I’m so intolerant of some things, and yet in other areas I am very relaxed about different ways of doing things, saying things, behaving. On the one hand I embrace and use new words and terminology, but other things that I irrationally decide are incorrect or ridiculous, I moan endlessly about. Have I always been like this or is this just as I have become older, is it the result of having children and wanting them to speak clearly, understandably, “correctly” and worse than “correctly” – “properly”? Even now I correct my adult children when they say ‘different to’ instead of ‘different from’ and yet it makes absolutely no difference to any one understanding them and it is so common now that it’s actually pointless me being so pernickety. It’s something that has come from my parents, and I think particularly my mum – her sister once told me off for something I said when I was just running up to my fortieth birthday – ‘we don’t say shut up in this house!’ she admonished.
What is currently irritating me – something which I confess I have slipped into saying, ‘so’ at the beginning of sentences, as a conjunction which has now become almost universal. It’s meaningless and acts as a sort of preamble like ‘well’, ‘actually’. or even ‘u,’ or ‘er’. I notice in my previous sentence I used another irritant, ‘sort of’; my son says it almost every other word and it is really quite irritating – but so easy to slip into using. When not using ‘sort’ of, people use ‘kind of’ and ‘like’, which I am sure we all say but it is when these little phrases become so prevalent they’re in every other sentence.
There are phrases which swing in and out of fashion, replacing perfectly ordinary and useful and understandable words. ‘Going forward’ – this doesn’t mean anyone proceeds in a particular direction, it’s nothing to do with direction but time. It means in the future, simply that. ‘Reaching out’ – no-one is extending their arm or anything else in a physical sense it now simply means getting in touch with. Reach out to your bank, reach out to your distant cousin, reach out to the complaints department.
Finally, for the moment, I heard today an example of something else which really grates. On the radio someone was talking about banks and banking, and said ‘You’ve got your Barclays, you’ve got your Lloyds etc’ meaning ‘there are well known banks for example, Barclays’ and Lloyds”. It’s the same as when People say things like I can’t exactly say why this so annoys me but I found myself shouting at the radio that no, I did not have a bank belonging to me, neither Lloyds nor Barclays!
I’m not even going to mention politicians saying I should let them be clear… grrrr.
Michael used to call these “linguistic tics”, among which were, “no worries” and “not a problem”. All the ones you listed also irritate me.
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Noooo!!! I’d forgotten them and now you have inserted them in my head!! They are so annoying! 🙂
Another thing that annoys me is when you ask someone how they are and they reply, “I’m good”. My response to that is, “Good at what?” or “I didn’t think you were bad!” Yes, I know I ‘m an old pedant, but somebody has to be!
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It drives me crackers!
An interesting post. I had noticed recently that people often start a sentence with ‘so’ when being interviewed on the radio, but I thought that it was an americanism, just like the ‘I’m good’ pointed out by Isabel … until I visited some friends in York then in Cambridge recently and everybody was ‘good’!!! As to ‘no worry’, it seems to have become the norm in France too. You order a cup of coffee in a bar or ask a taxi driver to take you somewhere, and the immediate response is ‘pas de souci’, i.e. ‘no worry’, which makes you wonder why you ought to worry!
I first came across something similar donkeys’ years ago when I had a friend with a Turkish son-in-law, and whatever the difficulty, or even as response to a thank-you, he would say ‘no problem’. It really irritated her, but she made it into a funny story, and I thought of her when it began to be more common over here. Now it’s another irritant to me! I must be more patient…
Yes my reaction exactly to “no worries”, similarly “not a problem”. I remember ordering some food in a restaurant and the waiter said “not a problem” to which I replied, “Well it shouldn’t be since this is a restaurant!”
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