Oxford compiles list of top ten irritating phrases
Heading the list was the expression 'at the end of the day', which was followed in second place by the phrase 'fairly unique'.
The phrases appear in Jeremy Butterfield's Damp Squid, named after the mistake of confusing a squid with a squib.
The tautological statement "I personally" made third place – an expression that BBC Radio 4 presenter John Humphreys has described as "the linguistic equivalent of having chips with rice."
Also making the top 10 is the grammatically incorrect "shouldn't of", instead of "shouldn't have".
The phrases appear in a book called Damp Squid, named after the mistake of confusing a squid with a squib, a type of firework. The researchers who compiled the list monitor the use of phrases in a database called the Oxford University Corpus, which comprises books, papers, magazines, broadcast, the internet and other sources.
The database alerts them to new words and phrases and can tell them which expressions are disappearing. It also shows how words are being misused.
As well as the above expressions, the book's author Jeremy Butterfield says that many annoyingly over-used expressions actually began as office lingo, such as 24/7 and "synergy". Other phrases to irritate people are "literally" and "ironically", when they are used out of context.
Mr Butterfield said: "We grow tired of anything that is repeated too often – an anecdote, a joke, a mannerism – and the same seems to happen with some language."
The top ten most 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
|by Anonymous||reply 66||12/01/2012|
With all due respect, I have problems of my own.
|by Anonymous||reply 2||11/29/2012|
Ironically, "actually," did not make the list.
|by Anonymous||reply 5||11/29/2012|
While I agree that all those phrases are very annoying, it has to be said that compiling and publishing such a list is also very annoying.
|by Anonymous||reply 6||11/29/2012|
This list is very OLD news.
I like the expression 'It's not rocket science'. It makes sense.
What I don't like is the smug British sense of humor.
|by Anonymous||reply 7||11/29/2012|
"It is what it is" didn't make the list?
|by Anonymous||reply 9||11/29/2012|
Sorry, R7 is right - this list is ancient. George W. Bush was still President (though barely.) I didn't look (or think) before posting, so apologies.
|by Anonymous||reply 10||11/29/2012|
R9 and others, this is a list of words/phrases in common *British* parlance, not American. "It is what it is" apparently isn't commonplace in the UK.
|by Anonymous||reply 11||11/29/2012|
You mean it wasn't commonplace in UK parlance back in 2008, when this list was compiled.
|by Anonymous||reply 12||11/29/2012|
I heard "24/7" in my inner-city community and in rap/hip hop waayy back in the 80s. It caught the ear of the business world much later, like mid-90s at the earliest.
|by Anonymous||reply 13||11/29/2012|
I say 'shouldna'
Example "You shouldna done that."
|by Anonymous||reply 14||11/29/2012|
What about that extremely irritating PR-speak special: 'reaching out' to someone? Instead of fucking calling them or -- wow -- talking to them?
|by Anonymous||reply 16||11/29/2012|
Oh, has 'Gi-normous' finally died in a hideous grease fire? One can only HOPE!
|by Anonymous||reply 18||11/29/2012|
Guys who wear Dockers use a lot of these phrases, I've noticed. And they think they're cool.
|by Anonymous||reply 19||11/29/2012|
I love you, R14. Will you whisper 'shouldna' in my ear?????
|by Anonymous||reply 20||11/29/2012|
I mean, totally awesome!
I mean totally awesome, you know?
Like, I mean totally awesome, you know?
Like, I mean totally awesome, you know? Absolutely!
|by Anonymous||reply 22||11/29/2012|
I, personally, don't like them.
Personally, I don't like them.
Am I missing a grammar error here? I don't see why this is irritating.
The current summation statement is always hated, whatever it is. For example, "At the end of the day," is just as bad as "Bottom line". It has less to do with the expression than the context it is always used in.
|by Anonymous||reply 23||11/29/2012|
[quote]I, personally, don't like them.
Personally, I don't like them.
Am I missing a grammar error here? I don't see why this is irritating.
I believe it's a matter of redundancy, r23. "I" [italic]is[/italic]personal.
|by Anonymous||reply 24||11/29/2012|
I knew a girl who used many of those phrases.
