End this daymare

Silas Prophet (seen previously here and here) offers the most convincing denunciation of this one to date:

It seems I can turn nowhere without hearing the phrase “At the end of the day“. I don’t know if this is a recent banality or if I’ve just become aware of it. It’s being used in newspapers, magazines, sportscasts, newscasts, talk radio and interviews. Most frequently it appears to be a substitute for “ultimately”, as in “At the end of the day, what really concerns me most is how we interact with our fans…” (LA Times) or “But at the end of the day they were just a pop band.” (Independent)

Usually the use of the phrase is superfluous. In the examples below the cliche can be removed without effecting the meanings of the statements:

  • “It does not surprise me… at the end of the day that some of his teachings seem to go unheeded.” (Kansas City Star)
  • “That may have been a contributing factor, but at the end of the day, this is probably more about leadership.” (CBSNews)
  • At the end of the day, the financial institutions need to settle with each other.” (BankofCanada)

This expression is spreading like wildfire; my recommendation, at the end of the day, is to ban it!

Get going

Nancy Christie of Portland, Oregon, opines:

My nomination is “coming up on” as in “It’s coming up on 10 minutes after the hour” as spoken daily on National Public Radio. We know time is passing. The observation that an exact time might be 10 or 15 seconds in the future can be expressed with the word “almost” or simply state the time. Unless we’re timing an experiment, we don’t need to know the time within seconds. (I grudgingly accept “after the hour” when the program broadcasts in multiple time zones.)

Argue this

Avril Dell vents accordingly

I just spent way too much billable time looking for ARGUABLY on your Banned for Life list — and it ain’t there! Kindly add ARGUABLY, for those who believe it means conclusively. It don’t. An issue only remains arguable when there are enough legitimate differences to prevent conclusion. That’s what makes something arguable, ya gomers! Where did the arguable blitherers get the idea they could point to one side of an argument as its conclusion?

I think what they mean to say is that they hope or believe their readers or
listeners agree with their conclusion; or that they’re asserting a fact in
a wussy way, so they can withdraw it if someone objects. Something like that.
but the “arguable” habit is just too goofy. Slippery and illogical.

    Runners up:

  • METEORIC RISE. Huh? As in “blaze briefly on the way down”?
  • NOT UN-whatever. I find this one not unstupid.
  • GOING FORWARD. Used by homo corporatus everywhere, to mean “next”
    or “in the future” or “from now on”. It can always be lopped off the statement,
    with no change in meaning. “This is what we’ll be doing, going forward” can
    become “This is what we’ll be doing”– as the statement has “future” built
    into it. When did anything ever occur “going backward”?
  • ADDRESS THE ISSUE .Ttell ya what: just deal with it, ok? Just
    do it, fix it, trash it, move it, buy it, sell it, fire it, change it, TAKE
    THE ACTION. don’t bother addressing the issue; say what you’re going to do
    and then do it. Period.
  • TOUCH BASE. Do NOT touch my base, EVER. I’m serious.

A few quickies

Mark hates “early on

Gordon says: I just saw your pages on cliches. The most useless one I’ve ever heard is “at this point in time“. Five words when one is sufficient; ‘now’, or if necessary, ‘right now’.

Ben contributes: “Reads like a thriller” in book reviews to describe any popular science book.

Edgar avers: After working in four TV newsrooms, I hated when an anchor would utter the words “parent’s worst nightmare.”

Anytime at all

Bill Luxton shares:

I nominate the relatively new but appallingly hackneyed, “ANYTIME SOON.”

To my recollection this phrase first appeared perhaps 2 years ago and now props-up lazy writing in all media in news weather and sports.

  • ” city council budget talks are not expected to be resolved anytime soon”
  • ” drought like conditions will continue without relief anytime soon”
  • ” don’t look for a win from this team anytime soon.”

Fresh peeves

From Deborah Williams:

I just found your site and would like to add “my two cents worth.” Several words and phrases that I hear daily annoy me, but these are my latest “pet peeves.”

  1. I have recently begun hearing newscasters state something like this, “The fire occurred at 3 a.m. in the morning.” I suppose “in the morning” is added so as not to be confused with 3 a.m. in the afternoon!
  2. Perhaps this has been included, but I was unable to find it. I often see the word “partnered” being used regularly. For example, I received a campaign brochure today from two local candidates for the school board (Lord, help us!) who claim, “Dan has partnered with Gary…” I never knew the noun partner was also a verb.
  3. sick and tired.” Let’s revive the word “weary” instead.
  4. Another redundant phrase often used by the current administration is “friends and allies.” Aren’t our allies by definition also our friends? Why must both words be used?

These are but a few of my current language annoyances. Love your site!

Period piece

From Bill McCrory

Ban “Period” when it is used after an assertion to emphasize the certainty of the assertion and imply that no other interpretation is possible.

For example, “George Bush is the greatest president we’ve ever had. Period.” (Whenever I see that or someone uses it in conversation with me, I usually reply, “Period? Why not semicolon?”)

Put an end to this

From Sophie Canade

If you don’t already mention this one, be sure to ban the phrase “at the end of the day,” (which, at the end of the day just means ‘essentially’ or ‘eventually’ or some other word that helps qualify a diluted conclusion). This one has been plaguing me since folks started beating it into the ground a few years ago. On the whole, I find such haphazard abuse of the language disorientating.

In no uncertain terms

From Bob Ferguson:

I’m surprised not to see “in terms of” in the to-be-banned list. What can be worse than asking “What is the weather like in terms of precipitation?” instead of “Is it raining?” These three words should be chopped from any sentence in which they occur.

English has more tenses than some languages and seems to be expanding in terms of tenses (see what I mean?) . Along with the present continuous we now have what I call the “airline emphatic present”. For example: ” Attention passengers, now at this time we are commencing boarding from rows 1 through 12.”