Overused words of 2008

After a “desperate search,” the “maverick” word-watchers at Lake Superior State University have announced the annual list of misused, overused and generally useless words and phrases.

This year’s list may be more “green” than any of the previous lists and includes words and phrases that people from “Wall Street to Main Street” say they love “not so much” and wish to have erased from their “carbon footprint.”

Oxford University scholars’ 10 most irritating words and phrases:

1 – At the end of the day

2 – Fairly unique

3 – I personally

4 – At this moment in time

5 – With all due respect

6 – Absolutely

7 – It’s a nightmare

8 – Shouldn’t of

9 – 24/7

10 – It’s not rocket science

Via Britannica Blog.

About Joanne


  1. “The science is settled.” Or the generalized version, “End of discussion.”

  2. “Consensus” and “Bipartisanship”

  3. Mrs. Davis says:


  4. I’m so glad “moment in time” is finally “on the radar screen.” Utterly redundant. Can you have a moment in space?

  5. First prize to the first commenter that can use all 10 phrases in a single sentence.

  6. Diana Senechal says:

    At the end of the day, I personally commend boo for this fairly unique challenge; although it’s a nightmare, it’s not rocket science, nor does one have to be at it 24/7 to arrive at something decent which, with all due respect, I would absolutely deem better than much of what is written at this moment in time, though of course I shouldn’t of said that.

    Eek, I need to erase that from my carbon footprint!

  7. Nicely played, Diana. Boo, what does she win at this moment in time?

  8. Diana for the win!

  9. Diana wins the undying enmity of some Oxford University scholars! Congratulations!

  10. tim-10-ber says:

    …and things like that…

  11. I’d like to suggest scientific consensus unless it’s already been added…
    Funny thing is that in science there rarely is ever a consensus about anything.

  12. Barry Garelick says:

    I’m sorry that “going forward” didn’t make the list.

  13. “Whatever”

  14. Robert Wright says:

    Anyone in Poor Corner who says something is “aligned to standards” is a bear of little brain.

  15. Margo/Mom says:

    My personal favorite comes from every customer service rep I have ever spoken to:


    As in, unfortunately its just our policy to accept no returns even though the product disintegrated on opening. Unfortunately there is no one here you can talk to that can do anything about your problem. Unfortunately I cannot have a supervisor call you back, or call you back myself after I have researched the problem. Unfortunately the next time you call you will get someone different and will have to start your story from the beginning. Unfortunately the person who transferred you to me didn’t know what they were doing and I am not the department who can do anything about your problem.

  16. Barry Garelick says:

    “Anymore” used in the positive sense, as a substitute for lately, or nowadays:

    “Dad has been getting tired anymore.”

  17. Diana Senechal says:

    “Needless to say,” all of the above suggestions are good.

    “Contrary to popular opinion,” a hackneyed phrase does not give comfort or sweetness; it is more like hacksaw than like honey.

    At least I haven’t heard “guesstimate” for a while. There is hope!

  18. I am sick of this one and it’s variations:

    “oh, don’t even go there.”

  19. Alex Bensky says:

    I can actually see an occasional case for “I personally,” as in “I personally think it’s a mitake, but the organization has decided to do X,” or “I personally would have left this alone but my wife insisted that I do something about it.”

    I am not sure if the plea is “guilty” or not, but I occasionally use “with all due respect,” especially in a courtroom, as a polite way of indicating that the “due respect” is little, if any.

    And it has been a while…quite a while…since I was in ninth grade but I remember Mrs. Hoffmann in English class reminding us that “unique” is like “pregnant.” Either you are or you aren’t.

    When asked how long an essay or report should be she would reply in both outdated and politically uncorrect terms, “Like a woman’s skirt; long enough to cover the subject and short enough to be interesting.”

  20. Alex Bensky says:

    Speaking of mistakes, of course that second line should read “it’s a mistake…”

  21. With all due respect, it’s not rocket surgery to come up with these lists, not for me, personally, at this point in time. At the end of the day, we’re all fairly unique, 24/7. I shouldn’t have thought that Joanne’s readers would find this a bit of a nightmare. Absolutely.

  22. Mrs. Lopez says:

    We could all use a few more Mrs. Hoffman’s, Alex. 🙂

  23. How about “impact,” as a verb? Or “anyways?” One of my many, many inept principals used to make time stand still when he said, at every meeting, “to make a long story short,” but of course, he never did.

    I was once written up by a principal for promoting alternative lifestyles in my classroom. We were studying homophones. He didn’t know what they were, and made an assumption.

    Is anybody else really tired of stupid administrators? I think most of them are sucking out of the Educational Jargon Text Generator. Figuring that out didn’t take no rocket science, neither.


  24. Margo/Mom says:


  25. I almost forgot. Gender.


  1. […] Joanne Jacobs brought to my attention the funny list compiled by Oxford University researchers: The Top Ten Most Irritating Phrases of 2008. […]