But then she died.
|by Anonymous||reply 25||11/29/2012|
It's not redundancy, it's emphasis.
|by Anonymous||reply 26||11/29/2012|
One of my least favorite phrases: "it's in my wheelhouse". How irritating!
|by Anonymous||reply 27||11/29/2012|
The use of "puppy" to substitute for any word.
|by Anonymous||reply 28||11/29/2012|
[quote]The phrases appear in Jeremy Butterfield's Damp Squid, named after the mistake of confusing a squid with a squib. ... The phrases appear in a book called Damp Squid, named after the mistake of confusing a squid with a squib, a type of firework.
I guess repetitive prose did not make the list.
|by Anonymous||reply 30||11/29/2012|
R23, "personally, I" is irritating because the "personally" is unnecessary and smacks of cliche and thoughtless habit. That this thoughtless habit involves a self-regarding distinction "seals the deal," "brings closure," "nails it," and stuffs the proof into that pudding concerning the phrase's irritating grate.
|by Anonymous||reply 31||11/29/2012|
r31 - sure, if you say it all the time it would be irritating. I use "Personally" or "for my part" occasionally when I'm making a point of personal preference. It's usually followed by a "but" clause.
I'm with you on "brings closure". I want to punch someone when they say it.
|by Anonymous||reply 32||11/29/2012|
"The last time I checked …. " grrrr!
|by Anonymous||reply 34||11/29/2012|
"That's so pretentious," always coming from the most pretentious person in the room.
|by Anonymous||reply 38||11/29/2012|
I am glad that "should of" made this list, it is one of my biggest pet peeves in grammar. Oddly enough, I recently read a Shirley Jackson novel printed in the 50's, and "should of" appeared about 20 times throughout the book. I thought it was unusual as I had assumed that this was a fairly recent development.
|by Anonymous||reply 39||11/29/2012|
"With all due respect."
I don't see what's so wrong with that phrase. It's a good way of making it clear that you strongly disagree with a person on a particular point but you still respect them as a person.
Again, what's the problem
This shouldn't be on the list, because it's the only phrase that's grammatically incorrect -- and glaringly so -- rather than being annoying because of over use, or redundancy, or being used inappropriately. I've never understood how anyone, no matter how stupid, can make the "should of" mistake, given that the words "of" and "have" have entirely different functions.
R39, it's hard to believe that a Shirley Jackson novel would have contained even one "should of," let alone several. Do you remember who published the book?
|by Anonymous||reply 41||11/29/2012|
R41, I am afraid I don't remember who published it, but it was the paperback of "The Bird's Nest" that touted the upcoming film version, "Lizzie" starring Eleanor Parker. The film came out in 1957, so I assume it was arund that time.
|by Anonymous||reply 42||11/29/2012|
I don't like 'absolutely' because it's hyperbolic in the same way 'awesome' is. It has a kind of ersatz hyped-up business speak tone to it.
The phrase I detest is 'price point'. I don't see how it is different in meaning from 'price'. Worse, people use it to mean 'price range'. And 'range' has a completely different meaning from 'point', so it's just an example of language degrading and becoming less articulate and more about association than clarity.
For the people who say 'price point' -- what are you trying to convey?
|by Anonymous||reply 43||11/29/2012|
"It is what it is"
One of the laziest phrases ever. It has no meaning.
|by Anonymous||reply 44||11/29/2012|
Just sayin' - what you're really saying is you've just said something nasty and offensive and now you're distancing yourself from it. Passive-aggressive bullshit. Same with " no offence" - if you don't mean any offence then keep your mouth shut. People who say LOL out loud. Or use it in text at the end of something really inappropriate "Soz your dogs dead. LOL".
|by Anonymous||reply 45||11/29/2012|
Using the noun "source" as a verb is trendy and irritating.
"We use ingredients sourced from the finest farms."
