Top 15 "Innocent" Phrases That Are Totally Annoying

Everyone knows those annoying words and terms we use that have become meaningless ("synergy," "organic," "incentivize," and others), but there remain many phrases that we're all guilty of using every day that are equally pointless and frustrating.

After reading this post, you are forbidden from using any of these phrases. Forever!

1. "Just to be clear...": Why not just say, "You morons don't seem to be understanding me so let me hammer this point home."

2. "That's my 2 cents": Skip the humility, grasshopper. If what you had to say was really worth two cents, you should have just remained silent.

3. "No offense": Usually said right before something offensive is said. Issuing a disclaimer doesn't help.

4. "I don't mean to be difficult.": Um, if you are aware that you are being difficult, which is precisely why you would say this, then you do mean to be difficult.

5. "I hear what you're saying.": Brilliant, your ears work. Now what?

6. "I'm just saying…": Yes, we know this because it is coming from you and you are saying it. Thank you, Captain Obvious

7. "At the end of the day...": Why is the end of the day the finality of all things? Things are going to be just as messed up the following morning, you know.

8. "Thank you for your patience": Usually spoken by airline staff over delays or construction crews blocking roads — don't thank us for something we have no choice over, it's patronizing.

9. "I could care less.": This is annoying because the phrase is "I COULDN'T care less." The phrase makes no damn sense otherwise!

10. "To be honest…": You mean in contrast to all the other times when you're just spinning bull?

11. "Going forward…": Because going backward is not really possible, Marty McFly, so why bother?

12. "With all due respect…": And by this, I mean I have no respect for you at all.

13. "Needless to say…": But you just need to say it anyway?

14. "Don't go there.": Well, I wasn't going to until you said that, now I am going to go all up in there and then some.

15. "Fairly unique…": It's a bit like saying "mildly devastated" or "stunningly passable."

This list is inspired by my mentor and the guru of management-speak, Bob Lewis, who added these two gems to the mix:

16. "We need to plan for the future...": Hot damn! Of all the periods of time to plan for, it would never have occurred to me to plan for that!

17. "Past experience tells us that...": Probably because future experience hasn't told us anything yet, and won't until the present passes it by.


  1. OMG but these are funny!

    I'm guilty of a few, though-- *gasp*

    1. As are all of us, Cheryl, so no need to feel bad.

  2. Replies
    1. I don't think this one is as bad -- but I am partial to Shakespearan stylings, so...

  3. I wanted to see "It is what it is." Which I usually hear in situations like when somebody tells me I'm about to be paid for my hard work a completely shitty low amount of money.

    1. That's a good one -- we will need to add that one on the next go-around. Thanks!

  4. Whatever! Whatever is one of the most ridiculous phrases because the person who says that is always pissed off and uses that phrase to give in and give up their power.

    1. I agree...what is most angering about "whatever" is the dismissive tone while refusing to really debate or take a stance.

  5. ...Basically...; a perfect world...;
    ...none of us are mind-readers... (I could have told you that)

    1. "In a perfect world" is a good one (and by good, I mean it is a good candidate for a terrible phrase!)

  6. Now what I am supposed to say? To be honest, I literally say things like "at the end of the day" all the time. With all due respect, I think your list is flawed. No offense, but past experience tells us that all of those phrases are necessary for effective communication. I hear what you are saying, but moving forward I am not going to change anything. Just sayin...