Painting taken from this site.
I just list a few phrases which irritate me a lot:
“To be oneself”. Weak and already very worn out plagiarism from Parmenides of Elea, who stated something along the lines of: being is, and non-being is not; thus he has become the unsurpasable master of deduction in the all history of philosophy, since he deduced all his metaphysical system from this very sentence. Even more annoys me this construction: “The most important think (in life) is to be oneself”. One can behave naturally or imitate someone`s words and behaviour, and that`s the real point here.
“I personally believe…”. What could be more personal than beliefs?
“My humble self” (literally translated from Polish: “my humble person”). What on earth a speaker or writer wish to say by that? Anyway, he/she is obviously not humble enough to remain silent, that`s for sure.
“…, she/he said philosophically”. So how? Wise? Difficult? Or perhaps self-righteously? Unfortunately, for many people a philosopher is a synonym of an annoying person who is especially fond of picking holes in what somebody has said or written.
“Use your common sense”. It would be pretty hard to find many other phrases which are as vaguely defined as common sense. Descartes once wrote in the opening of his Discourse on the Method : “Good sense is, of all things among men, the most equally distributed; for every one thinks himself so abundantly provided with it, that those even who are the most difficult to satisfy in everything else, do not usually desire a larger measure of this quality than they already possess.” The source of this quote. The French thinker brilliantly spoke out the ancient wisdom that no one is eager to admit that he/she could be more feeble-minded than others.
An excessive use of suspension points. The writer is the one who creates a text, it`s not up to his/her readers.
By the way, I wonder if it would be possible to call this one sign an entire novel: ” … “. The shortest known novel might consist of just one sentence. This is probably The Dinosaur (El dinosaurio) by Augusto Monterroso:
“When he woke up, the dinosaur was still here” period.
For further reading about this writer see, for instance, here.
I encourage to give other examples of irritating words.
And a reflection in the end: I have to admit, it must be also annoying when people – me too – complain about the words he/she finds irritating, but they often use a lot of others, which might also be seen by many people as vexatious, pompous and pretentious.