We all have a word or phrase that we use often, perhaps a little too often. For my 22 year old daughter, that word is ‘evidently’. My 14 year old daughter has entered the ‘did you know’ phase and begins almost every random fact presentation with those three little words. My 11 year old son has been known to use the word ‘technically’ quite a bit. My 6 year old son, well he just likes words and uses them.
These words and phrases aren’t so bad, in the grand scheme of things. They do not provoke the eye-twitching, knee-jerk response that others do. You know that response I’m talking about. It’s kind of like when you hear someone drag their fingernails across a chalkboard. Yep. Most of us have a word or phrase that are like nails on a chalkboard when we hear them. (Forgive me if the phrase ‘nails on a chalkboard’ is yours!)
For my mother, that phrase is ‘failure is not an option’, and I understand completely where she’s coming from. Failure is what makes it possible for us to truly appreciate and enjoy the successes in our lives. Failure offers us opportunity to learn and grow. Of course, failure is an option. It’s just not the preferred option.
My darling husband’s pet peeve phrase is ‘I have a plan’, which just so happens to be a phrase I use more often than I should. I don’t know if it grates on his nerves so much as it evokes a feeling of intense fear that makes him want to curl up into the fetal position and suck his thumb. Funny thing is, he only has this reaction to the phrase when I use it. Hmm, something for me to think about.
There is one word and one phrase that really get under my skin: ‘nothing’ and ‘not a huge fan’. I have a teen and tween. I get ‘nothing’ as a response to questions like: What are you doing? What’s wrong? What are your thoughts on…? For instance, my 14 year old came out of the bedroom today looking like she was about to fall over:
That’s not the face of nothing.
You know that feeling you get when you stand up way too fast?
Aha! I knew it wasn’t ‘nothing’! Well, why didn’t you just say you stood up to fast?!
Anyway, moving on.
The phrase ‘not a huge fan’ has become a big contender on my pet peeves list. Mainly, this is because whenever my children use this phrase, it is to inform me that they don’t like a particular food I’ve made. So, “I’m not a huge fan of (insert offending food item here)” is enough to make my eye-twitch and my teeth grind. It’s gotten to the point that I’m ready to set up a “word jar”, my version of the “swear jar” and force the kids to pay up a quarter every time they use an offending word or phrase.
So what about you? What words or phrases really set you off and make you wish you could ban them from vocabulary until the end of time?