The researchers behind the Oxford English Dictionary have created a database that monitors how the English language is changing. Made up of everything from literary novels to newspapers to the ephemera of chatrooms, the Oxford English Corpus now contains over 2 billion words. Naturally, the Oxford researchers are using their vast verbal power for good, most crucially, for identifying the most annoying phrases in the English language.
By the way of an article in the London Telegraph, Jeremy Butterfield, a freelance lexicographer (!) and author of A Damp Squid: The English Language Laid Bare, reveals that the ten most irritating phrases are:
1. At the end of the day
2. Fairly unique
3. I personally
4. At this moment in time
5. With all due respect
7. It's a nightmare
8. Shouldn't of
10. It's not rocket science.
Here at Book World, we have our own collection of irritations, which we are quick to cut from erring reviewers' prose: "that said," "indeed," "in truth," "limn" (in any of its forms), "stunning," "walking the walk" or "talking the talk," "pro-active" (is anybody anti-active?), so-and-so author is "at her best when ..... "
In general conversation, Book World editors also object to: "have a good one," "hasta la vista, baby," "no problem," "an eye for an eye," "my bad" and "it is what it is."
Any others that set your teeth on edge?
-- Rachel Hartigan Shea
By Rachel Hartigan Shea |
November 11, 2008; 7:00 AM ET
Rachel Hartigan Shea
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