Ten Most Irritating PhrasesPosted: November 8, 2008
Researchers at Oxford University in the U.K. have compiled and released a list of the ten most irritating phrases in use today and I must say I agree with most of their findings, although I’d rank some a bit differently. “Fairly unique” ranked second on the Oxford list and I’d rather see it recognized as the most irritating phrase of all. It’s number 1 on my list. Considering that unique means “one of a kind,” it’s hard to see how anyone can link unique with “fairly,” or with “very,” “most” or any other comparative word.
Researchers compiled the list using a database called the Oxford University Corpus, which comprises books, papers, magazines, broadcast, the internet and other sources. The database alerts researchers to new words and phrases and tells them which are disappearing and which are being misused.
Here are the ten offending phrases as compiled at Oxford:
1. At the end of the day
2. Fairly unique
3. I personally
4. At this moment in time
5. With all due respect
7. It’s a nightmare
8. Shouldn’t of
10. It’s not rocket science
It’s not often that one encounters “shouldn’t of” on this side of the Atlantic, but others, like 24/7, seem to pop up everywhere, every day. And I’ve never understood why anyone would write “at this moment in time” when the word “now” is available to use. It’s much shorter and is understood by everyone. It’s also more precise.
That said, those at Oxford who compiled the list are due our thanks for coming up with ten phrases we can omit from our writing and in so doing eliminate the “irritating” factor and aid in achieving more precision in our work. Hat’s off to those researchers!
© 2008 Laverne Daley