Researchers at Oxford University have made a list of the top ten English words and phrases that people find the most annoying or irritating. Basically, these are the words / phrases that people hate to hear. They are words that are used too much and become clichés. Often, these words appear in office-speak before becoming widely used in spoken English. Here is the top ten and a little information on their meanings and why people find them annoying:
1 - At the end of the day
We use this expression before we say what we believe to be the most important fact of a situation. In conclusion and when all is said and done have the same meaning.
We made a lot of mistakes and it but longer than expected, but at the end of the day, our clients were happy with the results.
2 - Fairly unique
This is an example of an oxymoron - two words used together which have, or seem to have, opposite meanings. If something is unique it is the only one of its type, therefore something can be 'unique' or 'not unique'; it can not be fairly unique.
The design of this car is fairly unique.
3 - I personally
People find this phrase annoying because I and personally have the same meaning. When we use I there is no real need to use personally. I is personal.
I personally believe that this is the best plan.
4 - At this moment in time
This expression simply means now or at the moment. It is felt that this expression is used to much and overblown - longer or more impressive than it should be.
At this moment in time, we have no intention of opening another store.
5 - With all due respect
We use this expression before we say something impolite or before we disagree. Many people dislike this phrase because they feel that it makes it OK to be rude to someone if we use this expression first. Although we say we respect someone in the phrase, we then say something which is not respectful.
With all due respect, I think you are wrong.
6 - Absolutely
This word is an adverb which means 'very' or 'completely' - The film was absolutely wonderful. People find absolutely annoying when it is used to mean yes or I agree.
"It's a great book."
7 - It's a nightmare
A nightmare is a very scary dream you have when sleeping. It's a nightmare is an idiom which means 'a very bad event or experience.' It is felt that people use this expression too much in spoken English.
It was a nightmare driving to work this morning - there was so much traffic on the road that I was an hour late.
8 - Shouldn't of
We use this expression to express regret about something we have (or haven't) done. It is also used to criticise the actions of others. It is not good English - the correct expression is shouldn't have.
I shouldn't of drunk so much beer last night; I have a terrible headache.
9 - 24/7
This expression refers to 24 hours a day; 7 days a week. It is used to emphasise something that never stops or is continuous. People find this expression annoying because it is office-speak, not always true and the word always is better suited than 24 / 7.
I'm always busy - 24/7.
10 - It's not rocket science
This expression means 'It's not difficult' - rocket science is difficult; this isn't. This expression is disliked because it's a cliché (a comment that is very often made and is therefore not original and not interesting).
You can't guess the answer? Come on, it's not rocket science!