Tag Archives: Linguistics

The 10 Most Irritating Phrases Ever! Don’t Use Them

Whether you are at work or at home, with colleagues or friends, there are some words or phrases that can drive the people around you to complete insanity. Especially if you use them again, and again and again!

The trouble with these words is that they are not something we have carefully chosen to most eloquently make a point. No, they are just filler words that we got into the habit of using. They often don’t mean anything, they are just there to irritate.

In some people the use of these repetitive, nothing-saying, filler-words has reached epidemic proportions. I believe we need to cure this and stop using them. When I say stop using them I don’t mean completely. I don’t mind if someone uses them appropriately. I use most of them. What we have to stop is using them repeatedly and without meaning!

But then, maybe it’s just me? Maybe I am the only one that gets irritated by that? Or do you get annoyed and tired of hearing someone talk like this:

To be honest, at the end of the day you are literally going get into trouble, seriously. I mean, you better be careful, if you know what I mean. I am just saying.

Or this:

Awesome! This is, like, I mean, totally seriously, like, the most epic band I have ever heard. You know what I’m saying. I am literally going to, like, die if I can’t go and see them.

Some might argue it is just teenagers. No. I believe that every decade has their favorites. For me, the two examples show this nicely where the first one would typically come from someone a little older and the second from someone of a younger generation.

We seem to use these words to fill pauses in our conversations. My recommendation is to actually pause, instead of bombarding people with meaningless words that simply make it more difficult (and exhausting) to understand what someone is saying. Pauses are fine! Pauses are natural.

Here are my top ten most irritating filler phrases:

  1. At the end of the day” – What does that even mean? Does it mean later? Just leave it out!
  2. To be honest” – Why, are you normally not honest with me? What a crazy thing to say!
  3. If you know what I mean” – If I don’t know what you mean I would probably tell you. I don’t need a prompt.
  4. You know” – Is this a question or a statement?
  5. Having said that” – Yes, you have just said that. I was here, you have been speaking to me and I don’t need you to tell me that you have just said something to me!
  6. Like” – This is especially annoying if it is inserted a number of times into every single sentence. Why, oh, why?
  7. Literally” – Should mean ‘figuratively’ or exactly as you say. It makes so sense to ‘literally explode’ or to ‘literally die’.
  8. I am just saying’” – Yes, I have heard it. Should this make me feel better about the fact that you have just offended me or said something that didn’t make sense?
  9. Seriously” – Are you saying that you are telling me the truth or are you using it as a replacement for ‘yeah’ – I am, like, seriously confused!
  10. I mean” – Some people litter this phrase into every single sentence they say. It must be one of the most meaningless phrases of all.

So, is it just me? Or do these words drive you nuts too? ‘Like’ this post if they do! No seriously, like, totally ‘like’ this post! I am just saying, if you know what I mean? Finally, feel free to add other phrases you find particularly infuriating into the comment field – let’s make it the most complete list, like, I mean, seriously, EVER!


Bernard Marr is a best-selling author and enterprise performance expert. Make sure you click ‘Follow’ if you would like to hear more from Bernard Marr in the future and feel free to also connect via TwitterFacebook and The Advanced Performance Institute



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