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Top 10 Annoying Phrases

Those annoying things that people say…Ya know what I mean? It seems that the English language constantly comes up with new ways to make itself sound silly. Here’s a few of the ones that bug me the most. This is IN NO WAY a complete list. As a matter of fact, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Feel free to add as many more as you like to the bottom of the list.

  1. “No offense, but” If you have to clarify a statement with ‘no offense’ then it is obviously offensive. Just because you say ‘no offense’, it in no way makes it less offensive. And you know it. Otherwise, you would have never said ‘no offense’ in the first place. Of course people are going to take offense, and justifiably so. As a matter of fact, anyone hearing ‘no offense’ should just go ahead and smack you with a rolled up newspaper, without waiting to hear the rest of the sentence. It’s that offensive.
  2. “Don’t take this the wrong way, but” Similar to number one in many ways, with one horrifying difference. ‘Don’t take this the wrong way,’ is always followed by something personal and insulting, that is somehow supposed to be okay because it was prefaced with ‘Don’t take this the wrong way.’ That’s just dishonest. If you are going to make a mean personal comment, just do so. You aren’t fooling anyone anyway. No offense.
  3. “Let’s just be friends.” Anyone who feels the need to say this should be banned from the company of others. The entire phrase should be banned from the English language. And, don’t take this the wrong way, but if you have ever used this to break up with someone please, for the love of all that’s holy, DON’T BREED.
  4. “Could be worse.” I doubt it, I really do. How could that possibly be comforting? This is usually said in an effort to cheer someone up. Really. By bringing to mind something more horrible than what just happened. Look, we all know that there is always more bottom to that rock bottom. You don’t need to point it out! Be cheerful! Change the subject in a different way, or just be a friend and let the poor sod vent a bit.
  5. “Shuuuut-up!” I used extra U’s for effect, to show the elongated nature of that short phrase. According to Webster’s online dictionary, shut-up means: “transitive verb: to cause a person to stop talking. intransitive verb: to cease writing or speaking” The problem with this is, when someone says ‘shut-up’, they don’t actually mean what it means. They would even be confused if people stopped talking to them at this point. Some people use this so much, I can’t imagine that anyone says anything at all to them by the end of the day.
  6. “My bad” Supposedly this is a ‘cool’ way of saying ‘my mistake’ and even takes the place of an apology. Saying ‘oh, my bad’, in the place of an apology is almost as bad as ‘don’t take this the wrong way’. If you did something wrong and feel bad about it, APOLOGISE! Or don’t say anything at all.
  7. “How’s it going?” or the local equivalent. All anyone wants to hear is the word “Fine.” Any more than that and the person who asked the original question starts to look like a deer caught in head lights. If you don’t want to know the answer, don’t ask the question.
  8. “Cold/Hot enough for you?” What?!?! What a ridiculous way to start a conversation. Yes, the weather is a safe topic, but things like ‘How about this weather?’ is the conversational equivalent to valium. At least try to make it interesting. “Did you see the cumulous cloud formation traveling across campus? Stunning.” Or don’t mention it.
  9. “Uuuuuummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm” Right. I, um, don’t think, um, that I, um, really need to, um, you know, explain that. Um.
  10. “Like” Okay, like, I was writing this, like list? And I was, you know, like, trying to come up with, like, things? And, like, you know ‘like’, kept, like, coming to mind.

An addition: Starting sentences with ‘or’ ‘and’ and ‘but’. That can be annoying. And you know it. See above.

People who speak in question format, as if every day is an unscripted episode of Jeopardy. See number ten.

Other things by me:

10 Ways Not to Break Up with Your Significant Other

How to Break Up with a Girl: The Dos and Don’ts

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User Comments
  1. t simon

    On May 13, 2009 at 8:36 am

    hahaha! I totally agree with you. Good thing you don’t have it here in audio. It can get extra-annoying. May I add: “true dat”

  2. Gone.

    On May 13, 2009 at 8:59 am

    Wonderful article, Annie! Numbers 6 and 10 drive me insane!

