Meaningless words and phrases

Radio 4 news. I’ve heard the phrase ‘going forward’ used 3 times in thirty minutes. Nobody’s very likely to do anything ‘going backwards’ are they? That, plus the now almost mandatory ‘so’ prefacing every response to any question are my pet hates. Anybody got any others?

‘Actually’, no.


My favourite on a card in a hotel room recently. ‘Please enjoy your free complimentary water on us’. Just in case you did not get the message


Y,know?..well…actually… I don’t

Good topic!
When Nick Robinson is on Today, he will often end his interviews with ‘thank you for your time ‘. He says it in such a way that it always sounds rude to me.

I’m not convinced by ‘anybody got any others?’, which surely should be ‘does anyone have any others?’, or maybe not.

I quite like ‘going forwards’ which is simply an alternative way of saying ‘and as we move ahead’. I certainly used it quite a lot in reports at work.

The one that gets me is ‘my bad’. My bad what?


“Forgive me for interrupting…” is a stalwart of interviewers on R4’s Today.

“Onboarding” is a recent addition to the Buzzword Bingo game…we have a lot of onboarding at work.

But the one that really gets my goat :grinning: is the use of the word “done”…as in phrases like “are you done speaking?”

Medaling & podiuming



“My bad” is American for “my mistake”.

I work for a US company and the amount of jargon and phrases used is astonishing. I was asked to “noodle” on something overnight last week. I think it means “consider”.

I think we are are familiar with the acronym “WTF” but how is that different from “WTAF”?

For sure - does anyone where this came from?
See you later - No you won’t!!
Know wot i mean - prevalent in the Portsmouth area

Giving 110%


The veil has lifted…

At the end of the day, for what it’s worth (FWIW), in my honest opinion (IMHO), the bottom line is -
… the various media twitterface communications are changing & degrading the “english” language faster than at anytime in the past.
I dersunt menshun speeling chekers cuz I’z jjst as bad at not pruf reeding wot I senz

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Decimate - which really means reduce by one tenth, not almost destroy.
At the end of the day, which seems a rather long and roundabout way of saying ultimately.
Know what I mean?

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We are where we are

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WTAF is just a more emphatic (incredulous) version of WTF isn’t it? It’s pretty meaningless if you substitute the words for the acronym in either case.

Sometimes things do seem to move backwards - UK Gov is a case in point!

As for meaningless phrases:

Qualifying a remark with “to be honest”. Meaningless - unless of course everything else the person says isn’t honest!

The word humble in “In my humble opinion” - rarely is it humble, so should just say: “in my opinion”.

A politician saying: “The people have spoken” or similar. They only say that when they are trying to railroad something through, but never take any notice of what ‘the people’ have said the rest of the time.

The right side of History

Having worked for a multinational for 20 years, I collected quite a few which used to drive me mad. (I have since retired.)

  • ‘Agile Working’ which seemed to mean either working at home, not having a regular desk to sit at or having to do everything oneself (eg recruitment) as the specialists who used to help had all been made redundant.
  • ‘Alignment’. “This is really aligned”. WTF does that mean?

I amused myself by making up and using one of my own, “We need to change the straw around here” which at least usually secured a laugh. My secret ambition was for the phrase to become part of the lexicon and have someone else use it in a meeting but sadly this never happened.