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May 6, 2016

10 Annoying Phrases That Serve No Purpose

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.

6. Whatever
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.


  1. Um, yeah! What else crawled up your ass and died lately?

  2. These all have uses; most are for reassurance. Prefaces like “don’t get me wrong” imply that yes, the intention is always to be properly understood, but that the listener likely will misinterpret subsequent information as offensive, and that they should instead search for the more positive meaning.
    Place the phrases in proper conversational context to discover that they not only convey different meanings, but also save a bunch of speech because their intentions are understood.

  3. Deckard Cain says:

    11. high performance. delivered

  4. If clarity and expressiveness are what you find annoying, then I have to question what you’re doing with a blog. Within the proper context, each of these phrases has a very precise and important meaning.

    And “whatever” is a perfectly valid response to any superfluous speech. It’s the upgraded form of “I don’t give a shit” mixed with some “Shut up” and a hint of “god you’re stupid” for flavour :) If there must be a smacking rule, I think it should be for anyone UNDER 21, because those kids are too young and ignorant to tell me to shut up.

  5. Living with Balls says:

    I personally can’t stand “Just saying.” Its like it gives someone a free pass to say something offensive such as, “Hey you’re kind of an asshole, just sayin'”

  6. 10 phrases one purpose, to lie.

    1= i’ll do nothing. i’m a bad postponer
    2= i’ll skip that i’m a slaker
    3= I dun care about problem, but to show you that i’m taking care i’ll let you swallow it with a philosophic aphorism.
    4= I’m about to utter a reproachful sentence against you while trying to show you some respect.
    5= …get me wronger, just don’t infuriate later? i did that (except misconceptions)
    6= Sorry I wasn’t even listening to you
    7= Please no feedbacks, i’m just giving you a big insult even with sweet seasonings.
    8= To be honest i’m being completely dishonest
    9= ..just the opposite. Don’t be pissed, ok?
    10= 1) ADD 100 bad attributes to something. Then utter: it is what it is… 2) Accept this huge lie as it is, it is.

  7. Whatever says:

    Your failure to grasp the nuances of English communication is appalling. Maybe try reading something longer than a blog comment or something.

  8. Here’s another annoying phase: “There ya go.”

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