Diary

10 Phrases I Hate

Here are 10 phrases I hate. You may hate them too. Or perhaps there are other phrases that bother you. Tell me which phrases you dislike in the comments below. Here are mine in ascending order of hatred:

10. EVERYBODY AND THEIR DOG…

If you’ve graduated from junior high school…you shouldn’t be using this phrase anymore. It goes right past the absurdity of claiming that “everybody” is doing something, which is probably untrue or at least exaggerated. And then it goes on to create ridiculous images in my mind of actual dogs performing the same actions that people are doing, which is ridiculous because dogs can’t do most of the things that humans can do.

I recently heard someone say that “everyone and their dog is on Snapchat these days.”

Well that is just a blatant lie. First of all, not everyone is on Snapchat. I’ve had it on my phone for two years and I still don’t know how to use it. And it should go without saying that no dogs are using Snapchat. And if it appears that a dog actually has a Snapchat account and is posting selfies, make no mistake…a human is helping him.

9. CASH ON THE BARRELHEAD

Cash on the what??

Where does this this phrase even come from and why are some people still using it? Yeah I know I can Google it and find out its origins. But I’ve got an even better idea…how about if we only use phrases from the last 120 years? Is that too much to ask?

I don’t even remember the last time I saw a barrel. This phrase was likely common back in the frontier days when most people worked outside. There weren’t many tables around, so business was conducted on barrels (I’m totally guessing here).

Instead of extending credit to someone, a cash payment was expected right then and there. And that cash would be on a barrel or nailed to it. Anyhow, I really don’t know and I don’t care. What I do know is that there’s virtually no reason to be using this phrase anymore. It’s distracting and weird. Here’s an alternative:

“The bartender doesn’t create tabs for any of these bums. Before he pours them a drink, he expects cash on the barrelhead up front. These good-fer-nothin’ drunks ain’t worthy of credit.”

8. THROWING (SOMEONE) UNDER THE BUS

I swear…I’d never heard this phrase until around 10 years ago. Then suddenly, out of nowhere, everybody and their dog was saying it. To throw someone under the bus is to put the blame for a problem on someone else, directly or indirectly.

But it’s even worse than an accusation. The people you “throw under the bus” are people who are on your team, on your side…people who are relying on your support in some way. Instead of backing them up or covering for their mistake, you’re exposing or blaming them for it.

I don’t know how buses got involved. Is this a metaphor? Is the team supposedly on a bus, going towards a destination? And are we supposed to imagine that someone is removing a teammate from the bus (while it’s moving) and throwing him under it?

I mean…there’s a lot going on here. First of all, my feeble mind is still trying to figure out who is truly to blame for the problem. Could it be that the accuser is really to blame and he’s just deflecting it to an innocent player on his team. Even more intriguing is the question of how these two people will get along with each other from now on. Or will this accusation ruin their relationship?

As you can see, there’s a lot to consider here. But instead of answering those questions, someone comes along and summarizes the situation by saying “oh yeah…John totally threw Todd under the bus.”

What am I to do with that???

Only in the last few moments did I stop wondering how a dog could position his paws to take a selfie…I finally stopped thinking about that. But now I’m faced with the violent image of a large bus tires rolling over a human body. Isn’t that just horrible!?

And to think…it wasn’t an accident which put him under the bus. He wasn’t napping in the middle of the road when a bus came by. No…nothing innocent like that. This guy was THROWN under the bus. Disgusting! Please stop using this phrase. It makes everyone uneasy and upset.

7. WHEN YOU ASSUME, YOU MAKE AN “ASS” OUT OF “U” AND “ME”

This is a particularly loathsome phrase that I wish never to hear again. Perhaps it was somewhat amusing the first 100 times I heard someone say it, but the last 50,000 times I heard it were quite annoying.

It’s gotten to the point where I cringe when someone says they assumed something, especially when their assumption led to a problem. In these situations, I know it’s just a matter of time before some wiseass seizes the opportunity. It usually goes something like this…

Jerk: “Tracy, why did you copy Jill on that email? She wasn’t supposed to see that information.”

