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 time– This 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?