Oxford University, evidently having a wide range of things to study, came up with a list of the ten most irritating phrases. I thought I’d check and see just how irritating I have been on this blog, so here’s how often those phrases have been used here.
10 — “It’s not rocket science.” Never used.
9 — “24/7” Used twice. The first time it was a direct quote from a press release announcing Sirius was going to launch a Bruce Springsteen channel. A subsequent post about that channel mentioned that even for fans like me all Bruce all the time could could get repetitive.
8 — “Shouldn’t of” Never used. Why is this irritating? The correct phrase is “shouldn’t have.”
7 — “It’s a nightmare.” Never used.
6 — “Absolutely.” Although I have used the word as an adjective many times, I have never used it in the context Oxford dislikes. It is annoyed by the word being used as an equivalent to yes, such as when you ask someone if they enjoyed something and the response is, “Absolutely!”
5 — “With all due respect” Never used, at least on the blog. I admit using it as an introductory phrase when I am going to disagree with a judge on a particular point.
4 — “At this moment in time” Never used.
3 — “I personally” Ooops, used this one nine times. But I still consider that relatively minor given the number of words I’ve used in nearly 1,300 posts over the course of more than five years.
2 — “Fairly unique” Never used, which somewhat surprised me.
1 — “At the end of the day” Never used.
Given my track record to date, I feel somewhat compelled to say: With all due respect, at the end of the day I personally think it’s not rocket science or fairly unique to know I shouldn’t of used these phrases at this moment in time, let alone 24/7. Absolutely!
Rocket science has been mythologized all out of proportion to its true difficulty.
John Carmack, October 2002