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The "Annoying Phrase" Thread

tonyb

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^^^^
It’s done for emphasis. And “each” and “every” are close to synonymous but not quite exactly. (True synonyms are few. There are shades of meaning, sometimes so subtle as to be almost meaningless, but still, the best communicators know the difference between a good word and a better one.)

How about “redouble”? (The verb, not the noun.) The “re” seems kinda redundant to me, but, like your speech instructor’s objection to “each and every,” my opinion counts for little.
 

tonyb

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Oh please, just who is being disrespectful here?

That esteemed professor’s take on this is just her take on this and nothing more. Her view will not prevail. People will continue saying “each and every” (and countless other phrases many of us might rather they didn’t) no matter what she or you or I might think of it. And they’ll do it for reasons every bit as defensible as that pedagogue’s objections to it.

Further, there’s nothing “pseudo-intellectual” in the post you find so objectionable. Your calling it that is nothing other than an ad hominem attack.
 

LizzieMaine

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"Each and every" was acceptable under every editor I ever wrote for, but it always carried a whiff of jackleg preacher or soap-box orator or sideshow barker or street-corner pitchman about it -- "Ya say ya not satisfied! Ya say ya want more for ya money? Tell ya what I'm gonna do! With eeeeeeeeach and evvvvvvvv'ry bottle of Had-a-col, the wonder preparation, the pharmaceutical marvel of the age, the blood-building tonic of a million uses, I will give you abs-o-lutely free this patented combination needle-threader, bottle opener and lock pick for just a small handling charge of fifty cents, one half of a dollah!"

Most of us don't recite classical literature for a living -- although I have done it on stage as much for comic effect as for literary -- youse folks shoulda seen me as The Porter in a Maine-themed production of "Macbeth." "'Ere's a knocking indeed," with an exaggerated Abysmal Point dialect. But in any event there's no reason to let one's bile perk too much over colloquialisms, slang or overused idioms. They is, as the saying goes, what they is.

People should feel free to have fun with language. It's not a rulebook, it's a toybox.

Speaking of the fine art of recitation, it ain't what it used to be. There is likely no one here who was compelled to rise in fifth-grade English and recite "The Boy Stood On The Burning Deck," or "The Charge of the Light Brigade," but if your grandparents went to school in the 1910s or 20s, it's quite likely that they did.
 

tonyb

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...

Speaking of the fine art of recitation, it ain't what it used to be. There is likely no one here who was compelled to rise in fifth-grade English and recite "The Boy Stood On The Burning Deck," or "The Charge of the Light Brigade," but if your grandparents went to school in the 1910s or 20s, it's quite likely that they did.

Which goes some way toward explaining why so many of their successors dropped out of school in their teen years and signed themselves up for service in the war.
 
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tonyb

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Kidding aside, certain college-level teachers of my acquaintance might find something to be said for educational practices of a century ago that fell by the wayside over the intervening decades.

What I’m hearing from those teaching 100 level courses is that too many of their students are ill-prepared for what we used to think of as “college level” coursework. It’s not that the youngsters are unintelligent; it’s that they weren’t taught in their primary and secondary schools what had been taught in earlier generations — such as how to structure a cogent sentence and paragraph.

The instructors report that administrators have little interest in offering sub-100 level remedial courses; rather, they want to maximize graduation rates, so the pressure is on the teachers to issue passing grades when those grades are not deserved.
 

LizzieMaine

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It might be that formal writing, as such, is simply no longer as essential a skill in the everyday world as it once was.

How many people here, who are not some variety of professional writer, ever actually do any formal writing in their everyday life? How many people -- again, who are not actually employed as some variety of professional writer -- actually sit down and write formally-structured letters, or articles, or research reports, or essays, or formal speeches? How essential a skill *is* this in today's world, where a lot of people are going to roll their eyes at this every post and think "TL-DR?"

If you aren't writing for formal publication, just how important *are* the rules of formal composition? If you can express yourself clearly enough to be understood, isn't that enough, especially in a world where formal written communication is becoming as passe as the celluloid collar?
 

tonyb

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I’ve heard that argument before, or ones similar to it. I’ve also heard talk of a “post-literate” humanity, that reading and writing itself may become a thing of the past.

Still, though, it’s hard to beat literacy for transmitting knowledge and building on it. Literacy is the abstraction of spoken language, and in mastering it a brain is trained to make other abstractions.

Despite what those teachers I alluded to above tell me, and despite all the other reports, anecdotal and otherwise, of falling language skills, it remains that 99 percent of Americans over the age of 15 are at least basically literate. Attribute this in large part to compulsory education and the push to educate segments of the population that were historically excluded from schooling.

