Thursday, June 22, 2017


            Maybe “hate” is a bit strong, but there are some current expressions which I find especially annoying because they are so overused. Perhaps you have your own list too. Here are four that make me grind my teeth a little.

1. “At the end of the day…” I’m sure you’ve heard this one. It seems to have flared up a couple of years ago, and now everybody’s using it, especially on CNN. All I have to hear is a political commentator start a sentence with “At the end of the day,” and my ears shut down. For one thing, the phrase is filler, intended to launch a sentence while the speaker figures out what to say next. For another, it’s wordy. If you must use this phrase, then please file it down. I’d be happy if the offender shortened it to “In the end” or even “In the final analysis…”

2. “There’s no there there.” I actually liked this for a while. I found it clever and a bit witty. But you know, after 5000 commentators used this phrase, I began to feel there’s no there there. Whatever originality once existed has gone someplace else than there.

3. “Man up,” or “Why don’t you man up?” It used to be “Why don’t you be [or act like] a man?” But times change. Newt Gingrich used this during his latest campaign for president when he said one of his rivals should “man up” about something. This phrase seems to have faded from use recently, but never fear. I expect a surge of testosterone to bring some variation of it back.

4. “It is what it is.”  - Not to be confused with “Tell it like it is.” Recently, my dentist put my nose out of joint (say, wasn’t that once an overused phrase?) when he dismissed my polite complaint concerning a bad tooth by saying “It is what it is.” I wanted to reply, “How brilliant! How perceptive and profound! Did you figure that out all by yourself, or did you learn it in dentistry school?” What exactly does this cretinous statement mean? Is a cow what it is, too?

          Dear readers, that’s all for this time. If you have any phrases or expressions you personally dislike, why don’t you man or woman up and share them with us? At the end of the day, I have to know if there’s any there there, or if it simply is what it is.   

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  1. John, You "hit the nail on the head" with that post. Oops! I'm using an old popular phrase. I do like "It is what it is" for dialogue for character development in a book.

  2. Thanks, Cynthia! I know I'm a little late responding to you. But you know, BETTER LATE THAN NEVER. :)

  3. Hi John,

    I just subscribed to your newsletter. I can’t wait to see how it differs from your blog. I’m sure I’ll learn a lot from your writings.

    Take care,

  4. Thanks, Cherrye. I hope you won't be disappointed.