Monday, August 1, 2011

expressions that get on my nerves

Amy's latest edition to The Correctionists got me thinking.  If you don't know the Correctionists, get a brief history and then come right back.  I encourage you to visit these ladies who know their grammar and are pointing out mistakes that will make you cringe (but probably only if you like grammar).  Amy posted on the misuse of quotes and for some reason I immediately thought of the use of air quotes and how they bug me. 

For reference:  Air Quotes is a gesture - two fingers, typically index and middle, bending in the air while the person speaks.   According to Wikipedia:  "Air quotes are often used to express satire, sarcasm, irony or euphemism, and are analogous to scare quotes in print."  I don't know why but they annoy me.

I started thinking about other speech habits and irksome terms.

1.) "At the end of the day..."   Overused by my former manager, this expression immediately triggers a shudder.  I remember being in meetings and literally counting the number of times he spoke that expression.  I don't recall the actual number but it definitely was double digits.  "At the end of the day" is not at the end of the day.  It's at the end of the project, when we are done, when it is supposed to be completed, etc...  It never is at the end of the day.

2.) "The bottom line..." Also another overused expression by the same former manager.  Maybe he should read a thesaurus or learn some new vocabulary.   We are not talking about accounting and balancing the books.

3.)  "Honestly..."  Honestly, if you have to say honestly, does that mean you typically lie to me?

4.)  "I'm not going to lie..."  See number 4 above.

5.) "I have to say..." (alt. "I must admit...").  Actually there are very few circumstances that require you say or admit.  Less is more.

And those are just a few.  I hope the Correctionists don't find this an overuse of quotes.  If so, they can quote me and put me to shame.

How about you?  Are there certain terms that make you shudder like when hearing fingernails on a chalkboard?  Do tell.
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