But, to your point, Elizabeth, basic literacy and good writin’ skills ain’t the same thing, although you can’t have the latter without the former.

A person who wishes her positions to be seriously considered would do herself a big favor by boning up on writing skills. I suspect that what keeps many such people from doing just that is a fear born of negative messages they received from their teachers in the early grades. So they have themselves defeated before they get a good start.

Thing is, passably clear writing isn’t so difficult as many seem to fear. It can be taught. And it ought to be.
 

Bugguy

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Time to resurrect this thread (moan)...

Since the first of the year we're hearing a whole host of new and really annoying phrases. My least favorite two are:
  • "Out of an abundance of caution" What the h@#$% does that mean? I find that it usually means they're taking something away from me. Alternative meaning seems to be that I'm about to be conned.
  • "The New Normal" Implying that I'll spend the rest of my days with a mask and 6-feet of separation? (And rationing single-ply TP) Or does it mean that my self-directed retirement funds are gone for good?
Meanwhile the media is harping on the downfall of western civilization while inventing new catch phrases and our politicians are trying to manage expectations because they haven't a clue how to handle the social upheaval in the wind. Every nut case in academia is coming out of the woodwork, especially the economists that are making their first dollar shilling for the media. All while the Dow circles he drain.

Time to just step out of the wy and let the next smarter generation make their bed.
 

tonyb

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In recent days it seems I’ve heard “reopening the economy” every several minutes.

While there’s no doubt that parts of the economy large and small are on hiatus, and that the effects of that are being felt throughout the economy, it isn’t that the economy is closed.

There’s gotta be a better phrase.
 
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While not annoying, I find it amusing that businesses, at least in our area, have come up with a stock phrase for our predicament. "These Challenging Times," seems to be preferred, and I hear it on many local commercials and some national, from everything for lawyers to restaurants.

It's as if they all got together and decided on it in advance.
 

Harp

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It might be that formal writing, as such, is simply no longer as essential a skill in the everyday world as it once was.

How many people here, who are not some variety of professional writer, ever actually do any formal writing in their everyday life? How many people -- again, who are not actually employed as some variety of professional writer -- actually sit down and write formally-structured letters, or articles, or research reports, or essays, or formal speeches? How essential a skill *is* this in today's world...

I enjoy writing. And most especially when I am paid for authoring a scribble or two.;)
 

LizzieMaine

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In recent days it seems I’ve heard “reopening the economy” every several minutes.

While there’s no doubt that parts of the economy large and small are on hiatus, and that the effects of that are being felt throughout the economy, it isn’t that the economy is closed.

There’s gotta be a better phrase.

"Reopening the economy" makes it sound like a simple matter of Sam Drucker going down to his store and flipping the sign from "closed" to "open." Which is exactly why they use it. Every word that comes out of Offices of Communication is carefully selected by experts on psychological marketing for maximum impact on the easily manipulated. It's a fundamental technique of propaganda.

None of these phrases ever arise by chance. If reporters were really doing their jobs, they would refuse to propagate them.
 

Harp

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While there’s no doubt that parts of the economy large and small are on hiatus, and that the effects of that are being felt throughout the economy, it isn’t that the economy is closed. .

Frankly brother the American economy is lock downed right now. Texas light sweet coffee is hovering at $18,
the $ riding high as hell, and M1/2 velocity abysmal. Oil price tag and volume indices tied to Corona,
Saudi Arabian damascene infuriates Moscow, and the United States is manufacturing 2.1 trillion dollars to
prime the pump Saint John M Keynes-and that's a lotta pesos.
And toss in 21,000,000 unemployed with more to file.
The American economy ain't closed. It's dead.
 
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belfastboy

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I *hate* the word "challenging." A film festival producer of my acquaintance has the habit of describing every film he presents as "challenging," which really means he was high on dope when he saw it and has no idea what it was about.
I call this the "Ulysses - Joyce" phenomenon...all the poseurs call it challenging and creative to mask that they don't understand it and likely didn't enjoy reading it if in fact they actually did finish it.
 

belfastboy

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^^^^^
Yeah, I don’t tune in nearly as frequently as I once did, although I don’t know if it’s that they’ve slipped or that I’ve changed. A bit of both, I suppose.

I was torn between laughing and screaming one day recently when an announcer on a local NPR affiliate uttered an almost incredibly awkward string of copy, written so as to say “people experiencing homelessness” rather than “homeless people” or just “the homeless.”

It was apparent the directive came from on high.

So, in the spirit of same, I am no longer an old bald white guy. I’m a person experiencing seniority, and a person experiencing alopecia, and a person experiencing paleness, and a person experiencing maleness.
and today realize that your maleness is a choice.
 

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