'At the end of the day' named most irritating cliche
10:05 AM CST on Wednesday, March 24, 2004
LONDON - At the end of the day, it's the most irritating cliche in the English language.
So says the Plain English Campaign which said the abused and overused phrase was first in a poll of most annoying cliches.
Second place went to "at this moment in time," and third to the constant use of "like," as if it were a form of punctuation. "With all due respect" came fourth.
"When readers or listeners come across these tired expressions, they start tuning out and completely miss the message -- assuming there is one," said Plain English Campaign spokesman John Lister.
"Using these terms in daily business is about as professional as wearing a novelty tie or having a wacky ring-tone on your phone."
Lister said people should follow the 1946 advice of writer George Orwell: "Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print."
The Plain English Campaign, which offers annual awards for good use of the language, surveyed its 5,000 supporters in more than 70 countries for the poll.
Other terms that received multiple nominations included: 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; bottom line; crack troops; glass half full (or half empty); 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 and touch base.
Formed in 1979, the Plain English Campaign is an independent group that campaigns against cliches, jargon and obfuscation, particularly in official and public documents.