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Stop Saying That!!

Recently, Kim posted about the misuse of the word “literally” on a sign she saw while running a race.  This misuse happens to be a pet peeve of my own.  I’ll use the example she used:

“The example I always think of is when someone says “my cell phone was literally blowing up” (referring to getting a lot of calls or texts). No. It was not. If it was literally blowing up, it probably would have blown your ear off, and you would be talking about that instead. It was figuratively blowing up (even then, that’s a dumb thing to say).”

In college, I majored in English and Writing.  That may not be evident on this blog because I write mainly from a stream of conscious, but in real life- especially professionally- the misuse of words makes me crazy.  But even worse is the misuse of phrases; phrases that just simply don’t make sense, are phrased wrong, or have extra words that serve no purpose.  That drives me nuts!

Here are a few that really make me cringe:

  • It is what it is- Why even bother to open your mouth at all, if this is what you’re going to say?  This non-apologetic phrase is also often used to avoid responsibility.  This saying is usually accompanied by a shoulder shrug which only further proves what a douchebag thing it was to say in the first place.
  • To each his own– This is downright dismissive.  It’s a semi-kinder way of saying ‘whatever’ and it’s a much shorter way to say what really means: ‘I have no idea what you’re talking about nor do I care or intend to make any effort to understand it’.
  • First things first- Well, of course it is!  Have you no concept of linear time?!??!?
  • I’m sorry you feel that way– It may sound polite or even like an actual an apology, but it isn’t.  Its saying, ‘I don’t care how you feel and I wont take responsibility for causing you to feel this way.’  It subtlety implies that you are wrong to feel a particular way. So it’s actually just an understated way of saying f-you.
  • At this point in timeThis doesn’t even make sense and it sure as hell doesn’t make you sound smarter. It’s repetitive and useless and oh, incorrect.  Your choices are: ‘At this time’ and ‘Now’.  Learn them. Use them.
  • Not for nothing- I don’t get this at all.  It’s as if when a person says this, they mean ‘not that it matters’ or ‘not what I say matters’.  Yet, ‘Not for nothing’ must mean ‘for something’, so then wouldn’t it appropriately be ‘not for anything’.  No wonder people struggle with the English language.
  • As a matter of fact- Fact: Facts stand on their own.  Here are the choices: “In fact” or “Factually.”
  • No offenses, but– Sugarcoating your statement with ‘no offense’ does not pardon you from the said offense.  Saying ‘no offense’ just means that you’re aware of your own thoughtlessness but are going to go ahead with it anyway. This just makes you an asshole.
  • I could care less- This phrase makes me want to scream!  I hear this at least once a day if not more.  It is the KING of all misused phrases!  Listen close- the phrase is “I couldn’t care less”.  By saying that you could care less you would mean you care.  And that is not what you mean.  What you mean is that even if you tried, you could not care less than you do.  Could. Not.

And my last one is a phrase I am guilty of-

  • Just Sayin.  I mean, of course if I said it, then I was just saying.  I don’t have to clarify that I am saying something that I said!  I have no idea where I picked this up but I drive myself crazy with how often I say it.

What phrases or words drive you crazy?  Do you use any of the above phrases?  What is the grammatical error that makes you most nuts?

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41 thoughts on “Stop Saying That!!

  1. I agree with you on your phrases. As an elementary school teacher, I hear these all the time! One of the many that bothers me is….”Can I go to the bathroom?” We have weekly conversations about how “can” implies physical ability and what they are really asking for is permission to leave the room (“may”). I’m guilty of using all of these phrases and know they are wrong as soon as I utter them 😦 Oops!

  2. I know someone who always says “It is what it is.” I mean, yeah, that’s kind of obvious, and it will continue to be like that if a person has that kind of attitude about things.

    I’ve had someone say “I’m sorry you feel that way” to me, and it just made me mad for the same reasons you listed–it’s NOT an apology at all, it’s actually insulting the person being told that.

  3. i say no offense, and almost always in a joking way – whatever i’m saying before/after it. i’m sure some people can be doing it to be a jerk and try to cover it up. but i’m just trying to be sarcastic/funny.

    so now i know you probably hate my Shift key skillz. 😉 i don’t know why i started w/o caps, and now i don’t know if i should just start using them all of a sudden. OH THE DILEMMA. haha.

    as for my annoyances – i hate when people end a sentence/question with a preposition. my sister got me a card for christmas that had two people – one said “where’s my present at” and the one said “do not end w/ a preposition” (or something like that), and then you open it up and the first girl is saying “where’s my present at, bitch”. hahaha.

    • O.M.G….

      My friend got me the same card but for a birthday. It said “where is your birthday at” and then the same line inside! Hahaha…..I HATE the preposition thing too!

  4. lol. i especially liked the “literally” one. although i am definitely an offender of half of your list!!!!!!! 🙂

    my #1/#2 HATE is words spelled wrong and the misuse of your and you’re. ahhh.

  5. I love this post!!! There isn’t a single phrase I hate more than “it is what it is”. It makes me shudder when I hear it.

    I’ve also been scolded more than once on my blog for saying “I couldn’t care less”… which is correct, but since ppl hear it all the time they don’t know any better.

    “bless her heart” is the “no offense” of the South. Cringe.

  6. HAHAHA – I love this. You and I have discussed an off-shoot of this topic – the innapropriate use of quotes. But keeping on topic, I could NEVER figure out what “not for nothing” meant. Also, “no offense, but…” reminds me of the part in Talledega Nights (did you see that?) when Ricky Bobby is totally offending his boss, but makes a big point of saying, “with all due respect…” And “I could care less” – I hate that one, too. Makes no sense.