  3. Preston Carew

    On May 13, 2009 at 9:00 am

    This is along the same lines as “no offense”, but I hate when someone starts out by saying, “I’m gonna be honest”. Does that mean I should distrust everything else you say?
    Well done

  4. Silviu9090

    On May 13, 2009 at 9:06 am

    I love this article, I am proud to read an article of someone who really knows what she’s saying. Go one

  5. rajeev bhargava

    On May 13, 2009 at 9:14 am

    So true! I really enjoyed reading this article. The annoying phrases list was so apt. Wonderful! Well done.

  6. Bullwinkle Muse

    On May 13, 2009 at 9:24 am

    I like the first two on your list…particularly # 2. ;^)

  7. SurferGurl

    On May 13, 2009 at 9:32 am

    #11: “It is what it is.” It’s, like, fingernails on a chalkboard.

  8. mackGreen

    On May 13, 2009 at 9:47 am

    I can not stand “old school”. I banned my wife from saying it and the very next time she needed to use it, she was actually referencing the old school desks where the chair was attached to the writing surface. What an unfortunate coincidence. That has been the only time it has been appropriate in my entire adult life though.

  9. Julian Wright

    On May 13, 2009 at 9:47 am

    How about “With due respect……. -” a precursor to just the opposite!

  10. Swayam Siddha

    On May 13, 2009 at 10:54 am

    perfectly true

  11. Joe Dorish

    On May 13, 2009 at 11:08 am

    “Just so you know . . . “.

  12. marisolflamenco

    On May 13, 2009 at 11:57 am

    I think that my boyfriend needs read this article…lol

  13. Craig

    On May 13, 2009 at 12:18 pm

    You forgot the ubiquitous… “I have a questions for you” and “real quick”. Really? You mean you didn’t just come to my office or call to spout a statement. If it’s “real quick” then why don’t you take care of it yourself.


    On May 13, 2009 at 1:10 pm

    the panacea for all that ails society,

    is covered by simple words like

    I AM,


  15. Phill Senters

    On May 13, 2009 at 1:58 pm


  16. kate smedley

    On May 13, 2009 at 2:22 pm

    Great article, I hadn’t heard of 6!

  17. postpunkpixie

    On May 13, 2009 at 2:24 pm

    Heehee I agree with most of these. “Um” and “like” are ways for people to pause for thought so I think they’re okay. I hate it when people say “I’m good” when you ask them if they want something. I wasn’t asking whether or not you’re good, I was asking if you wanted a cup of tea! Urgh!

  18. Lauren Axelrod

    On May 13, 2009 at 7:33 pm

    Ugh, I hate when people say like and um. It makes someone sound so uneducated.

  19. C Jordan

    On May 13, 2009 at 8:00 pm

    There is a couple of things that make me wince. Sorry Ozzies but the number of young Australians, in recent years, that use an upward inflection at the end of a sentence as if they were asking a question.
    The other one (in the UK) that makes me cringe the most is usually when the conversation turns to a topic such as immigration. “I am not racist, but….”

  20. Judy T Lloyd

    On May 13, 2009 at 8:19 pm

    Oh I hate those phrases too, especially the you know, no I don’t and I really don’t want to know. But they tell you anyway.

  21. another

    On May 13, 2009 at 8:23 pm

    “as I said earlier…”
    “Basically…. “

  22. Joie Schmidt

    On May 13, 2009 at 10:17 pm

    hahaha – my favorite #3.



    -Liane Schmidt.

  23. nutuba

    On May 14, 2009 at 5:50 am

    Nicely done! Ummmms (#9) drive me crazy hearing it from a public speaker … it’s more acceptable in off-the-cuff speaking I suppose. Toastmasters (an organization that helps tremendously with public speaking skills) does a great job of removing ummmms from a person’s speaking repetoire. Where I grew up, talking about weather was sort of a way of life, partly I think because the hots and colds were so extreme (we all shared the suffering, so talking about weather was a way of coping or something). Great article.

