Maybe it’s the Internet. Maybe it’s Twitter or Facebook. But whatever it is, verbal clichés seem to grow and prosper more quickly than ever. For example, it’s virtually impossible to listen to any two people discuss any subject without hearing the dreaded, “At the end of the day” and/or, “Having said that.”
The latter is a verbal tic that’s an extension of “but” or replaces “uh.” Having said that? Having said what you just said? Yeah, I heard what you just said, and now you’re going to point out that you just said it? “The Republicans are in a strong position, Christiane, and the Democrats are on the defensive, but having said that...” I know you said that. I was listening.
“At the end of day...” At the end of what day? When does the day end? “There are a lot of important factors in the race, David, but at the end of the day...” What if something happens before the day ends? Then what?
Or how about, “At this point in time.” You mean, “Now.” It’s such a lawyerly phrase. It’s as if you’re trying to cover something up. “At this point in time, he doesn’t know how that got on the dress.”
My new least favorite expression is more apt to be uttered by a waiter or waitress than by a political commentator. It’s the simple, but, for some reason, aggravating phrase, “No problem.”
“May we see the menu, please?”
I know it’s no problem! It’s a restaurant; you have hundreds of menus! How could it be a problem? Some advanced students of linguistics have switched to the even-more-annoying, “No worries.”
And for anyone over, say, 45 years old, please don’t use the word “props” to express giving credit to someone. It sounds like some middle-ager trying to sound hip, as when older people used to say “cool” in the 60s.
Having said that, at the end of the day, there’s not much to be done about it.