What annoying/pretentious terms and figures of speech should be abolished?

We all have certain phrases and expressions that grate on our nerves. Irritating, misleading, annoying, pretentious, blowhardy – I’ll avoid breaking out the thesaurus. Which ones do you guys think should be eliminated from use forevermore?

My personal candidates:

“A certain je ne sais quoi” (Or, for that matter, any insertion of French into English)

References to “the corporate state”

Demanding someone “take back” a statement (How could that ever be satisfying?)

“No offense, but…” (Also known as, “I’m going to insult you, but I don’t want you to get mad…”)

“Double standard”

Complaints about being “trapped between two cultures”

“when I was your age…” I’ve ALWAYS hated that because you KNEW a lecture was coming. :frowning:

I really dislike “…frankly speaking…” Does the speaker not speak truthfully otherwise?..are we not to be shocked by the speaker’s relevation?..etc.

Not for nothin’…

I was like reading your post… and like trying to come up with something like really witty. I’m just not sure if any expression bothers me like all that much.

Know what I mean? :rolleyes:

“Ergo”, too pompous

“Anyways”, there is no ‘s’ in anyway!

“Mauve”, but only when it is incorrectly pronounced. The correct (and only) pronounciation Is Môv (really, look it up).

“Thinking outside the box”, too cliché

“Cliché”, too French :smiley:

“Happy go lucky”.

What the f*** does this mean?! I want to puke whenever I hear someone described this way. And it’s always someone who died an untimely death! Stop saying this!!!


It’s such a “talking point” kind of word. Even when it’s appropriate it’s annoying.

Right from the get-go.

Giving a hundred and ten percent. If only for the innumerate impossibility of it.

“Remember: It don’t mean a thing if it doesn’t have a certain je ne sais quoi.”


So? Why is that an issue? Does everything have to be 100% literal?

Well, the obvious one: "In My Humble Opinion"

“Touch base.” (Touch this!)
“You know what I’m sayin’?” (Yes, dammit, I KNOW!)

“We want flexibility.” (You want control. Just admit it.)


As in, “Clearly, President Carter was Satan incarnate,” when the assertion is debatable.

It makes one sound quite juvinile and stubborn.

Anything about “paradigm shifts”.

Ah, they’re 1920’s style “Death Rays.”

You don’t hear it so much in conversation, but there was a time when you couldn’t read literary reviews without coming across the term “Postmodern,” often abbreviated “Pomo.” What bothered me so much about the term “Postmodern” was not so much that it was vague, or often misapplied, or even that it was not technically possible for anything to be “Postmodern.” It’s just that every time I read the word “Pomo,” I thought that the word in use is “Porno.” Then I spent a few minutes trying to figure out what the pornographic content in the reviewed book could possibly have been. It drove me to distraction, I tell you!

Then there was Post-Postmodern, which was even worse. And Irony, and the Death of Irony. I don’t read a lot of literary reviews anymore.


Using ‘sexy’ to describe to describe new results or certain journals. (I work in a research lab … not sure if this happens outside of science research.)

“As per usual” ICK!!

“Hegemony,” “dialectics,” and “bourgeoisie.” Using those words does not make you sound intellectual, it makes you sound like your mental development got stuck in the 1870’s.

“Healing Process.” A smarmy, silly phrase used to gleefully gloss over the fact that life is often difficult and painful and sometimes you don’t “just get over” things.

“Enlightened” or “Evolved” whenever they are used to convey a sense of superiority over whomever the user is lecturing.

“Inner child.” Although I think, thank Og, that one is finally on its way out.