Someone in a recent Tweet opened with ‘There is no question that..’ which immediately irritated me as it was on an issue where there clearly was a question. It reminded me of phrases that annoy me. Readers may well add others. (I was going to write ‘No doubt readers will add others’, but as I cannot be sure they will the comment would not be strictly accurate.) Here are some of those that annoy me intensely:
Everybody does it.
This is the one that probably annoys me more than any other. It is frequently used in an attempt to deny personal responsibility: ‘I did it, but then everybody else does it, therefore it’s acceptable or at least not as bad as if I was the sole culprit’. Recently, a football team owner or manager was accused of making racist remarks, including in reference to Chinese people, and sought to offset the guilt by saying of the particular word ‘Everyone at some time has used it. Anyone who says they haven’t is a liar’. I have never used it and I don’t appreciate being called a liar. My views on the particular individual are probably not printable.
Everyone’s talking about it.
This is variously used by advertisers: ‘the film everyone is talking about’. The phrase is arguably less annoying in that it is clearly an exaggeration and not meant to be taken literally. Nonetheless, when I hear or read it, I think ‘I’ve never heard of it and have not spoken about it to anyone, so everyone isn’t talking about it’. However, probably not something to take up with the Advertising Standards Authority.
As a matter of fact….
This appears to be used by people who aren’t relying on fact, but rather assertion and who may not be on the most solid of grounds.
There is no question….
This likewise is variously used by people in situations where there is some element of doubt. It appears to be used to bolster opinion rather than establish fact.
I am also not too keen on the insertion of superfluous words (‘I myself believe’ for ‘I believe’) – a message on the screen in the Lords recently announced that a debate was ‘now imminent’ (as opposed to being ‘later imminent’?) – but that is probably enough for now. I may add others as I encounter them. Readers are welcome to add their own entries.