc

      No, Joe, it’s true. If you tag on “I’m just sayin” at the end of whatever you say, it magically erases all obnoxiousness. Much like tacking on “Bless her heart” … as in, “She’s such a mean and hideous person, bless her heart.” See? magically transformed into sweetness and light. I’m just sayin ….

      Reply
  8. Laurie

    Pet peeve: “To [person’s name] point….”

    I don’t know why this bothers me because it is meant as a sign of respect, agreement, and a testament to what that person said earlier. But in a monthly board meeting, I think I hear it 8-10 times per meeting.

    To my own point, however, I guess I should change my attitude. It’s much better than, “Are you friggin’ kidding me, A-hole?”

    Reply

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