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Trite Phrases

Oh, those trite phrases! If you didn’t know “back in the day” that I can be an Old Curmudgeon on the subject of trite phrases, you will after reading this. Yes, “back in the day” is on my Trite List. What day is meant: yesterday? Last month? A year ago? One hundred years ago? Am I too rigid to ask that a speaker or writer be more specific? “In 1995 the stock market performed . . .” or “In the decade of the 1930s, nine million Americans were unemployed.” “Whole nother,” as in, “It’s a whole ‘nother ballgame.” This makes two lists: Trite, and Poor English. It may mean “It’s a different ballgame,” as in a particular play has changed the momentum. So why not say so? “Whole different” isn’t any improvement, but that’s a whole ‘nother subject. “Going forward,” as in an employee asking the boss, “What must I do going forward to get a raise?” “Going forward” adds nothing to the meaning of that sentence, except perhaps to irritate the boss if she was an English major. “It is what it is.” When you can’t think of a reasonably intelligent answer to a question or a statement, you can revert to this meaningless phrase. “It remains to be seen” as in, “It remains to be seen if Jack will ask Mary to marry him.” This phrase has been nominated for Cliche of the Day, but it remains to be seen as to whether it won. If Jack does pop the question going forward, will Mary say yes? That’s a whole ‘nother issue. “I was like” as in, I was like, so embarrassed.” You like, should be like, embarrassed. “We got the greatest fans in the world.” Really? Where did you get them and what was the price? But we really need “a level playing field.” That’s why every game is “an uphill battle.” “Thrown under the bus.” Have you noticed that the scapegoats who suffer this fate are not CEO-level folks? The CEOs are always the throwers, never the throwees. A CEO-level person who accepts the role of scapegoat avoids the bus wheels by “Falling on his/her sword.” “The skinny,” as in “What’s the skinny?” Did you mean to say, “What’s the “bottom line?” Let’s just “cut to the chase,” okay? “I’m good to go” or “You’re good to go.” Please. If you have what you came for, just say good-bye. “24/7″ I am convinced that some 24/7 customer service sites have transposed the hours and days here. “Listen up.” We need to have “Closure” on this. You knew “from the get-go” , “needless to say,” that this rant would eventually “run out of steam.” So, “last but not least,” “have a good one!”

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