In 2004 we asked our supporters in more than 70 countries which clichés they thought were the most annoying. Our supporters voted 'at the end of the day' as the most irritating phrase in the English language.
Second place in the vote was shared by 'at this moment in time' and the constant use of 'like' as if it were a form of punctuation. 'With all due respect' came fourth.
A campaign spokesman said overused phrases were a barrier to communication. "When readers or listeners come across these tired expressions, they start tuning out and completely miss the message - assuming there is one."
George Orwell's advice is still worth following: 'Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.'
The following terms also received several nominations.
- address the issue
- ballpark figure
- basis ('on a weekly basis' in place of 'every week' and so on)
- bear with me
- between a rock and a hard place
- blue sky thinking
- boggles the mind
- bottom line
- crack troops
- diamond geezer
- epicentre (used incorrectly)
- glass half full (or half empty)
- going forward
- I hear what you're saying ...
- in terms of ...
- it's not rocket science
- move the goalposts
- pushing the envelope
- singing from the same hymn sheet
- the fact of the matter is
- thinking outside the box
- to be honest/to be honest with you/to be perfectly honest
- touch base
- value-added (in general use)