‘It Is What It Is’: More Annoying Phrases to Avoid


A few weeks ago PR News' SVP and group publisher Diane Schwartz listed some of the most annoying sayings and phrases that are over-employed by many communicators. This "epic list" was itself a follow-up to an earlier blog post that asked readers to offer their own suggestions.

And the suggestions just keep coming from PR News readers. Here's the latest batch:

  • "Looping in"

  • "Let's agree to disagree"

  • "A place at the table"

  • "Bang for the buck"

  • "Fast-forward to..."

  • "Reach out to"

  • "We'll address it later"

  • "Double-down”

  • "I know, right?"

  • "You know what I mean?"

  • "We're killing it"

  • "I’m going to bat for you"

  • Anything with “literally” or "virtually" in it

  • "Without further ado"

  • "Epic fail"

  • "Because of uncertain conditions"

  • "Out of pocket"

  • "Quite frankly"

  • "I couldn't care less"

  • "Untimely death"      

Keep ’em coming.

Follow Jamar Hudson: @jamarhudson 

  • Cynthia Jones

    Actually, and
    At the end of the day

  • Lynn Nash


  • Christine

    “Truth be told”

  • kaye

    “Socialize” used to mean give exposure to and gain consensus around ideas or work product

  • James Mattson

    Keep ’em coming.

  • rich nendza

    Any written phrase that tries too create a dramatic effect with a period After. Every. Word.

  • Adam Hollander

    “I said that, to say this..”

  • Kim Mills

    “Needless to say”

  • Robyn Barnes

    Back in the day

  • Leila

    At least “I couldn’t care less” is the correct phrase. What is even more annoying is hearing “I could care less.” Do those people that means they do care, at least a little?

  • Jamie Green

    I’d like to comment but I have a hard stop at 4:54 so I can jump onto another call; let’s circle back

  • Anne Lies

    “Obviously” and “Does that make sense?”

  • cheryl m

    “Net Net” ugh…

  • Brian L.
  • Steve Frank

    I love “untimely death.” When is death ever timely? Add “past history.” Is that different from “future history?”

  • Katie

    THANK YOU. I have been trying to abolish “it is what it is” from everyone’s vocabulary around me. I cringe every time I hear it.
    I’d also like to include “Amazeballs” and “Irregardless”

  • peter

    “ya THINK?”

    “drilling down”

  • Shaun McFarland

    ‘I’m not a big fan’

  • Kathy Bosin

    moving forward….

  • Terry Truman


  • Beth Levitin

    “Let’s table that for now.”

  • Bob McKinlay

    Just sayin’.

  • walter bolen

    a stitch in time saves nine

  • mj

    i’ve got your back

  • Cyndy Trivella

    “We need to do the deep dive.”

  • john

    CEO-speak and jargon learned in business school: “Hmmm, I don’t like the optics on this…”

  • Jeff N.

    “There ya go.” – As in, you’re in a group and just said something very funny and that one dolt says “there ya go”, which is of course code for “You just said something very funny and, while I have nothing clever to say in return, I do want to say SOMETHING.”

  • Cassandra

    “That’s in my/his/her wheelhouse” – please make this stop. You are either qualified or not.

  • Jodi

    Not a phrase but it’s so annoying when people say “supposeBLY.”

  • swanie

    “New Beginnings” … (can there be old beginnings?)

  • Adam

    Wow. You’ve managed to encompass 80% a typical business conversation.

  • Neil Palmer

    perfect storm

  • maria

    basically, actually…get to the point. filler words are as bad as mayo!

  • Judith Rogow

    You know?

  • Donna Maurillo

    “We’re excited about our product launch.” That sounds like you’re going to Disneyland. Quote the CEO about the product, not about his stupid feelings.

  • Bryan

    Put a pin in it. Exactly where do I put the pin and why?

