A top 10 of irritating expressions has been compiled by researchers at Oxford University.
By Charlotte Bailey
The Daily Telegraph
Last Updated: 3:18PM GMT 08 Nov 2008
Comments 2193 | Comment on this article
This is one where you really should read the comments! Actually quite a bit better then the article itself!
Heading the list was the expression 'at the end of the day', which was followed in second place by the phrase 'fairly unique'.
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
1) get over it
2) bell curve
4) have an issue with
5) the bottom line is
7) neocon (used to smear conservatives)
8) fundamentalist Christian (used to smear all those who oppose gay marriage, late-birth abortion etc.)
9) war against terror (it's against radical Islam)
10) community (as in "gay community" or "Muslim community")
11) sexy (applied to high-tech gadgets, computer software and other consumer items)
13) progressives (for liberals)
14) sex workers (for prostitutes)
15) French youths (for Muslim rioters who hate the French)
16) you guys (addressing a mixed group of males and females)
17) indigenous Americans (for Indians. This makes immigrants of all Americans who arrived after the Indians.)
18) peace activists (for terrorist-sympathizers and supporters)
20) paradigm change
22) militants (for terrorists)
23) fighters (for terrorists)
24) the noble Koran
25) PBUH (guess who)
These are only a few which immediately come to mind. Why does the media inflict so many of these barbarities upon us?
"Restored to it's former glory" - used in relation to property renovation. It's not used incorrectly, just too often - it makes me cringe. Any suggestions for alternative phrases?
My absolute #1 peeve
The phrase 'you know' in the middle of every sentence and then at the end as well...!
And then the word basically - usually used in the same way as the phrase 'you know'