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The Most Annoying Words And Phrases In The English Language

Updated on June 5, 2012

I'll start with condescending remarks, because what could be awesomer than the supercilious attitude of some swellhead that dishes the sure thing about anything and everything that can be talked about and bellows at you scornfully for being the witling you are.

These come in two generic types: the cowardly keyboard warrior most of us know from a place called HubPages forums, and the neighbor or colleague that will actually look you right in the eye and say it directly and openly in your face. I don't even know which is more awesome, because they conjure up different but equally powerful feelings of aversion. My top list of the most annoying English phrases goes like this:

It's a no-brainer.
It's a no-brainer.
  • This is not rocket science.
  • It's a no-brainer.
  • Go figure.
  • Don't sweat it.
  • It's a piece of cake.
  • No pun intended.

Then, there are those who are just really smart and have to share their wisdom with the world no matter what. Their advice is given freely and in abundance, because they know that more often than not you are just plain wrong, and that you haven't thought this through properly and it is their duty to help. Here's what they say:

Heads Up.
Heads Up.
  • The bottom line is... (Everybody knows some accounting.)
  • At the end of the day...
  • Because when it's all said and done...
  • I wouldn't worry about that.
  • You can't see the big picture here.
  • If you ask me...
  • Here's my two cents.
  • Just wanted to give you a heads-up.
  • The name of the game is...

Then, there are the overused, hackneyed phrases that we all grew to love. Life is a tough teacher, it teaches by way of guise and indirection. This attribute of life and the teachings it bestows on us are well-known to most of us, hence all the clichés and annoying everyday wisdom. My favorite clichés and overused phrases that are boringer than heck include:

  • You can't please everyone.
  • I could tell you but then I'd have to kill you.
  • Life isn't supposed to be easy.

Cynical, self-centered or sarcastic remarks are the cream of the crop. People sharing their experience and attitudes towards everyday occurrences are another great source of amusement, precisely because they make the assumption that their views and opinions matter in your life - oftentimes wrongly.

  • Just for the record...
  • You're good in my book...
  • We're on the same page.
  • Back in the day...
  • Are we having fun yet?
  • I'm forever in your debt.


Ungramatical items constitute another distinct and readily distinguishable class of annoying English words and phrases.

  • It's me.
  • Who would've thunk!
  • Can I ask you something?
  • would of / should of / could of
  • my bad

We really ARE pregnant.
We really ARE pregnant.

Then, there are things that are just plain stupid to say simply because they are nonsensical or oxymoronic.

  • we are pregnant (of a couple)
  • on so many levels
  • big-time
  • everyday expert
  • so-and-so (to denote a person)
  • tons of fun
  • I can't wrap my mind around this.

Some fashionable phrases are so lame they can make you quit your job. Literally. (Wow, I forgot 'literally'.) Once I quit a job, because my boss was trying to demonstrate to me how to think outside the box by giving me a "problem" to solve. Now, the problem he gave me was so well-known that bringing it up as an example was the exact opposite of thinking outside the box. I thought this was so lame that I was left with no choice but to quit immediately.

The problem: connect the four dots with three straight lines without lifting the point of your pen from the paper so that you finish at the spot where you began.
The problem: connect the four dots with three straight lines without lifting the point of your pen from the paper so that you finish at the spot where you began.
  • Step out of your comfort zone.
  • There's a lot on my plate right now.
  • Let's see how far we can push the envelope.
  • We need to spend some quality time together.
  • I like the look and feel of this room.
  • Let's take it to the next level.
  • Try to think outside the box.
  • I have some stuff to take care of.
  • This was literally the best party ever!!!
  • This rocks/sucks.

Note: Of course, I'm not really annoyed by any of these, so if 'Go figure.' is like the coolest thing to say eva(!), you don't have to wail and protest in the comments. Instead, just play along and share your own nuisances and stuff. ;)

Vote for the Most Annoying Phrase of All or Add Yours in the Comments

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    • profile image


      15 months ago

      It is what it is

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      I think one of the most annoying, overused phrases lately is "just sayin'".

    • liesl5858 profile image

      Linda Bryen 

      5 years ago from United Kingdom

      You made my day, it is true all these English words and phrases are quite irritating sometimes but it is also fun. How about, "You are cool, Dude" and " You know what I mean".

