Phrases/terms that aggravate the hell out of you

Saying ‘utilize’ when just ‘use’ would do just as well.
Actually somewhat helpful – it lets me know you’re a pompous ass.

“I’m just saying” is a rickety, hastily-constructed fire escape attached to an ill-considered remark.

“Those pants make your ass look big.” [pause] “I’m just sayin’!”

It doesn’t even make sense. Does it mean that your mouth said it but your brain wasn’t thinking it?

Some phrases have become popular with college administrators lately (or maybe I’m just noticing them more) and they tend to set my teeth on edge when I hear them or see them pop up in an email:

Ask, as is “my ask of you is to blah blah blah.” This one in particular drives me nuts, and I can’t really explain why. But I’ve found myself inadvertently using it with my students, which pisses me off even more.

Loop: “I’m going to loop you in on this email so that you can be aware of the changes made to…

Circle around: “yesterday’s incident caused several issues, which I will circle around to in a moment, but first…

People who use the word “literally” when they actually mean “figuratively”. No, don’t tell me language evolves. If the word “literally” changes to mean “figuratively” then we literally won’t have a word that means “in an actual, factual sense”.

Meetings in which someone says in response to a conversation that’s not strictly on-topic “let’s talk about that offline”. “Offline” has a specific meaning already. In a similar vein, asking if someone has enough “bandwidth” to take on a project. Just ask if they have enough “time”. There could be a whole separate thread of annoying workplace cliché phrases.

“It’s been a minute.”

…Has it?

With me, irritation usually arises over the fact that they are horribly overused and misused. The OP’s example of “countless” is a good example. Very few things are “countless”. You can say the grains of sand on all the beaches in the world or all of the stars in the universe are “countless”. Unless you’re talking about something of that magnitude, “countless” is annoying as well as inaccurate.

A pet peeve of mine is, “Do the math.” Heck, you can have a grand total of two choices, and someone will say, “Do the math.” A first grader could do that math.

“Offline” could probably be replaced with a slightly longer phrase that means the same thing even though I can’t pin down exactly what the most efficient phrase would be.

“Bandwidth”, however, conveys its exact meaning so precisely that it is very useful. If someone is asking you to do something that could be accomplished in a week but your time is booked for other things for the next 6 months, you have the time but you don’t have the bandwidth. If someone is asking you to do something that critically needs to be done in 2 weeks, and your part would take you a day, and you are not currently busy, but all the other factors that need to take place like review, testing, configuration, will take a month, then you have the bandwidth but don’t have the time.

Not quite following you here. If “your time is booked for other things” then you don’t have the time.

I guess you’re making a distinction between workload availability (bandwidth) vs. physically being able to complete a task in an allotted time period (time). But whether my manager asks me if I have “time” or “bandwidth” to take on a project, I’m able to understand that I’m being asked “do you have availability given your current workload to finish this project by the deadline?”.

Speak for yourself.

Doesn’t that depend on the actual name of the store? I mean, it’s Nordstrom, not Nordstrom’s, and Neiman Marcus, not Neiman’s, but Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s and Dillard’s are all named that way.

Then there are odd hybrids- Marshall Field & Co. was the official name, but it branded itself as “Marshall Field’s”.

“Outside of the current meeting sometime later” is almost always what “offline” means when I hear it said. It’s just more dumb-ass business jargon people use to sound like they’re one of the cool kids.

I make the distinction frequently. Sometimes the two are indeed interchangeable, but it’s useful to distinguish between not being able to complete something no matter how much you work on it versus something that would be simple to complete if you didn’t have competing items to deal with.

Along the same lines: “In order to …” The in order part is almost never necessary; people just think it sounds more professional or something.

But that’s wayyy less efficient than saying “offline” if that’s what you always mean by it. Which isn’t to say people don’t also prefer it because they think it sounds cool, but it’s not irrational to use it due to its efficiency.

I agree, “bandwidth” and “time” are slightly different. For me, when I use bandwidth, I’m often not even talking about time at all. I may have time in my schedule to get the requested task completed, but it would take up enough “processing power” (for lack of a better term) that it would make it more likely something could be missed or the result could be poor. It may also impact my performance on other tasks.

For me it also sometimes means taking on a longer-term responsibility (say an entirely new project) which could possibly fit in my schedule but would over-tax my ability. Sort of like streaming a movie while a bunch of other downloads are already running - it all might work but the quality would suffer.

If I don’t have the “time” to do it, I literally mean there aren’t enough available minutes in my schedule to complete it. More typically used for short-term tasks (could you review this report for me by EOB today? nope, I don’t have time).

I do agree that many people use them interchangeably.

Maybe this is unique to the setting I worked in, but “offline” meant what you said but with the added color of “while there aren’t as many other people listening”. It would typically be said during a large meeting (PMM or some sort of design review) where working out the details with a large group would be wasteful.

It also had a bit of the literally meaning there too, since those meetings were often hosted “online”.

It’s the IT wonk in me that gets a bit peeved about using “offline” and “bandwidth” like that. I know what they mean, but there’s also the actual meaning of the words which also come up in meetings and infrequently they actually do get confused.

I’m irked by two phrases I hear on the news a lot: “Speaking out” or “breaking their silence”. They’re generally used to describe plain old “speaking”. We aren’t about to hear from Reverend Martin Luther King or J.D. fucking Salinger. Yes, because they’re dead, but also because those phrases have nuance. “Speaking out” is what you do when you stand up against injustice. “Breaking silence” is what you do when you’ve been expected to speak for a long time, but restrained yourself until now.

Was she from the Pittsburgh area?

In particular, she was from the same PNW town as I. It is possible, though, that her parents were from PA.