The most annoying words:If you’re like, “whatever,” and someone gives you a mean look, just remember it is what it is – certain sayings rub people the wrong way, you know? Anyway, at the end of the day, who cares? Should we just accept irritating phrases as an inevitable part of the English language’s evolution and just “play it cool”? Or do you hate the phrase ” play it cool”.
The issue is that cliche words, tend to announce that what follows will be empty of meaning. Even when the person has something of consequence to say, those”annoying” words drug the listener, encouraging them to “tune out”. By their sheer banality, they can be seen as aggressive, or threatening;metaphors for obscenity. What is the source for the fermentation and propagation of this linguistic diarrhea? The culprit may be found an ambiguous zone of the mind, of vision,that is embedded in the relationship between imagination and perception. Some expert thinks that the criterion of human will is quite sufficient to establish that there is a sharp distinction in kind between them: the fact that the objects of perception are materially present to us, whilst the objects of imagination are absent or non-existent.
…On Certainty, Wittgenstein returned for the last time to a theme that had preoccupied him since his earliest years as a philosopher. He pointed out that “The argument ‘I may be dreaming’ is senseless for this reason: if I am dreaming, this remark is being dreamed as well – and it is also being dreamed that these words have any meaning.”
If banal cliches thoroughly irritate you, you’re probably not alone. The question is, which word or phrase bothered you the most? Chances are it was “whatever.” In a recent Marist poll, nearly half of Americans – 47% – said they find “whatever” most annoying. The other sayings weren’t quite so loathed. 25% say they find “you know” most grating; 11% can’t stand “it is what it is”; 7% would like to ban “anyway” from all verbal exchanges; and 2% reported that they could do without hearing “at the end of the day.” ( Marist Poll)But do we hear these words because we actually want to hear them?
“Long ago the same expression appeared in religious writing to invoke the end of the world. In 1980, its reputation was spread by the most popular musical of recent decades, Les Miserables, which enshrined it in the lyric of a typically clumsy song ( “You’ve gotta pay your way at the end of the day”). Its remarkable longevity in almost every possible context indicates that it has a purpose.
Aside from hinting at the seriousness of anyone using it, “at the end of the day” works as a filler-phrase, a more formal, more studied version of “you know” or “like.” It’s now a classic among cliches.There are occasions when tradition and custom seem to force us into cliche. Much of what we read indicates that we are (in a Christopher Hitchens phrase) “fishing exclusively from a tiny and stagnant pool of stock expressions.” Research has recently demonstrated that on about half the occasions when the word “quintessentially” appears, it’s married to a nationality or a place; we call something “quintessentially Australian” or…
…In the last 10 years or so, “going forward” has become a pestilence; there are those who can’t speak of the future without using it. David Beckham, asked about some possible turn in his career, replied: “Going forward, who knows?”… Martin Amis titled a book of his literary essays The War Against Cliches, placing this question at the centre of good writing. As a reader and reviewer he learned to hate the sight of fatigued and frayed language. The heat was stifling, she rummaged in her bag, he went ballistic, she laughed in spite of herself, someone broke the silence. Amis’s essays indict John Fowles for phrases like “He managed a wan smile” and Michael Crichton for “stunned silence” as well as “unearthly cry” and “deafening roar.” Amis suggests Crichton’s books are dominated by “herds of cliches, roaming free.” As for Thomas Harris, he’s “a serial murderer of English sentences” and his books “a necropolis of prose.” ( Fulford )
“Not all University of Oxford researchers are uptight and humorless, “irregardless” of what you might think. In fact, a bunch of them compiled a list of the Top 10 Most Irritating Expressions in the English language — just because we needed one.
Though maybe “you could care less,” the scholars in question keep track of linguistic mangling and overused buzzwords in a database called the Oxford University Corpus. The voluminous record keeps track of books, magazines, broadcast, online media and other sources, watching for new overused, tiresome phrases and retiring those that fade from use (or misuse).-John Scott Lewinski
The great hierarchy of verbal fatigue includes:
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
The list appears in a new book, Damp Squid: The English Language Laid Bare, by Jeremy Butterfield.