Damp Squid (The English language laid bare) is going to make for interesting reading. Its author, Jeremy Butterfield has used the Oxford Corpus database to compile this latest look at the use and abuse of the language of Shakespeare, Yeats and Dan Brown.
I read his “Top ten most irritating phrases in the English language today” with some trepidation and ran them against my 500-odd posts here at the Oasis:
10. It’s not rocket science [guilty as charged – used 3 times]
9. 24/7 [3 times, quoting it twice]
8. Shouldn’t of [never]
7. It’s a nightmare [never, although I have used the word nightmare in 3 posts]
6. Absolutely [23 times. Hmmm, it would seem I am quite prescriptive and not much of a Relativist]
5. With all due respect [nevah!]
4. At this moment in time [nevah evah! This phrase causes the red mist to descend over my eyes]
3. I personally [absolutely nevah evah!]
2. Fairly unique [never and I smugly didn’t even look this one up]
1. At the end of the day [zero]

Self-editing is so very difficult, but it behooves all of us in the business world to write concisely, clearly and, given that we are trying to inform and persuade our readers arousing the minimum of ire in those readers. As Mr Butterfield says: “We grow tired of anything that is repeated too often – an anecdote, a joke, a mannerism – and the same seems to happen with some language.”

He’s absolutely right! It’s a nightmare otherwise! And I personally think that at the end of the day it’s up to us as business writers to be fairly unique by avoiding these irritating phrases 24/7.