The Most Annoying Sayings, At the End of the Day (Add Yours to this Epic List)

So here goes: I personally despise, at the end of the day, when people drop the ball, because, at this moment in time, it is what it is. Just sayin.

In that paragraph above I include what I and countless others find to be among the most annoying sayings shared by the English-speaking world and uttered by all of us at some point, though rarely in one sentence (thankfully).  It’s easy to use these phrases because they allow us to bridge our thoughts or label our feelings with familiar phrases. But let’s face it: it does not make us better communicators.  It’s okay to utter: “It is what it is” when the waitress brings over a Merlot instead of Malbec or you didn’t go to the gym today because you “personally despise” the treadmill. But it is not acceptable as communicators to fall back on mundane and grammatically inaccurate phrases in a profession where language speaks volumes and can be the difference between scoring an account and losing it, between garnering respect and squandering it, between capturing an audience’s attention or putting them to sleep.

How many times have you heard an executive say “At the end of the day, we are going to….” Or, “I personally feel that this is the way forward.”  You can’t “impersonally feel” something unless you’re clinically insane. And, “at the end of the day” really means: I don’t know how to start this sentence but what I want to say is…

Am I being nit-picky? Perhaps, if I weren’t writing this to an audience of communicators. But we are judged not only by our actions but by what we say and how we say it, what we write and the flair with which we write it.

To this list of phrases better left unused, I submit a few more that will get you nowhere fast. Please add yours to this list so at the end of the day (literally, today!) we have more words to ban from the workday:

* From an agency exec to a client: “Of course, we can do all of that!” (sounds fishy, I don’t believe you; be specific on what you can do and what you might not be able to do. )

* From a client to an agency rep: “I need a dashboard” (can you be more specific? Everyone’s asking for a dashboard and there are Mercedes dashboards and Pinto dashboards – which do you want?)

* From an employee to her employer: “Where is my career going here?” (you should know, bring a plan to get there; don’t let your employer tell you who you should be)

* From a boss to his employee: “You need to be more passionate.” (you can’t make people feel passionate)

* From one PR person to another:  “We need to own social media.” (Um, the public owns social media. What you really mean is you need to tie your social media efforts to a bottom line, be it financial, social good, reputation. That’s #winning)

* From a CEO to his PR team: “Get us some good press.” And the PR exec’s response: “Consider it done.”

The latter phrase sounds straight out of a movie script (perhaps a documentary).  In the real world, we know “get us some good press” is a loaded request and “consider it done” is dripping with confidence and enthusiasm.  But more meaningful conversations without niceties and catch-phrases will elevate the PR profession and set more realistic expectations for your organization. Just sayin.

(Please add to the list.)

–          Diane Schwartz  

On twitter: @dianeschwartz

  • Cheryl Hazenberg


  • Aaron


    The most respoected journalists would prefer to hear “use” in my expereince.

  • Bill Whitman

    As the end of the day, I know someone would get to this sooner, rather than later!

  • Martha Harbin

    “Bottom-line;” “in order to,” rather than “to;” using “which,” when you should use “that” (if it doesn’t need a comma to make sense, use “that”); “stakeholders,” though I’m guilty; and the adjective “battleground” used more than once in an article discussing the presidential campaign.

  • Carol Levine

    “At the end of the day” – in fact on any given day – I may hear that you have “tons of experience”; the “end result” was disappointing (is there a beginning result?); the idea is not “innovative” enough. Truth be told the word innovative is annoying in itself. It seems that these sayings are an attempt to sound clever. “Going forward”, I will need to “gut-check” what I say because finding a smart expression will be like “boiling the ocean”.

  • Mike Ciello


    “In the weeds”

  • Denise C

    “Anymore” when used in place of “today” or “now”

    “Yeah. No.” when used in speech. I always want to ask, “Which is it, yes or no?”

    “Patient-centered care” in hospital ads and “student-centered learning” in education. Geez, I would hope so!

    “Transparency.” I find that those who use this term are anything but transparent.

  • Darby

    A phrase that has recently caught fire during this election cycle moving from gambling tables to political circles…


  • john

    “No problem” —– “You’re welcome” works fine – I certainly didn’t foresee refilling my coffee cup to be a “problem”.

  • Mike

    “I could care less!” I see. Must not be that bad then. Personally, I *couldn’t* care less!

  • john

    “Not his/her wheelhouse” meaning (I assume) specialty or area of knowledge. I heard this from a TV journalist the other day for the first time. Since then probably 10 times. Also, can we leave
    ” gone viral” to the CDC?

  • Peter Black

    “you know what?….”

    It was fun the first time I heard it used by Americans decades ago, but suddenly everyone is using it to predicate a sentence.

    “Actually” why use it at all?

    “like” Argghhhhh!

    I lament all the interesting observations in these posts, because they tend to betray a disinterest in improving one’s command of English, by diluting an enormously expressive language into a melange of ill-considered abbreviations.

  • Angi Krueger

    “______________” is dead. (Insert word like “the big idea” or “print” or, you name it. Saying “dead” is dead!