  • Pat

    As the case may be

  • Kathie Martin

    “Let’s unpack this.” Also, “with all that being said”

  • Peter

    If people at my company didn’t use these phrases, I’m not sure there would be any verbal or written communication at all.

  • Dionne

    “Circle back”; “Basically”, “Actually”

  • Jed

    And what not…

  • Patrick

    Light bulb moment!

  • rob newman


  • Jon

    Wow… Or how about instead of making a completely repetitive and irrelevant list like this, we all just collectively remove the stick from our asses and get back to work.

  • Al

    “New & Improved” How can it be both?

  • rob newman


  • Cecilia Pineda

    “At that (or this) particular point in time…” How about: “then” or “now”

  • Erin

    My boss actually says “redonkulous” — instead of ridiculous. Drives me insane, not to mention it is horribly unprofessional.

  • TJV

    “At the end of the day”, “The bottom line”, “Tipping point”, “Getting granular”, “(So and so is) Running point (on something)”, “Content is king”

  • Roberta Guise

    Pivot…everything these days is a pivot. And and let’s use “fulsome” correctly. Fulsome is not praise; it means “excessive.”

  • Robb

    Having said that…DRIVES ME BONKERS!

  • Kristin

    “Pre-sell” – meaning you’ve got to get your internal champion to endorse an idea or proposal before it gets presented to a his/her boss or colleagues.

  • May

    Really? Seriously? Whatever.

  • Pam

    “Those ones”. My highSchool English teacher would be “rolling over in her grave” . Can dead people do that? But back to These ones and Those ones. …

  • Bob S.

    It is what it is

  • Bob


  • Janene Lasswell

    “Bear with me”. I always wonder why I must.

  • IB

    We need to make sure they have “Skin in the game”. I also hate it when people use allot meaning many and not the actual meaning allocate.

  • Sydney Griffin

    Not for nothin’ but . . .

    Not so much . . .

    and last but not least: I’m nauseous instead of I am nauseated.

  • Lia

    “Let’s circle back”

  • Brad Goins

    I want to agree with comment No. 39. If you eliminate everyone who uses at least one of these phrases, you eliminate 99%+ of the populace.

  • Linda

    “Slippery slope”

  • Lia

    “Fair enough”

  • Juan Carlos Molina


  • Leslie Rowe

    “Utilize” instead of “use”. (a personal bugs-me)

  • Bobby Christian

    “Could care less” – It’s actually “Could NOT care less”… Think about it!

  • John Marston

    particularly by football announcers: “trickeration” instead of a trick play

  • Nicholas

    Innernet. I guess it’s the inner part of the net? Could be applied to “international”, too, among millions of others…

  • Kayla

    “Quite candidly…” Which is meant to be taken as “I’m about to blow some smoke up your butt about a topic I can’t be honest with you about but need to say something about.

  • david


  • Wes

    “Think outside the box” is the most unoriginal in-the-box phrase of them all.

  • Nate

    “We don’t know what we don’t know…” is one that grates me. Older ones that I still hear a lot are “cross-functionality” and “synergy.” 1996 called – they want their business cliches back!!!

  • Tom

    1. “So” at the beginning of every sentence
    2. “kind of” or “sort of” to buy time

  • Michelle

    “Efforting” (It’s NOT a verb, no matter how often you try to make it one!

  • Cliff

    In other words…

  • Duud

    Life is life

  • Craig

    “What’s not to love”. The English, actually. Try “what’s not lovable”

  • Robin Walker

    While many of these phrases I agree with being ridiculous, “It is what it is” is actually quite useful if you understand it’s deeper meaning. It is simply a variation on the Law of Identify, first recorded by Plato, also known in logic classes as “A is A”. So be careful poo-pooing this one.

  • Ed

    I’m curious why people object to “Let’s table that” and “We’ll address it later.” Neither of these strikes me as a cliche or overused expression. What am I missing?

