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Three On Thursday

I don’t consider myself to be a writer but I am an avid reader and a librarian and I guess that makes me very award of . . . words, phrases, and how often certain words and phrases are, frankly, used. Lately I’ve noticed a few expressions that are, to put it mildly, overused. I’ve got 3 I want to pronounce as expressions that should be retired. Immediately.

  1. At the end of the day. Oh, this one. I hear it all the time (especially in meetings) and it’s just  . . . lame. Find a better way to make your point and emphasize what you’re saying. Really, unless you’re talking about the song from Les Miserables I just never want to hear this one again.
  2. Keep Calm and . . . whatever. The origin of this one is brilliant but now it’s gone way too far and it’s used for literally (another overused word but I like it because Parks and Recreation) everything. Keep Calm and sleep for 5 more minutes. Keep Calm and eat chocolate. Keep Calm and hug a panda. These are just a few of the inane and trite uses of the phrase that I found with a super quick Google search. Can we just tell everyone to keep a stiff upper lip?
  3. No offense but . . . Okay. Seriously, if you’re saying no offense, well, the odds are you know that whatever you’re about to say is going to be . . . probably the most offensive thing ever. Really, it’s a precursor to an insult and that’s just wildly wrong so stop using “no offense” as a way to justify you’re offensive statement.

In all honestly, I’m sure I’ve used these phrases, too. I know I’m guilty of saying not in my wheelhouse, sorry-not-sorry, totes, and awesomesauce. But I’m saying it now for all to hear: enough with the clichés! I’m off to buy a new thesaurus!

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This Post Has 19 Comments

  1. Years ago, following John Dean’s Watergate testimony, I got so sick of ” at that point in time.”

  2. I am a writer, but sometimes it’s hard to avoid clichés.
    I know I’m guilty of it when I write in English because my vocabulary is mostly accumulated by reading what other people write. I mostly read blogs in English and blogs tend to be full of cliché writing…
    In Dutch (my native language and the language I write my novels in), I try to steer away from clichés. I love people who use their words in a creative or new way, but I have to admit my use of language when I write is more of the ‘easy reading’ kind. I just try to do that without contemporary (and thus fast getting outdated) phrases.
    ‘No offense but’ is a worldwide problem, I think. We have that one too. It goes side by side with ‘I don’t want to complain, but…’ and ‘it’s none of my business, but…’
    The cliché I dislike the most is starting articles (esp. in newspapers) with (translated) ‘finally, the day came.’

  3. Your Honor, may I submit “Let’s unpack that…”? It was a stupid phrase when I first heard it as a business buzzword 30 years ago and continues to be used by people who think they need to show how much they know. Just. Stop. I would also be delighted if people would stop abusing “literally”, especially when used incorrectly.

    Thanks. I feel better now.

  4. I agree, and sometimes have to “translate” during meetings. I would be happy if I no longer had to hear “low-hanging fruit”, “the calculus of it”, “give 110%”, and “paradigm shift”. “I could care less” just makes me laugh (literally).

  5. “My bad” and “outside the box” are ones that bother me. And nearly anything that turns a verb into a noun, aka “parenting” “monetizing” etc.

  6. Oh, man. Don’t even get me started. 🙂
    ANYTHNG about “drinking the Kool-Aid.”
    Or “bandwidth.”
    “Leveraging” whatever.
    (And I roll my eyes so hard whenever I hear/see a grown person say . . . “totes.”)

  7. I refuse to “stick a pin in it” and, while we’re at it, if one more person tells me they “could care less” I may lose my ever-loving mind.

  8. If only there was a button to turn on that edits cliches in your brain like Word does when you write!

  9. Yes, yes and yes. I find “No offense but”….um, offensive. Also on my list would be Not for nothing… and calling any kind of experience or process “my xxx journey”.

    That said I am very guilty of overusing the word awesome. Everyone’s got something they overdo!

  10. I suspect “narrative” is my near-the-top disliked cliche´ of the times…thanks for the thoughtful post; has me thinking about phrases I use, how I say -or don’t- things, etc…


  11. Stephen Colbert banned “no offense” this past week when in furry hat mode, explaining it just as you did. You just need a furry hat to declare things that are off limits, Carole! As a selectman, I think you should have a furry hat. All forms of superlatives that “he who shall not be named” uses push all my buttons. Superlatives should be used only for things that are actually superlative. Please put that on your list of banned phrases when you furry hat comes in.

  12. “super fun” post, Carole 😉 the comments, too! My #1 pet peeve is “I’m sorry, but” kind of like your “no offense, but” but worse, because the person obviously already knows they need to apologize … so why say it??!!!!

  13. I’ve hated “no offense, but…” since I heard it in 5th grade and that was many, many, many years ago. It still irks me. One that annoys me is calling somebody “my friend,” usually not in a nice manner.

  14. Oh yes on “No offense but” ANY phrase you use BUT in like “I’m sorry, but” should be banned. You are NOT apologizing if you use BUT! YOU are the offense if you say “No offense but”! I am an over user of “awesome”.

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