At the end of the day it’s not rocket science

At the end of the day I personally think it’s not rocket science, and at this moment in time and with all due respect, it absolutely shouldn’t of been a 24/7 nightmare that’s fairly unique.

What on earth am I on about? Well the above sentence contains the top ten most overused phrases in English, according to this blog post. The phrases are listed below in descending order of usage.

  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 (for shouldn’t have)
  9. 24/7
  10. It’s not rocket science

These phrases all come from the Oxford English Corpus and the list was compiled by scholars at Oxford University.

Do you use/avoid these phrases? Are there other phrases that you think are overused?

23 thoughts on “At the end of the day it’s not rocket science

  1. I knew what was coming, but that paragraph still made my stomach tighten up. Utterly ugly, trite nonsense. It´s painful to me as my PhD supervisor ruthlessly trained me to eliminate fat from my writing, and not to use meaningless jargon.

    A phrase which makes me cringe is “gone mad”

    It´s PC gone mad etc

  2. In my company they often use the literal translation of “at the end of the day”: “Am Ende des Tages” which sounds even worse…

  3. Basically I was basically dealing with a basic customer in a previous job basically who basically, right, said basically countless times basically in thirty seconds basically, because basically I basically got so fed up basically with him saying basically, you know basically, that basically I basically started counting the basic occurrences basically of “basically”, basically. I basically lost count basically.

  4. In my opinion, there are a couple of phrases that should be added to the list, if you ask me.

  5. “In my company they often use the literal translation of “at the end of the day”: “Am Ende des Tages” which sounds even worse… ”

    The correct translation is of course “Im Endeffekt”. No?

  6. I use “Actually” a lot.
    does that count as a phrase or simply one word?
    Ironically ………………… “I dunno” is my facorite and the mostly use phrase by me ^_^

  7. Admittedly, this is one word rather than a phrase, but…


    It was, like, so, like, totally awesome. I, like, liked it, but then then he was like “wow” and I was, like, “no way!” and we were both like, “that is like so good!” And then it was like really late and like I totally like had to go to work, which was like so crazy.

    British English has taken on a Friends-esque twang in that respect.

    There are parts of Scotland where people use ‘like’ all the time, but in a totally different sense to the above.

    “What’s your name like?” “My name’s John Smith like.”
    “How’s yourself like?” “Not bad like.”

    The confusing one is:
    “Did you like it?” “It was no bad like”.

  8. The phrase that seems to have become popular recently is “on the radar” meaning noticeable/of concern. It’s amazing how quickly we start adopting these phrases ouselves, sometimes even against our better judgement.

  9. I find it interesting how in other languages, some of the filler elements are very similar to English ones. For example, in colloquial Hebrew, “כאילו” is used as a filler word, which essentially means “like”.

    I also think it’s interesting how speakers of English say “ummm…” whereas speakers of Hebrew and Spanish say “ehhh…”. Does anyone else know of any more differences like this among different colloquial versions of languages? Does anyone have a theory as to why these different languages have developed these different filler words/particles?

  10. Another thing I hate is, “and I go” to mean, “I said”. Also, “and I was like” for the same phrase. As I heard on some television program once (I can’t remember what), “I’ll fine your daughter 10c every time she uses like in an ungrammatical sense”. Pity it wasn’t enforced more!

  11. I do not like “fairly unique.” My strict editor mom taught me early on that something can only have the characteristic of being unique. It cannot have this characteristic to a greater or lesser degree. It only can be or cannot be unique. So, modifying it with “fairly” just. doesn’t. work. 🙂

  12. What’s more deflating than the excessive use of these phrases is their shabbiness. 3 & 4 are tautologies and 9 is a useless abbreviation which takes longer to say than “all the time,” “all day long” or the seemingly vague but punchy, “always.”

  13. The one that get’s on my nipple end is “Whatever” normaly used by someone who is losing an argument and wants the topic closed.

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