"We sourced it from recycled materials"
Don't ever recall hearing source as a verb until about a year ago. Now I hear it all the time.
|by Anonymous||reply 46||11/29/2012|
Nothing is simply "made" anymore, it's "crafted". Even the lazy good-for-nothings in Congress "craft" a bill. Someone earlier noted "reach out" instead of simply contacting someone. One of the worst examples of "office memo speak" is "going forward" instead of simply henceforth or from now on. Time does not go forward any more than it goes backward. Who thinks of all this shit and why? I tend to think they don't wipe their asses enough when they take a shit resulting in pesky dingleberries that make them say stupid shit like this. Another example is the American inability nowadays to know the differences between a HOUSE and a HOME. Newsbabes all across the land practice in the mirror looking sad as they announce, "hundreds of homes were destroyed when..." which is to say "houses" if it is really houses. A better example is in real estate--a realtor sells HOUSES, not homes; they are homes when someone moves in and even then it is more a subjective thing.
|by Anonymous||reply 47||11/29/2012|
r47 you really think 'henceforth' is better than 'going forward'?
Who would ever say 'henceforth'? it sounds fake and stilted.
|by Anonymous||reply 48||11/29/2012|
"In my/your own skin" "Thinking out of the box" So-and-so "opens up" about such-and-such in entertainment headlines.
And misuse of the words "surreal" and "seminal" is almost as frequent as "ironic" and "literally."
|by Anonymous||reply 49||11/29/2012|
I hate "By any chance". Just ask if I did or didn't, not if you thought there was a chance I did something.
|by Anonymous||reply 50||11/29/2012|
"At the end of the day" is #1.
Will this ruin Les MIs's chance for an oscar?
|by Anonymous||reply 51||11/29/2012|
To you maybe, r48,--I don't care how it necessarily "sounds" in a business environment, just so it gets the point across accurately. To me "going forward" sounds odd and equally fake and stilted as well as incorrect because, as I said before, time does not move forward or backward. Besides, henceforth is one word, going forward, as stupid as it is, is two words. I'm not saying it necessarily needs to be used instead, I'm just giving it as a "viable alternative"--it can't be any worse than "going forward" which I have always found mildly annoying to say the least. There is always the tried and true "from now on" also.
|by Anonymous||reply 52||11/29/2012|
PS--You wouldn't happen to be an office manager would you r48, hmmmmm??
|by Anonymous||reply 53||11/29/2012|
I also dislike "going forward." Reeks of office speak. Would rather hear "from now on" or "in the future."
I've never used "henceforth" in my life.
|by Anonymous||reply 54||11/29/2012|
no, i'm not an office manager, r52.
I've just never heard anyone say 'henceforth' except in memo-speak.
|by Anonymous||reply 55||11/29/2012|
At the end of the day it is what it is. The homes crafted and sourced from recycled materials, should of been literally awesome.
|by Anonymous||reply 56||11/29/2012|
R47 likes to say 'henceforth,' as he runs to his cubicle and leverages his core competency. He's not trying to use office speak, he's merely aiming for improvements in efficiency across the piece.
|by Anonymous||reply 57||11/29/2012|
Good One r56! How long did it take you to think of that?! It's almost like "Norman Borman the Mormon Doorman" on the Bob Newhart Show back in the 70s or 80s or whenever it was. Couldn't stop laughing for days over that one. Thanks, I needed the laff, my shoulder's been killing me.
|by Anonymous||reply 58||11/29/2012|
I hate "Touch Base" used in any context in an office. People at my work say it too much.
"It is what it is" - I've never heard anyone say this personally, but it is remarkably overused on competitive reality shows for some reason.
|by Anonymous||reply 59||11/29/2012|
I haven't heard "closure" in a while, maybe people have realized how stupid that one sounds too and have given closure closure, almost like uptalk, speaking of which, does anyone think uptalk has reached its peak and is declining? William Safire was one of the earliest columnists to denounce it. I always abhored it and it seemed to sweep onto the English language (the American version at least) like a plague in the 80s and 90s. Is it my imagination or is it slowly receding?
|by Anonymous||reply 60||11/29/2012|
thank you R15... "amazing" has been so overused as an adjective as to render it meaningless... makes a great drinking game for some HGTV shows, though. take a drink every time the word is spoken.
|by Anonymous||reply 61||11/30/2012|
You could easily substitute awesome for amazing in the drinking game too r61. Literally has taken on meaninglessness as well.
|by Anonymous||reply 62||11/30/2012|
You're in good company r63, there have been a few others who mentioned yours.
|by Anonymous||reply 64||11/30/2012|
r65 feels guilty now for using literally and awesome too much, probably uptalks too.
|by Anonymous||reply 66||12/01/2012|