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Overused words/phrases and pet peeves of the English language

I was listening to the CBC and they were talking with the person responsible for the 42nd annual LSSU List of Banished Words (like “post-truth,” “echo chamber,” “guesstimate,” and “listicle”). They were also taking emails and calls from the public on their pet peeves. It was all in good humour and was fun listening to everyone’s pet peeves. I thought we could bring that convo here. I’ll start:

– Moving forward

– At the end of the day

– The use of “like” to fill gaps in speech (I’m not perfect with this one but I try to be as conscious as I can)


What are some of yours?

View Profile 2017-01-11 14:08:06 PST

The use of the word “literally”. Obviously, most annoying when it used in a phrase to emphasize something that is in fact not literally true (eg. I literally died laughing). But, I find this word is overused in the correct context too.

Circle back

quite frankly


Using the word “period” to emphasize the end of a list


View Profile 2017-01-12 06:35:11 PST


View Profile 2017-01-12 08:51:50 PST

Love that list Ross. I can’t stand the use of literally also! David, in what way?

View Profile 2017-01-12 09:42:53 PST

Literally it’s “literally” — 100%! Ha.

When people misuse the phrase “I couldn’t care less” and say “I could care less.”

Even though I am one (a huge one!) the word “foodie” is totally overused and annoying now.

When people start off a sentence by saying, “To be honest…” — I mean, isn’t it assumed you’re always being honest when speaking? I guess not!

View Profile 2017-01-17 15:05:30 PST

To be honest, I’m guilty of this one myself!

View Profile 2017-01-17 15:14:44 PST

@Ross — what the hell does “quite frankly” even mean. Is it a polite way of being blunt?

View Profile 2017-01-17 19:32:15 PST

I loathe people using Master’s in Business Administration language, i.e. vetting, bottom line. I equally loathe travel cliches: bucket list, out of my comfort zone, travel bug, magnificent vista, amazing bar…

View Profile 2017-01-17 21:10:30 PST

Maybe this comes from reading countless personal statements by eager-to-please students, but the words ‘passion’ and ‘passionate’ are dead to me now. ‘Reading is my passion.’ It’s become as meaningless and misused as ‘awesome’.

View Profile 2017-01-19 05:47:58 PST


Other pet peeves (I may or may not have a list on my desktop that I’m planning to turn into an article at some point…)

> Meaningless extra words like very, really, etc.

> Ellipses. Don’t like ’em.

> Redundancy. (eg. Cape Town is beautiful and gorgeous and stunning—and the views are really amazing.)
David, yes. I’ve seen “triggering” and “triggered” so many times that it no longer means anything to me.

View Profile 2017-01-20 01:07:13 PST

To steal one of David’s pet peeves: “The Mecca of…”

Also, I’ve never understood why people use “whilst” instead of “while.” It seems to be more common among British writers, so it may be more of a cultural quirk than it is pretension, but I only really like reading it when the writing is intentionally whimsical or poetic.

I am guilty of overusing “epic,” but it’s soured on me a bit lately.

View Profile 2017-01-26 10:06:13 PST

When people say ‘8am in the morning’ – all I hear is ‘8 in the morning in the morning’

View Profile 2017-01-28 10:33:41 PST

In my childhood as a five year old  When I was five.

At the young age of five  When I was five.


View Profile 2017-01-28 12:00:37 PST

“To tell you the honest truth” is a filler that I hear often. I can’t stand it.

“Epic” and “Stellar” are overused, too.

View Profile 2017-01-31 11:43:41 PST

AWESOME.  I don’t think that cheese sauce is as awesome as the first time I saw Mt. Ranier.

I think as writer’s we’re more sensitive to the terrible use of language.


View Profile 2017-07-27 18:33:17 PDT