  • Darrin

    “That’s not your pig”…..

    As in…. “Hey Jim, I think I’m going to think outside the box and turn this around to move the needle forward.”

    “No Bob. You’re not. It’s not your pig”

  • Sarah

    “I have alot on my plate” and “hunker down” make me crazy.

  • AJFoard


    “The Bottom Line” as a way of totally disregarding the exploration of key points along the way.

    “Get over It”
    “me Time”

    “Street wise” used by office workers

  • ,Michael Moyer

    How about these:

    Anything “on steroids”
    I can’t get my head around it
    Above my pay grade
    Slam dunk
    Issue (meaning “problem”) (“I have issues”)

  • Joan

    Bada Bing Bada Boom

    Think outside the box

    So we doubled back

    Win Win situation

    It is what it is

    Side by each


    Nailed it

  • Joan

    Here are two that I forgot: have a good one instead of saying have a nice/good day. Just sayin’

  • Joan

    Less is more

  • TraciH

    “and what not” at the end of EVERY sentence.

  • Andrea

    How about (n a sentence, written or spoken): “a myriad of”? WRONG… it’s “myriad” – only!

    And: when someone begins a sentence (when describing something they experienced – e.g. typically a ‘gripey’ story or event’s account): “Truthfully, I…”, or “To tell you the truth…”. What do they think we believed all along? That they were not telling the truth about the preceding statements made in their story?

    And, one more: “Where are you at?” or” “Where it’s at”. I’ve even heard TV meteorologists and traffic accident reporters use this poor grammar on air. UGH! Need I say more?

  • Andrea

    whoops – I had omitted the “i” in the word “in”! I’m GUILTY of a typo in my post!

    “My bad” (yet another annoying saying that needs to be retired!)

  • Mark

    I am only contributing to this list in the hope that it will make me feel that I am “part of something bigger than myself.”

  • Carol Kaplan-Lyss

    “Uptick” instead of increase

    “Perfect” (We’re in the age of assessment)

    Using words twice: “Good good”
    “Really really”

    “Good choice” from a server in a restaurant, commenting on your menu selection

  • Diane

    On the ground

    It started as a military reference “boots on the ground” but now anyone anywhere is “on the ground”. As opposed to in the air? How about just being there? ” Joe Reporter is in Denver” not “on the ground in Denver”

  • Allen

    Innovating Innovative Innovations™

  • Dirk

    It Actually Isn’t What it Is

    Linguistic experts say the phrase, “It is what it is,” is incorrect, and in reality, it isn’t what it is. “At one time it might have been what it is, or was, but it isn’t anymore,” said American Linguistic Association spokesman Binder Porkmann.

    According to a recent poll, however, 85% of the American public still believes that it is what it is. “It’s very difficult to convince people that it’s not what it is, because they truly want to believe it is,” said Porkmann, who added that the ALA will soon launch a campaign to educate the public.

    “It’s important that the public knows that what they think it is, it isn’t,” he said.

  • Poopsie von Schadenfreudian

    “Boots, troops, or generals on the ground.” Broadcast media ululate this ridiculous phrase with the frequency of saying “Amen” at a religious service.

    Prefacing responses to interviewers’ questions with “I mean…” That’s the point, isn’t it? “I mean” has apparently replaced the once-exalted “umm…” or “uh…,” ” y’know…” and, sometimes, “duh…”

    Baseball announcers parrot phrases with unknown origins:

    1. “Offer” = a checked [aborted] swing
    2. “Features” = the types of throws a pitcher can perform
    3. “Tater” = a home run
    4. “Jack” = a home run
    5. “Touched up/Roughed up” = describing how easily a team connected with what an opposing pitcher “features.” Not too long ago, “touched up” used to be known as “slaughtered.”

  • Poopsie von Schadenfreudian

    I hate when I wrote “not too long ago,” when “not long ago” suffices.

  • Poopsie von Schadenfreudian

    “Reach out.” Grrrrrrr.

  • Chi Stoneberg

    You need to really controls the commentary indexed here

  • John Ogge

    Bill Salvin on August 3rd, 2012 11:48 am

    I thought the author had deliberately used the ubiquitous and increasingly aggravating “so” to start his sentence.

    It’s also annoying when people use it at the end of a sentence, so…

    On TV the other day:

    Q: “So, what does your company do?”
    A: “So, what we do is…”

    It is being used these days to fill up space where it is meaningless and unnecessary.

    It must stop!

  • Knowidea

    Thanks for all the great comments. I have a few. Some

    “Back in the day”
    “Heads up” (the noun, as in “thanks for the heads up”
    “I got this one”
    “Not my garden”
    “Catch fire”
    “Got legs”
    “Wrap my mind around”
    “He shoots, he scores”
    “Upside potential”
    “Needless to say”
    “Having said that” or “That said”
    “Not to put too fine a point it”

    And then there’s the people who feel compelled to post the corrections for their typos, which in most cases appear several posts up the list as if we would go back to find the offending entry; get over yourself. He wait, that should be on the list too.