What annoys us? At the end of the day, it’s not rocket science

November 7th, 2008 - 5:23 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Nov 7 (IANS) Indians may be accused of a fondness for English-language clichés, but Britons use some expressions so frequently they have been classed as irritating.In fact, they have been positively done to death, according to a new list by Oxford University researchers, who have written a book called “Damp Squid”. Researchers reckon that ‘damp squid’ - instead of the correct squib - is used wrongly a staggering 42 percent of the time on the internet.

Heading the list is the expression ‘at the end of the day’, which was followed by the phrase ‘fairly unique’.

Tautology - where two words are used when one will do - is blamed for the expression statement ‘I personally’.

The increasing use of grammatically incorrect phrases also accounts for irritating expressions: ’shouldn’t of’, instead of ’shouldn’t have’.

The researchers compiled the list using a massive database called the Oxford University Corpus, which gleans books, papers, magazines, broadcast, the internet and other sources.

The database alerts them to new words and phrases and can tell them which expressions are disappearing. It also shows how words are being misused.

The book’s author Jeremy Butterfield says that many annoyingly overused expressions began as office jargon, such as ‘24×7′ and ’synergy’.

“We grow tired of anything that is repeated too often - an anecdote, a joke, a mannerism - and the same seems to happen with some language,” Butterfild said.

The author added: “For a lot of people the issue is change itself: modifications to language upset them. This is odd, since we actively seek change in other areas - look at Obama’s victory.”

The top ten most irritating phrases:
1 - At the end of the day
2 - Fairly unique
3 - I personally
4 - At this moment in time
5 - With all due respect
6 - Absolutely
7 - It’s a nightmare
8 - Shouldn’t of
9 - 24×7
10 - It’s not rocket science

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