The top ten most irritating phrases

By Mark O’Neill
Contributing Writer, [GAS]

Researchers from a database called the Oxford University Corpus have compiled a list of the ten most irritating phrases – and I am a bit taken aback to discover that I say most of them!   Ahem.

One of them, “I personally”, has been described by BBC Radio 4 presenter John Humphreys as “the linguistic equivalent of having chips with rice.”

So how many of them do YOU say?

The top ten most irritating phrases:

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 say 1, 3, 4 , 6, 9 and 10 – and chips is lovely with rice thank you.

What phrases irritate YOU the most?

27 Responses to The top ten most irritating phrases

  1. I don't like it when people say "exact same". It's the same thing. Saying "exact" with it is just redundant.

    I only say #9 sometimes so hopefully I don't irritate people too much. I am annoying in many other ways though so…

  2. If you live in the states, especially the southern ones, the most irritating phrase is definitely "get 'r done", if I hear that one more time, I will raise General Sherman from the dead and we will end those ignorant sons' of bitch(es?) lives Scorched Earth style….

    Also, as far as British saying, or the ones mentioned in the article, the only one that bothers me is "at the end of the day", if anyone has seen The Streets video where he is getting kicked out of his house, you'll know why.

    It honestly probably has more to do with who is saying it.

  3. "To be honest with you…"

    You were being something other than honest up to this point?

    "I don't know how to say this, but…"

    Say it anyway – try not to weasel out. (There's a GREAT Dilbert cartoon on this one.)


    Love double negatives.

  4. There are these two lugnuts I work with who constantly use "Evidently…" and "Basically…" as sentence-starters. Yet neither of these geniuses grasp that what they're saying is neither evident – else it wouldn't need to be said – nor basic.

    Worse still, the first of those same two guys, leads off and frequently interrupts his sentences with this Neanderthal-esqe guttural, "Uh…" Not only is it just annoying as hell, but it causes everything he says to take twice as long and twice as difficult to listen to.

    Basically, I just, um, avoid these, uh, morons anytime I, ah, evidently can.

  5. I friggin' hate when some idiot says: Think outside the box. When I think box, I'm always thinking "in" that gorgeous box.

    Also, when some artsy/designer type talks about a color or some other element making "it" "pop". Like fingernails on a chalkboard. I'd like to "pop" them.

    Other times these same people seem almost normal.


  6. I am actually very amused with the usage of "uh" and "uhm". I spent an entire semester in one of my graduate linguistics class discussing those. They have an enormous impact on linguistics and the origin of language, however, there are people that use it to much.

    Barack Obama comes to mind, and although I voted for him and believe him to be the change in leadership the states need, it is sometimes hard to follow him, or remember what he just said with all of his "uh" and "uhm" interludes.

    Yea, "think outside the box" is another irritating one, only used by dumbshlts that cannot even find their way around the box.

    I am also surprised to see that no one mentioned, "we need to talk", and although us geeks probably haven't had the chance to hear that one much, if at all, it is still devastating to imagine.

  7. I know a girl in work whose whole vocabulary is a bunch of annoying cliches such as,

    "I'm not being funny but….."

    "Do you know what I mean?"

    "At the end of the day…."


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