Grammar

Leading Lame Lines

Plain English supporters around the world have voted “At the end of the day” as the most irritating phrase in the language.

Second place in the vote was shared by “At this moment in time” and the constant use of “like” as if it were a form of punctuation. “With all due respect” came fourth.

The Campaign surveyed its 5000 supporters in more than 70 countries as part of the build-up to its 25th anniversary. The independent pressure group was launched on 26 July 1979.

Spokesman John Lister said over-used phrases were a barrier to communication. “When readers or listeners come across these tired expressions, they start tuning out and completely miss the message – assuming there is one! Using these terms in daily business is about professional as wearing a novelty tie or having a wacky ringtone on your phone.

“George Orwell’s advice from 1946 is still worth following: ‘Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.'”

The following terms also received multiple nominations:

24/7
absolutely
address the issue
around (in place of “about”)
awesome
ballpark figure
basically
basis (“on a weekly basis” in place of “weekly” and so on)
bear with me
between a rock and a hard place
blue sky (thinking)
boggles the mind
bottom line
crack troops
diamond geezer
epicentre (used incorrectly)
glass half full (or half empty)
going forward
I hear what you’re saying..
in terms of…
it’s not rocket science
literally
move the goal-posts
ongoing
prioritize
pushing the envelope
singing from the same hymn sheet
the fact ofthe matter is
thinking outside the box
to be honest/to be honest with you/to be perfectly honest
touch base
up to (in place of “about”)
value-added (in general use)

Note that the phrase “political correctness” isn’t on the list. It’s still at the top of my list.

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Patrick is a Christian with more than 28 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.