10 phrases to grind your teeth by

November 7, 2008 by Dave Haynes

I spend much of my workday blabbering away to people about the wonders of the particular set of pots and pans I peddle, and therefore find myself saying the same things over and over.

Hopefully, most of it makes sense, and little of it is peppered with buzz phrases, jargon and irritating business-speak. Somebody threw a “paradigm shift” at me yesterday – an old biz-speak chestnut that I hadn’t been missing.

Now researchers at Oxford University, reports the Daily Telegraph, have released a list of the most irritating phrases being used out there these days:

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

I am guilty of using #1 now and then, usually absent-mindedly, and #10, lots. I will note that they forgot “turnkey solution” and “one-stop shop”.

The phrases appear, the Telly reports, 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.

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