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      My kidlet is too small for scoohl yet, but on shopping in general, I take him a lot. But some days I just crave the freedom of cruising through a store on my own timeline. The things you appreciate when you're a Mom! LOL

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      For some of it I take him along. For things like pens, pnelics, cases, markers, binders etc I have him pick out what he likes. For the clothes I go alone, he is only 10 and it will not be long before he insists on picking out his own.;0)

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I haven't had to do this yet, not until next year but I find I have to take my kids along to buy shoes. Every store size is not the same, so if I buy it solo it often doesn't fit, but that doesn't mean it's any easier. My 2 year old son does not enjoy shionppg and will only get about 1 pair of shoes on before he refuses anymore. So they better be the ones we're planning on taking home lol

    • fpherj48 profile image


      5 years ago from UpstateWestern,New York

      Haunty.....LOL! This is wonderful. You are an extremely talented writer. I must visit your site.

      At some point or another, I'd have to admit that a few or all of these words/phrases have annoyed me. However, I should add that for me, it depends on my mood, the situation and to whom I am speaking...and Oh yes, the subject matter. (I might just start out fairly annoyed before someone opens their mouth!!) LOL

      I'm surprised you left out one of my LEAST favorite: "All due respect........" I especially love this one because after that phrase, someone may say, "You're a total moron."

      This hub was fun. Thanks....UP++++

    • PDXBuys profile image


      5 years ago from Oregon

      Being accused of making a "straw man argument" every time I make an intelligent and valid point in a discussion...

    • Ben716 profile image

      Benny Alianess 

      5 years ago

      Interesting. Also people asking damn questions and statement that are obvious, example: 'Its you again.' Of course its me again, who did he expect me to be, someone else?

    • agvulpes profile image


      6 years ago from Australia

      Just 'throwing my hat into the ring' here! (WTH does that mean anyway lol)

      The two words I hate are 'now' and 'only' when associated with TV commercials :) eg Today it's 'only' $99999.00 so get it 'NOW' :)

    • Phyllis Doyle profile image

      Phyllis Doyle Burns 

      6 years ago from High desert of Nevada.

      Lots of fun to read this hub. I enjoyed it.

    • torrilynn profile image


      6 years ago

      these were some very annoying words and phrases indeed. I guess I find them annoying because most are universal if you can speak English and the majority of them are overused. voted up and shared.

    • BeverlyHicksBurch profile image

      Beverly Hicks Burch 

      6 years ago from Southeastern United States

      Haha! Entertaining. Most of these phrases are true "boiler plate" phrases.

      My pet peeve phrases? Sure, I have them.

      Whatever is high on the list. One right now that's grabbing the brass ring ;-) is: I love you to the moon a back. Auuuugh! If I hear that one more time I will gnaw my arm off. I'm mean is that all you love someone? How bout to the Milky Way and back or the end of the Universe and back? Geez! Where's your passion?

      Oh, let's throw ho, bio-tich, twerk and Miley Cyrus' tongue in there. But, they're only words. Just saying - oops did it again... ;-)

    • Cantuhearmescream profile image


      6 years ago from New York


      Oh this was great! I truly enjoyed reading it. I found myself violently nodding my head in agreement and drooling uncontrollably! Of which ones I am guilty, I would tell you, but then I'd have to kill you!

      Voted up and Funny!

    • profile image

      6 years ago

      You forgot , "or what have you" usually follows a list of things. I hate that phrase.

    • PDXBuys profile image


      7 years ago from Oregon

      You forgot "Hey guys!" like at the beginning of a Youtube video.

    • John MacNab profile image

      John MacNab 

      7 years ago from the banks of the St. Lawrence

      The two sayings that annoy me most are 'Wow' and 'think outside the box'. After reading your list of sayings Haunty, I think my vocabulary has been cut by 50%. I like the hub. - muchly.

    • profile image

      Brenda Durham 

      7 years ago

      Having someone respond to me with the phrase "Not a problem" annoys me. Also responses that start with "Hon," is so condescending (but to my own chagrin, I've found myself saying that sometimes)......

      I know someone who used to say "It's a possibility" all the time. It was cute at first, but I think it would get annoying hearing it on a permanent basis.

      Also, "No offense, but........"

      I love this hub, Haunty. It "rocks!!" OOPS sorry..........

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      "whatevs" wins my Most-Annoying-Non-word Award, hands-down, followed closely by "redunc."

    • Peter Geekie profile image

      Peter Geekie 

      7 years ago from Sittingbourne

      Dear Haunty

      Perhaps I can forgive some of these when taking into consideration the sad fact that just under half the applicants that applied for a position with my company could barely spell their name. Nevertheless there are some that just needed a jolly good slap.

      Kind regards Peter

    • Haunty profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Hungary

      Thank you for stopping in and reading rajan jolly, JReuland, Pamela, TahoeDoc, and Dolores. :)

      I'm with you on "space" and "authentic". I'll add "awesome," which must be the most overused praise word on HP.

