23 March 2004

At the end of the day... we're fed up with clichés.

http://www.plainenglish.co.uk/pressrelease.html

Plain English supporters around the world have voted "At the end of the day" as the most irritating phrase in the language.

Second place in the vote was shared by "At this moment in time" and the constant use of "like" as if it were a form of punctuation. "With all due respect" came fourth.

The Campaign surveyed its 5000 supporters in more than 70 countries as part of the build-up to its 25th anniversary. The independent pressure group was launched on 26 July 1979.

Spokesman John Lister said over-used phrases were a barrier to communication. "When readers or listeners come across these tired expressions, they start tuning out and completely miss the message - assuming there is one! Using these terms in daily business is about professional as wearing a novelty tie or having a wacky ringtone on your phone.

"George Orwell's advice from 1946 is still worth following: 'Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.'"

The following terms also received multiple nominations:

  • 24/7
  • absolutely
  • address the issue
  • around (in place of "about")
  • awesome
  • ballpark figure
  • basically
  • basis ("on a weekly basis" in place of "weekly" and so on)
  • bear with me
  • between a rock and a hard place
  • blue sky (thinking)
  • boggles the mind
  • bottom line
  • crack troops
  • diamond geezer
  • epicentre (used incorrectly)
  • glass half full (or half empty)
  • going forward
  • I hear what you're saying..
  • in terms of...
  • it's not rocket science
  • literally
  • move the goal-posts
  • ongoing
  • prioritise
  • pushing the envelope
  • singing from the same hymn sheet
  • the fact of the matter is
  • thinking outside the box
  • to be honest/to be honest with you/to be perfectly honest
  • touch base
  • up to (in place of "about")
  • value-added (in general use)