The shelf life of buzzwords
Published: Wednesday, December 10, 2008 - 7:39pm
I personally think I'm a fairly unique person. At the end of the day, with all due respect to the extensive vocabularies of my family and friends, I absolutely believe it's a nightmare to dwell on this sort of thing. It's not rocket science, this study of words, but at this moment in time, I shouldn't of gone on such a tangent. But that's just me; dwelling on this sort of thing 24/7, wondering how to craft it into a worthwhile blog entry.
Whew, I've done it. I've managed to fit all 10 of Oxford's Top 10 Most Irritating Expressions in the English Language into a paragraph that makes a little bit of sense.
According to Oxford University researchers, these are the phrases that get under their skin the most:
- 1. At the end of the day
2. Fairly unique
3. I personally
4. At this moment in time
5. With all due respect
7. It's a nightmare
8. Shouldn't of
10. It's not rocket science
Do I use any of them? Do you? I know I don't use the ungrammatical "should of" in real life, but I am probably guilty of some of the others.
In the big picture, I'm not too worried about the irritation level of the words I use, but I am curious about some of the go-to phrases that flavor my conversation and writing. Are they tired? Are they stale? Just look at how I started this paragraph with "in the big picture." It doesn't seem all that different from the Oxford list's "at the end of the day."
Here is my challenge to you: Monitor your words today, in conversation and in writing, and run away from your default phrases. Inject some cutting imagery into your discussions of multi-variable equations or campus lunch plans.
Once you hit on the perfect phrase, use it, and use it often, before it expires. You don't want to end up on this Oxford list.