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 

      7 years ago from East Coast, United States

      Hi, Haunty - I love this stuff and have a few that you did not mention such as when you have "something to bring to the table" and it's not food. Or the over use of the word "authentic" in decorating or artistic topics. I find myself using the words and phrases that I hate the most, often in my blogs (my abandoned "at the end of the day" blog) just to amuse myself.

    • TahoeDoc profile image


      7 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California

      I picked "we are pregnant" from the list. Maybe it shouldn't bother me, but it does.

      ^^Pamela- funny you mention about "space". My husband and I got so annoyed when watching the home shows, which we like to do about 8 years ago when we were looking to buy a home. One night, as a throw-back to our long-gone college days, we played a drinking game where we had to drink every time someone on one of those shows said the word "space". Well, we got about 3 minutes into House-Hunters or some such show and had to quit! It was pretty funny (and pathetic) how overused that word became.

      Great hub, Haunty!

    • Pamela N Red profile image

      Pamela N Red 

      7 years ago from Oklahoma

      Great article and I agree. One of my pet peeves is everyone calling a room or building a "space" give the room a name. Even a utility closet deserves a name. We don't live in space so why the overuse of that word? I blame designer or DIY shows, now everyone wants to talk like an interior decorator. "What a lovely space." No, it's a lovely living room or family room.

    • JReuland profile image


      7 years ago from United States

      You just knocked out some of the stuff I say, and I consider myself to be highly educated. My bad! Besides, sometimes it's fun to say some of these trite little phrases, just to screw with people.

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      7 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA.

      Wonderful list, Thoroughly enjoyed reading. Thanks for reading.

    • Haunty profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Hungary

      Judas, gotta say I finally get the meaning of iconic thanks to your clarification. And what an iconic clarification that was, to say the least.

      billybuc, thanks I'm truly honored by your smiling. I mean totally! :)

      Sphinxs, AHAHAHAHHAHHAHHAH... you're the worstest! In a good way. :D

      Stacie, thank you. But have I? I must be very thorough. :)

    • Stacie L profile image

      Stacie L 

      7 years ago

      These really are the most overly used and annoying words and phrases I have ever heard!

      I think you found them all.Good hub!

    • Sphinxs Sanctum profile image

      Sphinxs Sanctum 

      7 years ago from Southern United States

      Yo, Whatup Haunty? Just for the record & to throw my 2 cents in, I’d have to say that I’m truly annoyed by those comparing apples to oranges. Also, like, when I say, “My Bad” and the reply I get is, “No Worries,” it’s aggravating but Whatevs. From the Get-go I’ve hated to hear anyone tell me how “Way-Cool” anything is. Ya know what I’m sayin’? The only one doable, in my book, might be, “It is what it is.” Who woulda thunk the English language would fall so far? Back in the day, none of such jargon would fly! It really Sucks & I'm soooo Over it! Is it Beer-thirty yet? ;)

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      7 years ago from Olympia, WA

      This is one of those hubs that has me smiling from the very beginning and the smile continues all the way through. Great job my friend.

    • profile image

      Judas Duck 

      7 years ago from Glendale Colorado

      The most annoying and incorrectly used word in all of history is the word Icon or Iconic. It is used by salesman and company branding, hype artists, who have a limited vocabulary. I saw it in a sportsmans magazine recently which called a Northwest Territory guide, in 1951, an "Iconic" guide. No one could possibly have ever heard of the guy. Bob Dylan, folk singer says it means "a washed up has been". It is used incorrectly by Madison Avenue types to get the attention of an illiterate public. The word is beyond annoying. Judas Duck

    • Haunty profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Hungary

      Thanks John! I love it when they prompt me to shuutuuup, because that means I am POWERFUL!!! ;)

    • John MacNab profile image

      John MacNab 

      7 years ago from the banks of the St. Lawrence

      Excellent, Haunty. My favourite annoying phrase is the latest 'ShuutUuuup'. Voted up and across.

    • Haunty profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Hungary

      Thanks Sunshine! Yes, it's always easier to say stupid than to give an explanation. Also, telling someone that he or she is stupid suggests that the person saying it is disrespectful of others and might not be worth talking to in the first place. :)

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 

      7 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Superb hub Haunty! It was a piece of cake to follow and made me think out of the box!:) I don't have an annoying pet peeve phrase. The one word I don't care for is ... stupid. "That's stupid" or "Are you stupid?" Anytime I hear someone say that to a kid or an adult I want to slap them upside the dead. UP! Awesome!


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