  • Steven

    The bottom line is this…

  • Rosemary

    From bad news anchors: “totally devastated” (it is or it isn’t devastated). And DC think: “in that space”

  • Fiona Dwyer

    I can’t stand “fricking”, “whatever” and “synergy”.

  • L

    Let’s talk offline…

  • Andy

    “We’re thrilled to announce…” This overheated phrase is overused.

  • Bodkin

    “In and of itself…” could be dropped from any sentence without changing the meaning. “At the end of the day” it’s nothing more than a vocalized pause.

  • Wow Words copywriter

    “You know what I’m saying?” after ever sentence is really annoying because it infers I’m having difficulty understanding the English language, when, in fact, it’s the person speaking having a problem expressing themselves.

    • Ann On Imus

      So true, actually! Same goes for “You know what I mean!” I thought I was the only one who thought that way!

  • XXX


  • sue

    “Let’s take this offline”

  • Dev

    “Good for you!”

  • Tiff

    “mobilize” almost as bad as “incentivize” (but i haven’t heard that lately).

  • Nick

    “Gunned down”… is this a verb? Don’t people just get shot?

  • Rancor

    Words. I really dislike them. Especially when spoken.

  • n8

    I can’ t believe no one has said “going forward” or “on a go-forward basis”

    Also “flushing out” an idea when they mean to say “fleshing out”

  • Melinda

    “Bandwidth”-how about “do you have time…”

  • Brad

    From my perspective…

  • knetvis

    state of the art…

  • Mike

    “Ping me later”!!

  • Adi

    Let’s take this offline.
    Cloud-based solutions

  • steph

    “Let’s dialogue” and “circle back”. Ugh!

  • Bradley

    Thank you… “SOOOO MUCH”….

  • Rhonda

    “To make a long story short,” You just made the long story longer.

  • Mike

    My Fav is irregardless. The correct word is regardless

  • Denny OKeefe

    “All that to say”, “organic”

  • Lori

    “To be honest with you” implies everything else you’ve said is a lie

  • JBF

    …ellipses… …are… …over…used… …universally………

    “Boil the ocean” – as in, “Hey – we need a short term fix here. We’re not trying to boil the ocean…”

    “Circle the wagons” – “Great idea! Pull in your players and we can circle the wagons on that one on Monday”

    And the most over-used of them all: “LEVERAGE” – i.e., “If we get the brightest lights aligned on this, I’m sure we can leverage our combined synergies to deliver an impactful message.”

  • Mary

    “spot on”. Why is it that business-jargon is never really their own…like “bandwidth” , “deep-dive”, dashboard – stolen from physics, scuba and the auto industry, respectively.

  • Erica

    1. I don’t know what I don’t know.
    2. “Buttoned up” or “nailed down”; i.e., “We need to have everything buttoned up/nailed down by …”
    3. Let’s noodle on this.

  • Robertybob

    Iam amazed that “the new normal” and “It’s all good,” haven’t been mentioned.

  • KC

    How did “No worries” and/or “Throw him/her under the bus” not make it on this list!! Worst sayings ever!

  • Jennifer Mickey

    haha I think the biggest saying I hear all the time is “whatever”

  • meme

    “yet today”

  • Anne

    “The view from 50,000 feet” has always made me wonder where the speaker really is.

  • Matthew Schwartz

    “Having said that.” Yea, I heard you the first time.

  • ned

    “c’est la vie…”

  • Ann On Imus

    How about “the reason is because,” “the reason why,” and “the reason why is because?” Reason, because and why all have the same definition, making such sentences redundancies. Sadly a majority of the population uses this!

  • Jack Tors

    “Really?” “Seriously?” “Don’t go there” “Been there, done that” “In the zone” “Man up” “Step up””At the end of the day” “Just sayin” “Throw under the bus” “Game on” “Go big or go home” All these phrases should be punishable by castration

  • AuntieCoagulant

    “It is what it is”. If ever there were a reason for justifiable homicide.