Tracy: “Oh I’m sorry. I assumed you wanted Jill to know what was going on.”

Jerk: “Well you know what they say…when you assume, you make an ass out of u and me”

My hatred for this phrase has forced me to take preemptive action after someone declares they assumed something. I literally jump into the conversation, even if I had nothing to do with it, and I prevent anyone from uttering the ridiculous ass-u-me comment.

At that moment when I jump in to prevent it, I look around and see all the clowns who were hoping to say it. They’ve been anticipating this moment a long time, desperately waiting for anyone to say they assumed something. And now I’m ruining that moment for them. Good.

Sorry…I won’t allow it, not anymore, not around me. Even if I’m a little slow and they begin to say the ass-u-me comment before I have a chance to prevent it, I will loudly interrupt them and make sure they don’t get the satisfaction of completing it. They wanted everybody to know how clever they are, but I will make it clear that anyone who still uses the ass-u-me comment is…well, an ass.

6. FOR ALL INTENTS AND PURPOSES

I truly don’t understand why so many people are exhausting themselves with the “for all intents and purposes” phrase. I mean…we have enough work and stress in our daily lives without trying to utter such long, convoluted phrases. Just take it easy, man! There are much easier ways to get this point across.

This 8-syllable phrase should only be used by professional talkers. And even then, it should be used sparingly. In fact, I think Congress should regulate it. To avoid looking and sounding like fools, the rest of us unprofessional talkers should just avoid it.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard someone mess up the flow of a conversation by attempting the phrase “for all intents and purposes” (goodness…it’s exhausting just to type it). When someone begins to say it, I usually stop what I’m doing to see whether or not they have what it takes to accurately finish it. They usually go off track at the midpoint and the final result is something like “for all intensive purposes” or some other nonsense.

Take a seat and relax, my friend. You can replace the whole phrase with a simple word like “basically” or “precisely”;

“I know you’d prefer not to use this money for this emergency, but for all intents and purposes, but emergencies are precisely what this money is for.”

5. THERE’S NO THERE THERE

This is another one of those pointless phrases that’s quickly followed by an explanation of what the phrase is supposed to mean. This is the exact opposite of what a phrase is supposed to do. A short phrase is supposed to replace a thought that would require more time and more words. If I ask you perform a task for me, you can say…

“I can do this task that you’ve asked me to do. Not only can I do it, but it will be easy for me.”

Or you could simply say “piece of cake.”

“Piece of cake” is an awesome phrase. Not only does it convey everything in the long sentence above, but it also makes you think of delicious cake, which is like an added bonus because cake is wonderful.

On the other hand, when someone says “There’s no there there,” I guarantee you the next several words that come from their mouth will be a long-winded elaboration of what they meant by that phrase.

To prepare for this post, I looked up the intended meaning of “there’s no there there.” I found several different interpretations of the phrase. One thing they all had in common is that they all can be expressed with a few simple words instead of this terribly confusing phrase.

4. YOU WON’T BELIEVE…

It’s an absolute shame that this old, harmless and happy phrase has become an evil weapon that people use to make you click on their links. Clickbaiters use a small handful of phrases to lure you to their websites, but “you won’t believe…” is their obvious favorite.

The most egregious thing about the “you won’t believe” phrase is that the details we supposedly won’t believe usually turn out to be very easy to believe!! In the above example, an Australian non-profit that “promotes peace, justice and nonviolence” awarded a peace prize to 3 representatives Black Lives Matter, an organization known for disruptive protests, intolerance and even violence.

Of course, I can clearly see the blatant hypocrisy and ridiculousness of giving a peace award to that group, but what sane person alive in 2017 is literally unable to believe it happened? I liked it better when the You-Won’t-Believe-It phrase was strictly used for situations where the upcoming details were truly unbelievable.

