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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Irritating phrases

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Oxford University compiled a list of top 10 irritating phrases. These phrases were deemed irritating because they were repeated too often. I personally don’t think that just because a phrase is used often it becomes irritating. With all due respect to Oxford University, a phrase may be used often because at this moment in time it represents fairly unique phenomenon with no proper substitutes. At the end of the day what matters not that a phrase is used 24x7 by someone who shouldn’t of used it, but that it absolutely and clearly represents what it is supposed to. It’s not a rocket science to invent new phrases which will replaces these supposedly irritating phrases but it will be a nightmare to make public adopt those as much as it has done these.

Very soon readers pointed out their own 20 irritating phrases. Actually, I can’t seem to get my head round it. You know, all these phrases which these people say are irritating are very useful for some others. Basically, what’s point of relegating a phrase to be irritating without suggesting appropriate substitute for it so that others can use? After all, they shouldn’t just talk the talk but also got to walk the talk. To be fair and to be honest, readers have reasons to be irritated by these phrases. Let’s face it, these phrases are annoying not just because of their repeat uses, but the fact of the matter is that those who use them don’t use them in correct context. I am not being funny but frankly it’s not the phrases that are irritating but their users who use them incorrectly. Of course, reason being that people learn uses from people around them and when they sing from same hymn sheet, they are going to sound all the same. Clearly, a misuse has potential to snowball unless lessons are learned. Going forward, I believe that we must make 110% sure that people touch base with actual, real and contextual meaning of these phrases in their school. Perhaps a raft of proposals is required to be rolled out to implement such inspection of published text in learning phase and in use phase in published content. May be proposals are already in the pipeline and we may results by the end of play today itself, what say?

Clearly, it was corny attempt, which you saw through. Still, first paragraph wasn't so bad, was it?

My personally most irritating phrase is “literally” not because phrase is wrong but because people almost always use it wrong. “Literally” is opposite of “figuratively” and is supposed to emphasize literal meaning of something when figurative meaning is more common. For example, ‘I could die from work today’ doesn’t mean that my life element will cease to exist because of amount of work I have (literal meaning) but that I have too much work (figurative meaning). Sometime, there is need to point out real meaning by use of “literally” such as in ‘this movie was emotional, I literally cried’. Ignorant people use phrase to emphasize their figurative meaning which is “literally” is not supposed to do, literally speaking.
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