Plain English Proponents Slam Annoying Phrases

March 26, 2004 ( - Whether you're a speaker or a listener, at the end of the day, the phrase "At the end of the day" should be avoided.

The reason? That phrase has been voted the most irritating phrase in the English language, by the ‘s Plain English Campaign in a survey of some 5,000 supporters in more than 70 countries.

Second place was a tie between “At this moment in time” along with the constant use of “like” as if it were a form of punctuation (a perspective with which any parent of teenagers can quickly concur). Fourth place went to the oxymoronic “With all due respect.”

Plain English Spokesman John Lister said over-used phrases were a barrier to communication. “When readers or listeners come across these tired expressions, they start tuning out and completely miss the message – assuming there is one!”

The following terms also received multiple nominations:

  • 24/7
  • absolutely
  • address the issue
  • around (in place of “about”)
  • awesome
  • ballpark figure
  • basically
  • basis (“on a weekly basis” in place of “weekly” and so on)
  • bear with me
  • between a rock and a hard place
  • blue sky (thinking)
  • boggles the mind
  • bottom line
  • crack troops
  • diamond geezer
  • epicentre (used incorrectly)
  • glass half full (or half empty)
  • going forward
  • I hear what you’re saying…
  • in terms of…
  • it’s not rocket science
  • literally
  • move the goal-posts
  • ongoing
  • prioritize
  • pushing the envelope
  • singing from the same hymn sheet
  • the fact of the matter is
  • thinking outside the box
  • to be honest/to be honest with you/to be perfectly honest
  • touch base
  • up to (in place of “about”)
  • value-added (in general use)

Got a candidate? Email us at .