Contrarian academic Stanley Fish recently had a post on his NY Times blog discussing what phrases he finds most annoying. We couldn’t help but notice the majority of the phrases Fish called out — such as “Can I put you on hold,” “Sold out” and “To be continued” — while annoying, do serve their purpose in society.
We’re more interested in a different class of horrible phrases. The ones which are as unnecessary as they are insufferable. Not only do statements like “no offense” and “whatever” grate on the ear, they don’t transmit any kind of information, which last we checked was the basic purpose of language.
We’ve listed 10 of these maddeningly superfluous additions to the English lexicon, and encourage you to use the comment section to get your revenge on any pointless phrase that makes you cringe.
10. It is what it is
This newcomer is the epitome of an ear-grating phrase that means nothing.
9. It’s all good
The inclusion of “all” only accentuates how much you don’t mean what you are saying.
8. To be honest
Not only is this phrase usually followed by something best left unsaid, but it also implies everything else you say is dishonest.
7. No offense
A phrase even more insincere than it is superfluous.
In a recent survey, 47 percent of Americans chose this word compound as the most annoying phrase of all. Meaning you have permission to smack anyone who uses it and isn’t a 12-year-old girl. (And it’s a close call on smacking any 12-year-old girl who uses the “w” word.)
5. Don’t get me wrong
Isn’t it implicit in most human communication that your intention is always to be correctly understood?
4. With all due respect
3. Everything happens for a reason
A completely worthless utterance that probably doubles as a vicious taunt to those who have undergone terrible hardships.
2. At the end of the day
At the end of the day, you will be preparing for bed. (With apologizes to John Maynard Keynes.)
1. Going forward
Saying this is like announcing your next footstep.