If I went back in time to the 1700s or the 1800s, I’d tell them about everything we’re able to do now in 2017. We instantly communicate with people on the other side of the planet. We fly in planes to faraway cities in a couple of hours. And we can store the data of a thousand libraries on a little microchip. The discussion about any one of those abilities could start with “you won’t believe…”

But in this day and age, we’re cheaply using the phrase to sell vitamins and other junk:

3. I COULD CARE LESS

The correct usage of this phrase is appropriate and acceptable, that is, when someone says they could NOT care less. It simply means they don’t care about a certain issue and therefore it’s impossible for them to care any less about it. It’s a very strange, backwards way of making this point, but at least it makes sense.

On the other hand, when people say they “COULD care less,” I must confess that I tend to judge these people in my heart for their inability to grasp basic logic. Still confused? Let’s break it down;

HOW MUCH DO THEY CARE?

Paul: “I care about this a lot. It really matters to me.”
Alex: “I couldn’t care less about it.”
Hugo: “I could care less.”

In the above statements, Paul’s feelings about the issue are very clear. He deeply cares about it. Alex doesn’t care about the issue at all…and he makes this very clear with his statement. Hugo, on the other hand, is an idiot. Just like Alex, he also does not care about the issue. But instead of expressing this correctly, he has left us thinking that he does care about the issue at least a little. Don’t be like Hugo. Use the phrase correctly or just say you don’t care.

2. CLEANSE MY PALATE

I must confess that, in and of itself, there is objectively nothing wrong with this phrase. Cleansing your palate is a specific action and there isn’t a more obvious way to express it. In other words, it’s a totally legitimate phrase.

So you can only imagine how puzzling it is to me that I want to punch people in the face when they say it. I know, I know…that’s a very harsh and inappropriate thing to say. I readily confess that the problem is with me, not with you or anyone else who says it.

I don’t know what it is about this phrase that disgusts me so much. I’m not talking about a mild annoyance. When people say something dumb like “Let’s get down to brass tacks,” I get annoyed. That’s a very dated phrase and people should stop using it. But it’s just an annoyance and I quickly forget it.

When people talk about cleansing their palate, on the other hand, look out! It’s #2 on this list for a reason. I absolutely hate it. And if someone says it in a snooty setting like a wine-tasting or some other kind of snobfest, you’d better restrain me because there’s no telling what I might do.

1. SIX OR ONE HALF DOZEN OF THE OTHER

And here we are, the grand-daddy of all stupid phrases. I mean…seriously…this one is the absolute worst. If you ever use this phrase in a conversation, just be aware that the conversation is probably over. And the person you’re talking to is longer listening, but rather, likely questioning your judgment.

And who can blame them? All you needed to say was that there’s no real difference between two alternatives. You can take this freeway or that freeway to your destination, for example. It doesn’t matter which one you take…the time and distance for both is more or less the same.

But instead of using any one of those simple, straightforward phrases, you went instead with some variation of “six or one half dozen of the other.” For starters, chances are you didn’t even say it right. The delivery of this phrase is usually a slow trainwreck of words that are loosely related to the phrase. So far I’ve heard the following:

“Six dozen and half of the other” (72 + .5x) ??

“Six half of a dozen or six of the other” (6 x 12 x .5) ÷ π ??

“Half a dozen eggs or six of the other” (who said anything about eggs?)

Now that you’ve used this ridiculous phrase, we all have to listen to your long-winded explanation of what this phrase means. And make no mistake…if you’re the guy or girl who uses the six-or-half-dozen phrase, you are most definitely long-winded.

Y’know…I can even respect the guy who says “same difference,” which really makes no sense, but at least this guy is quickly trying to make his point. The six-or-half-dozen guy has no regard for your time. He wants nothing more than to hear himself talk.

The next time you here someone say this, I challenge you to cut them off. Don’t even give him the satisfaction of elaborating on the point. He’s going to want to explain what he means, but that defeats the purpose of a phrase. They enable us to use fewer words. If your phrases are causing you to say extra words, you’re doing it wrong.

CONCLUSION

As you can see, I get more than a little annoyed when it comes to certain phrases. They bother me more than they probably should. I do my best to communicate well and I appreciate it when others do the same. I love talking to people who masterfully use language. I’m not necessarily talking about people with a big vocabulary, but rather, those who know just the right word or phrase for the situation. Those are the best people to chat with, for all intensive purposes.