Some Irritating Phrases in Texts

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.

5 thoughts on “Some Irritating Phrases in Texts

  1. Irritating phrases…

    1. “may lead to…”
    Does it or does it not?

    2. “xxxx related”
    Related? So, you don’t know really?

    3. “it is thought..”
    So, you don’t really have proof?

    4. “We need to act…”
    Who is “we”?

    5. “Experts warn..”
    Who pays these “experts”?

    6. ” More research is needed”
    What a cop-out! In short, your weird hypothesis has gone into print.

    Those are the ones that immediately sprung to mind.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “Scientifically proven”. Amen.
    Especially irritating in ads but not only, just as the recent overuse of “nano….”.

    Sometimes the language used by doctors is quite annoying, i.a. when they talk about precancerous conditions. Let`s take a closer look at this: “Having a pre-cancerous condition doesn’t mean that you have cancer, or that you will definitely develop cancer. But pre-cancerous conditions are diseases or syndromes that might develop into a cancer, so it’s important to monitor your health.” The quote taken from:
    All tissues could become malignant neoplasms, so what does it really mean in practice for patients? A whole body would be then a great precancerous lesion?
    For example, should some of my moles be cut out or not? Once a young dermatologist scared me, pointing at one of my moles. He said, it could turn into melanoma, so I have to get rid of it. Other doctor said: not necessarily, and that the decision to undergo a surgery was up to me.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. When I was 17 my GP decided that a mole on my back needed removing – I sheepishly followed the procedure.
    Years later I noticed it grew back. Much more ugly than it was before. I still have it and I am still very healthy.
    That does remind me of another phrase currently used by politically correct GPs: “Do you smoke?”
    Me: ” Indeed, I do but I am here because I came off a rail and twisted my knee”.
    GP: “How much?”
    Me: “I have no idea; I was trying a ‘sunny day’ and someone had waxed the rail, so I fell half way down”.
    GP: ” No, how many cigarettes do you smoke?”
    Me: ” Huh? I can smoke for Britain, but my knee hurts. Can we please spend the 2 minutes allocated to me on why I am here?”

    In short, I spread out the 2 minutes allocated to me to 15 minutes and in the end got a referral to a hospital near me. I tore some ligaments so for the next 2 months I’m off skates and off climbing.

    I wish medics would their job rather than …..

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The situation in Poland became very similar, and that`s really annoying when many doctors are eager to blame smoking for almost every possible illness (recently also for some melanoma incidents).
    When I was hospitalized because of reactive arthritis (after yersinia infection – I was almost unable to walk at all for a few months), I was asked if I smoked and drinked. I answered I smoked occasionally, and I was close to abstinence, for I don`t like alkohol in any form; the doctor explained that drinking in moderation is ok, but smoking in any amount is bad, and I should give it up entirely. Also for my inflammed joints` sake?

    Once I saw the results of research indicating that smoking women are approximately twice more likely to get pregnant unexpectedly than non-smoking ones. Authors of the paper explained that smokers are more likely to engage in risky behaviours. This is an excellent example for that how correlation does not necessarily imply causation.

    A lot of smokers also tend to drink more than non-smokers, exercise less, eat more jung food etc., and that is in many cases the real cause of the so called “smoking-related diseases”.


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