Monday, December 27, 2010

Annoying Words and Phrases

No one has a finer command of language than the person who keeps his mouth shut. - Sam Rayburn

With Christmas behind me, I can forget about shopping and focus on the upcoming New Year. I’d like to start 2011 off on the right foot. For instance, when speaking to people, I want to do my best to not irritate them with words or phrases they find annoying. Thanks to a recent Marist Poll of 1020 adults, I know the top five offenders.

“Whatever” heads the list as the most annoying word in the English language garnering 39% of the vote. “Like” was second with 28%. “You know what I mean” came in third with 15%. “To tell the truth” followed with 10%. “Actually” earned 5% of the vote.

According to their statistics, people over the age of 45 with no children in the household found “whatever” slightly more annoying than the group consisting of 18 to 29-year-olds. This second group found “like” more annoying. You can find the specifics of the demographic breakdown here.

Whatever is usually a conversation ender, so there’s less likelihood of it being overused during a single discussion than the other four words. However, none of annoying words bother me—maybe because I know I’ve used them all at one time or another.

If I had been asked, I would have nominated, “my bad.” Though I’ve learned that it’s a flippant apology, when I hear this phrase I want to ask, “My bad what?” My husband says this shows my age and my complaint would cause most people to LOL. He’s probably right.


What word or phrase would you select as the most annoying?

There are only a few days left to participate in Darcia Helle’s Indie Books Holiday Giveaway, so be sure to hurry over to enter if you’ve been procrastinating.

Wishing you all a safe, happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year.

Thanks for stopping by today. I hope to see you next week

Tags: Sam Rayburn, annoying words, my bad, Darcia Helle, Indie Books Giveaway,


Old Kitty said...

I have never in all my life heard of "my bad"! LOL!!

I think I'm ok with the use of these phrases! I think people's manners annoy me more than the words they use. And if push comes to shove then I'd say yelling on your mobile phone or with your friend sitting inches from you with language littered with profanity - annoys the crap out of me!

I sound so old! LOL! take care

Carol Kilgore said...

Probably those most annoyed with 'whatever' have teens or tweens. I'm totally guilty of 'my bad'. If a make a goof on something small, it's what I say instead of 'sorry'. I say it a lot - LOL.

Whatever :)

Teresa aka JW said...

I don't get annoyed by these newish words and phrases. Why? Because it's a sign of the newest generation. In my day (big sigh) we also had trendy words that set us apart from the elders.

I embrace the new and try not to use the words much. I don't deliver them well. :) I let the youngins' "do their own thing".

Great post!

Darcia Helle said...

None of these words annoy me for the most part. Occasionally, someone will use "like" in every sentence and that can grate on my nerves. But the overuse of any word can be irritating. This post makes me wonder what our parents were thinking with the phrases popular in our generations. We used "wicked pissa" constantly, which much have driven my parents nuts!

Jan Morrison said...

I have way too much to say on this topic so I will try to keep it short. All those phrases such as 'like' and 'sort of' 'kind of' 'maybe' are because no one, in particular youth culture, want to commit to anything. I used to work a great deal with youth and I would say 'at least commit to a sentence - believe what you are going to say'. 'Whatever' is disliked because it discounts the words the person communicating with another has said. It really means 'I don't give a shit what you think' thus it is infuriating.
Here are two that make my step-daughter and I crings - lol (how else does one laugh but outloud?) and pagans who say 'blessed be'. What does that even mean? Oh well, I am getting old I guess. Whatever.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Whatever is annoying, but any text lingo annoys me even more!

Linda Leszczuk said...

Actually, to tell the truth, I really, like, hate "whatever", you know what I mean? Oops, my bad.

"Whatever" is most annoying because of the heavy dose of attitude that usually comes with it. The one I'm most guilty of over-using is "actually". It just creeps in there.

The Golden Eagle said...

Like annoys me a LOT. It's just so, like, you know, like, repetitive and it makes me feel like I'm being beaten over the head with it.

Alan Orloff said...

At the end of the day, I'd have to say I'm not fond of the expression, "at the end of the day."

Susanne Drazic said...

"Whatever" grates on my nerves because of the attitude that goes along with it. They are dismissing everything you just said and not in a good way.

Jemi Fraser said...