  24. Rob

    On May 14, 2009 at 5:52 am

    “What was I going to say?” I don’t know! Stop using this as a precursor to whatever inane comment was about to come out of your mouth.

  25. Th3 El33t

    On May 14, 2009 at 6:58 am

    Lol, love this article, I hate it when you ask someone a question then they go “What?” or “Huh?” as if they hadn’t heard you and you have to ask again that just annoys the hell out of me.

  26. Betty Carew

    On May 14, 2009 at 9:19 am

    Great article Annie and so very true . Really good points.

  27. ladybaby

    On May 14, 2009 at 10:40 am

    Annoying is the perfect word for these. What I hate most is when the New casters on television want you to watch their program and they use the words, “YOU WON”T BELIEVE WHAT HAPPENED” then you have to wait until they decide to tell you. I BELIEVE ANYTHING these days. Just tell us, or don’t say anything.

  28. Suzanne Fey Lastorino

    On May 14, 2009 at 12:06 pm

    Great List and well done! Here is one of my pet peeve phrases….”back in the day….” WHAT DAY?!!

  29. Olivia Reason

    On May 14, 2009 at 3:36 pm

    Thank you Annie! I hate “um”, can’t stand “no offense”.
    I agree with you 100% on “my bad” or “huh”.
    Also, I agree with C. Jordan about “I’m not a racist but-”. Whatever follows is usually…racist!

    Also, I have begun to hate the word “extreme”.

    NEW!Extreme Doritos!Extreme Yogurt! Extreme Male Enhancement!

  30. Fred

    On May 14, 2009 at 9:51 pm

    I really hate it when people ask me “what up?” Can’t you form a whole sentence? Is proper grammar just too much? Are you really that cool?

  31. skylite

    On May 14, 2009 at 10:32 pm

    Great article :)

  32. AJ

    On May 16, 2009 at 3:04 am

    Maybe, we all should just stand in line, waiting our turn to bash Miss California. As you may know, she prefaced her “controversial” statement/opinion, by saying, “No offense, to anyone, but…..”

  33. swatilohani

    On May 16, 2009 at 4:05 am

    well done

  34. sphagnum

    On May 16, 2009 at 1:09 pm

    How about “your guyz’s” as in, “Your guyz’s food should be right out.” at a restaurant. Dunno if this is only in fkng Utah but that’s likely…

  35. denus

    On May 16, 2009 at 7:09 pm

    ahaha so true :)

    well done.

  36. Tac

    On May 29, 2009 at 10:32 am

    How’s it going Annie? A good list, save for #7 and #8. Small talk can be uncomfortable, but there’s nothing wrong with it, and people shouldn’t be discouraged from engaging one another just because they have nothing deep and meaningful to say.

  37. evie

    On June 24, 2009 at 8:24 am

    My favorite resonse to #8: No. No its not. I was hoping for globally destructive weather patterns that would reduce civilization to subsistence level living, but it looks like I will be disappointed yet again.

  38. Earl

    On August 11, 2009 at 1:46 am

    My college roommate used the phrase \”Just kidding!\” as the universal eraser. He felt he could say anything, as long as he followed it with a laugh and \”Just kidding!\”. For him, it seemed to work most of the time.

  39. Richo k

    On April 22, 2010 at 8:12 pm

    I find the term “Thanking you” infuriating.

  40. Carl Setzer

    On November 10, 2010 at 1:24 pm

    “I know for a fact…” What am I to assume, that every statement not prefaced this way is a lie?

    “There’s no doubt in my mind…” So just because someone has absolute faith in something then I’m supposed to believe it too? I also have noticed that people who say this do not exactly look like the type who give anything much thought.

    “you-know” Um’s bastard cousin, I have heard some people say this at a rate of 20 per minute.

    And the worst:
    “Thanks for taking my call” The first thing some people say when calling in to radio talk shows, this knee-jerk, automatonic utterance gets under my skin. It’s misplaced (the producer takes the call, not the host; the caller should have thanked them), it wastes time, and it shows no originality during an opportunity when you’re supposed to be expressing an original thought.

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