Irritating Phrases

November 7, 2008 at 5:51 pm | Posted in Rants | 1 Comment

I read a story in the Telegraph today about a list of the Top 10 Irritating Phrases compiled by researchers at Oxford University. I have to admit that I’m guilty of using some of the phrases on the list from time to time (#2 and occasionally 3, 4 or 1). I couldn’t help but notice that some of the ones I find to be the most annoying didn’t make the list. Maybe because they are geographically specific to parts of the US and the research was conducted in England?

For example:

1. “On line”…..as in “”Next person on line”, “I was standing on line”

This particular phrase seems to be very popular in the Northeast and truly grates on my nerves. Hello, if there isn’t a line painted on the floor then you aren’t standing ON line, you are standing IN line. I eventually got over the urge to correct people who were saying it, but it bothered me right up until I left NJ.

2. “Cut off “….. the light, radio, etc.

Just to be fair I thought I should probably include one from the South. Being raised in Texas, to me “cutting off the lights” meant that someone didn’t pay the power bill and their electricity was being turned off. In the south, telling someone to cut off the light is synonymous with telling someone to turn off the light.

3. “The five” when used to refer to I-5 in California (or “The 15” or whatever other iteration a person decides to use)

The article went on to state that:

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.”

I have to agree with this. Last week at the vet’s office, every third word out of her mouth after I answered a question was “wonderful”. It was pretty irritating- especially when we were discussing what are possibly tumors that will need to be sampled and evaluated by a pathologist. Call me crazy, but I don’t consider the potential for my dog to have cancer to be wonderful. She wasn’t our regular vet and looked like a new grad, so I’m going to cut her some slack. Bedside manner with owners can be difficult to develop and she did at least listen to me.

What do you think should be included in a US version of this list?

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1 Comment »

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  1. 1. “anyways”….why add an ess?

    2. “Chure” instead of “your,” especially annoying when sung by an entire choir!

    “…and stuff” noted in another state, but repeated as often as “you know”

    Those are the ones that pop out at me off the bat. I don’t hear the ones you list.

    Good post!


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