    I always say “just sayin'” too, but at this point, it has kind of just become a joke. I used to say it all the time when arguing with my former boss, and it kind of became a joke that I would say things along the line of “Mike, you’re a douche bag. I’m just sayin’…” LOL.

    Another one I hate is when people say they are “head over heels in love.” To me, that’s not really saing much, becuase when I’m standing normally my head is, in fact, over my heels.

  7. Crap, I might have to stop blogging. I’m worried you might get injured from all the cringing I’ve probably caused.
    I think I use ‘At this point in time’ once per day.
    At least you called yourself out for Just Sayin’
    I also invent words or at least add a prefix or suffix here or there where the English language hasn’t quite developed the need.
    You ever read this short story? http://www.theamericanview.com/index.php?id=825
    It literally (ha) changed my life. So whenever I see a grammatical or spelling error, I give the writer the benefit of the doubt (you probably hate that phrase, too). To me, if I see an error, it just reinforces the fact that we are human.
    And writing is hard work.
    My all-time favorite error was “pacific” rather than “specific.”

    • You know what is so funny about you pulling out “specific” is that when I was little, I COULD NOT say that word and it always came out “pacific” no matter how hard I tried!

      In blog land, and in regular life, I always make up words and I never really notice these things- unless they are horribly incorrect. I mostly mean in my professional life; we strive everyday to teach these kids to use proper English but then we set a bad example. The truth is, I love making up words 🙂

  8. I just hate when people use words wrong like you’re and your. Uggg. It drives me crazy. I work with a lot of people who just don’t know how to speak and it is so annoying.

  9. I’m sure I’m guilty of using some of these phrases… there’s a reason I studied math and not English… 😉
    Then there’s dialect and how words are prounounced or which words are used. I used to catch a lot of flack for words/phrases I used which were a result of where I grew up. To this day my friends will comment if I say something weird or what they consider wrong.
    Example: I grew up calling a ski hat or winter hat (or whatever you would call it, I still struggle with a name for it) a toboggan. I even looked it up in a dictionary and it just said “sled”. sigh.
    But, I just looked it up and there is at least a wikipedia page that supports me! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toboggan_(hat)

    • Yeah, I would call a Tobaggan a sled! Dialect is a funny thing; in NJ we know the area people are from by how they pronounce crayon, orange and water.

  10. I admit I’m guilty of some of those offenses, in speech. I’m a stickler for the written word too, though it doesn’t always show when I’m rushed. One of my pet peeves is people who say “irregardless.” What is wrong with regardless? – it means exactly the same thing. I’m just sayin’.

  11. I’m in communications and I’m totally with you on this! I detest when people confuse your/you’re and to/too, especially when people I think of as smart do it! Yesterday the Wash Post used to incorrectly and I wanted to pull my hair out in disgust.

  12. I am sure I am GUILTY of many pet peeves, I never scored well in English 😉

    For some reason people don’t know what “Infamous” means, I have been called “The Infamous Tall mom” more than once.. Really, what did I do to be called Infamous??

    I am not evil, nor have I earned a bad reputation… URGH!!

    http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/infamous

    Kindly swap with Beloved Tall Mom or Fantastic Tall Mom.. HEHEHE 🙂

  13. I LOVE LOVE LOVE your list! Ha. I hadn’t even heard of “not for nothing.” That doesn’t make sense.

    We were watching a movie last night and they used something like “I am sorry you feel that way” and I thought “That is so douchey! Who says that?!”

  14. I have been known to say “Just sayin'” once or twice, probably even as a comment on your blog. It’s a wonder you still talk to me – hehe :). This very topic was on the radio the other day and I have to say, it doesn’t bother me to hear, “It is what it is” because I think it’s a nice closure to an otherwise open sentence.

    Improper use of homonyms – now that drives me nuts (and I will admit, I am an offender when I’m in a rush!)

  15. I was chatting with a coworker today and we were talking about differences in how we celebrate certain things. He ended that portion of our conversation by saying “to each his own” and I thought of your post today. I don’t see any issue with that statement when he said it though since our approaches were so different (celebrating monthly dating anniversaries vs. not even celebrating yearly dating anniversaries). Maybe it depends on the context of which the statement is being said?

  16. “I could care less” is one that drives me up the wall as well!

    However, I kind of like “it is what it is”. I can see the point that you made, but for me… I tend to get worked up and agitated over things that I can’t control. If I pause and say to myself, “it is what is it” then it helps me refocus and stop stressing about insignificance.

  17. Jill – I am still laughing after reading this two days ago …. I wanted to stop by with a great “witticism”, but you picked just about all of my favorites.

    I guess if I had to add one it would be “irregardless”.

    I mean really? Really?

    Thanks for all that you do Jill! Keep doing it!

  18. I have the same with some Dutch phrases. I probably drive you nuts sometimes too as English is not my native language and I do make mistakes 🙂

    This reminds me of something simular, there’s this book which has phrases in it that Dutch people use in English. I believe I have it somewhere upstairs but the title is:

    I always get my sin, they mean “I always get what I want” by that.

    Or “how do you do and how do you do your wife?”

    Or “please thank your cock for the lovely dinner”

    And the last one: I thank you from the bottom of my heart and also from my wife’s bottom

  19. Guilty, guilty, guilty! I catch myself doing these things all the time. I also work with second language learners and many of these errors and tons of others are errors that I hear every day but it doesn’t make it right. Someone needs to take a stand, and you did!

  20. I just found your blog and have been catching up but I HAD to comment here as well. I’m not a native speaker of English but learned it very young and, like you, did a degree in English and, like you, misuse drives me insane. Love your list and have to add one often used in the UK: people will say “I was sat” when they mean “I was sitting”. Or – even worse – “I were sat”. Aaarggh.

    Well now that I’ve got that off my chest I will carry on with your blog.

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