Cliches; Lawyers like words

It matters not whether you are a lawyer, salesperson, shop teller to just the average person on the street who talks from time to time. Everyone loves a cliche. It is so prevalent these days I’m sure half the time we ignore them unless we get a really bad one then it becomes a source of ridicule. So next time you are preparing your summary before the “beak” maybe think about avoiding this top ten of verbal disasters.

10. “To Be Honest”

Example: “To be honest, M’Lud my opponent is a buffoon but work is work!” Originally, this meaningless expression was used to give extra punch to a humorous or patently clear statement. Unfortunately, it’s been hijacked by officious malcontents who believe everything they say deserves the same emphasis. The best reply is: “If that was honest, were you being dishonest before?”

9. “Basically”

Example: “Basically, quantum theory is about small things we can’t see.” This cliché is often used by scientists who are required to dumb down their words for the benefit of others. Nevertheless, some people like to think all the information they convey is equally complex and esoteric. They introduce statements with a condescending “basically” to establish how much more intelligent they are than the recipient of their precious information.

8. “I’m Not Even Joking”

Example: “I once rode a giraffe into a shopping mall, I’m not even joking” When communicating something serious or true that may evoke genuine surprise or laughter, it is often necessary to state you’re not joking. However, some people believe they would have been the next Chris Rock had it not been for their calling to become a mailman. To avoid confusion, these expert comedians must conclude every statement with a cautionary addendum regarding jocular misunderstanding.

7. “With All Due Respect”

Example: “With all due respect, you should be shot out of a cannon into a volcanic ash cloud.” This has to be one of the most annoying cliches ever concocted. It’s nearly always contradictory because it invariably precedes a disrespectful remark. Not only does the cliché give the user a feeling of immunity from retribution, but it establishes the hurtful remark as more considered and truthful than it usually is. It’s a weaselly and offensive cliché used by arrogant, petulant people.

6. “Giving It 110%”

Example: “It was hard work, but I gave yesterday’s maths quiz 110%” Giving 110% is something no human being can do. If it were possible, the world would fall apart because everything made to 100% precision would become a flimsy, haphazard deathtrap. The laws of physics would disintegrate into the ether, and the fabric of reality would tumble into the shredder. People claiming to give 110% should be talked to “with all due respect”.

5. “The Fact of the Matter”

Example: “The fact of the matter is I am right and you are wrong.” This condescending cliché is often used to needlessly repeat something that has been said earlier in an argument. The cliché is supposed to provide added emphasis and verity. Instead, the facile presumption of truth only serves to annoy the listener. After all, if you can’t justify your argument without using this cliché, your argument is baseless.

4. “Yeah, No”

Example: “Yeah, no, I did well on the quiz but that brown milkshake tasted horrible!” This is without a doubt the most meaningless cliché on the list. Rather than prefacing a contradictory statement, this cliché is itself a contradiction. It usually introduces a compromise between two competing forces in an accommodating or conciliatory tone. Sometimes it is used as a space filler to escape the torment of having to think for a couple of seconds in silence.

3. “You Know What I Mean?”

Example: “That film so was cliched, you know what I mean?” When subjected to this ear wrenching cliché, the best way to respond is: “no, I don’t know what you mean”, because it forces the culprit to attempt a proper explanation. The cliché is a bid to escape this kind of serious thought by coaxing the listener into agreement. As a result, replying in the negative can elicit frustration. Just remember that you’re doing it for their own good.

2. “At the End of the Day”

Example: “At the end of the day, I was so bored that I fell asleep like I would at the end of the day” This cliché is typically used to summarize a collection of events with one key statement. It can also suggest a degree of impatience, which is ironic because it often generates that reaction in others. Taken literally, it is a preposterous cliché because it should only refer to events that occur at dusk. Therefore, the real confusion arises when attempting to talk about something that actually does occur at this time (e.g. rest, sleep, smashing your head against a wall to empty it of verbal diarrhea, etc).

1. “Turned Around and Said”

Example: “So he turned around and said “you need to turn your life around”, which I didn’t like, so I turned around and walked away” The most annoying cliché of all time belongs to a curious collection of persistently revolving lunatics. This meaningless expression appears to describe a person who is spiteful or angry; with the revolving motion supposedly giving their words extra momentum or impact. When overused it can be quite amusing, as you can imagine them perpetually pirouetting, whilst projecting their pointed prose at perplexed passers by.

And to top of your annoyance for the day, here are three cliches honed into one beautifully grafted pain in your eardrum: “I hear what you’re saying, but let’s face it, it’s not rocket science.”