The kids at school use 'my bad' all the time! 'Whatever' drives me crazy! :)

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

Old Kitty, “my bad” is a fairly new entry. I recently heard it for the first time on a commercial. You’re right, though, manners are important and people with cell phones can be really inconsiderate.

Carol, I think you’re right that “whatever” is used more in household with kids. I know I overuse the phrase, “no problem.”

Teresa, I need to adopt your attitude so I won’t seem like such a grumpy old lady!

Darcia, I know some people use “like” almost every other word without being aware they’re doing it. Is it rude to point it out? Now I have to show my age again and ask, what is “wicked pissa”?

Jan, that’s an interesting point of view, and I think you hit it dead on as to why “whatever” is so maddening. I don’t understand the LOL either, but it seems to have become a part of our language – unfortunately. I’m not sure what the “blessed be” means either.

Me, too, Alex! Probably because I don’t know what most of it means.

Linda, I’m guilty of “actually” overuse as well.

Golden Eagle, maybe we can start a campaign against using “like.”

Alan, “end of the day” is a good one. Maybe we should conduct our own poll.

Susan, it looks like “whatever” is going to come out as the leader of offenders among my readers.

Jemi, now I can see why “whatever” won as the most annoying word.

Rayna M. Iyer said...

My seven year old uses 'whatever' a lot, because the word (and attitude) is already popular among his peers, but he knows what I think about the word, so he always says it with an endearing smile- it is more of an inside joke than anything else.
Most of these words do not annoy me as words- it is the attitude implicit in their usage that I don't like. And that attitude transcends language or words.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I confess - I use 'my bad' sometimes.

Helen Ginger said...

I would have chosen "actually," "literally" and "like," although I don't hear "like" much anymore. I am actively trying to purge the first two from my vocabulary.

Dave King said...

Loved your opening quote. My current pet hates are awesome and actually - but I've lots more, as I guess we all have.

Hart Johnson said...

This is funny--I think people find 'most annoying' things used by people in the generation immediately younger than them... though 'whatever' really is just rudeness, so I will go along with this one.

My Bad is something I picked up talking to teens but only EVER use it as sort of a joke apology [like apologizing for not doing something I never meant to do and everyone knows it--what, nobody brought the caviar? My bad.] --when people use it as a serious apology, it lacks sincerity.

Carla said...

This was fun to read..."like" and "you know what I mean" drive me crazy!

Karl said...

"Vanity Press" is up there right now, along with the perennials, "Irregardless" and "Lates."

Patricia Stoltey said...

One phrase that annoys me when used as an indignant response to a criticism, is "thank you very much." An example would be, "I ate that last piece of pie because I wanted it, thank you very much." It's the sarcastic tone, of course, that makes it annoying. It seems to appear over and over in novels these days.

Jane, I want to wish you a happy and healthy new year filled with fun and success. Do you have any new writing projects going on?

Enid Wilson said...

Happy New Year Jane! Very interesting stat. My sister gets very annoyed when her teenage daughter says "whatever"! Once, my friend told me I should use "Do you remember?" less. I guess I annoyed her very much with that.

Fire and Cross

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

Rayna, it’s amazing how quickly children learn the subtleties of words and expressions.

Diane, as you write young adult novels, it makes sense to me that you’d adopt some of their phrases.

Helen, I’m guilty of overusing the first two, as well.

Dave, I thought it was a fun quote. Awesome is a good word for the annoying list.

Hart, good point. If I were around teens more, I might grow fonder of some of their phrases.

Carla, “You know what I mean” is another great phrase for the annoying list.

Karl, I never did understand the use of irregardless. I don’t know the term “lates.”

Patricia, I guess most anything said with a sarcastic tone can be annoying. Happy New Year to you, too. My second book is with the publisher and I’m hoping to be more diligent about working on the third this year.

Enid, I’m thinking everyone has a word or phrase that they overuse without realizing it.

Jen Chandler said...

"Oh snap" really annoys me. I have no idea what it means! I mean, what are you snapping?!?

What i really hate is when people use text "speak" in their emails. Ok, I hate when people use text speak in texts. Come on, people. Vowels are there for a reason!

Srsly ;)

Jane's Ride - Novelist Jane Kennedy Sutton's journey through the ups and downs of the writing, publishing and marketing world