Don't Say That, Literally

Friday, May 29, 2009

John Flansburgh of the band They Might Be Giants discusses the running list the band keeps of "things we can no longer say." (a few examples: "my bad" "don't go there" "one hundred and ten percent" and "voted off the island") What would be on your list of banned words or phrases? Comment below!


John Flansburgh

Comments [174]

asdf from asdfg

Where is the rest of the interview!!!?? :(

Sep. 08 2009 05:17 PM
Catherine Manning Flamenbaum from Babylon, Long Island

The "Might Be Giants" list targets tiresome , trendy terms and phrases. I am fascinated with the evolution of our ever changing American English. In comparison to the Giants' list and my imaginary lists of slang that will fade and slang that will last. I differ on two phrases:
1. "Phone tag" provides a concise and obvious reference to a new phenomenon.
2. "At the end of the day" is a pleasingly poetic phrase.

Jul. 16 2009 11:30 AM
mw from Brooklyn, NY

Word usage: hopefully (unless it’s actually used properly, as an adverb)

Phrases without evident meaning: everything is everything

Phrases frequently heard on talk radio programs:

Thanks for taking my call.

I’ll take my answer (sic) off the air.

That is an excellent question.

Military talk: Hit the ground running

Repetitive usages: “The logic is, is that….”

Jul. 03 2009 11:23 AM
Lance Rosenthal from Ardsley, NY

The expression that makes me crazy is:

That being said

I mean, come on, everything you say is followed by the next sentence. Is it necessary to point out the obvious?

Jul. 02 2009 12:11 PM
Matthew Wilkes from Brooklyn, NY

Without disagreeing with the suggestion that "wow" be added to the list, on a linguistic / etymological note, a friend who has spent time (two Peace Corps stints) in Senegal reports that this expression "comes from Wolof, the main language of Senegal, where 'wiao, wiao,' enunciated sagely, indicates enthusiastic agreement with whatever has just been said." While that is the pronunciation, the actual spelling of the word appears to be "waaw," meaning "yes." The fact that many Wolof people were brought to America during the early years of the slave trade may help explain how this usage came to be adopted here and remained unfamiliar in Europe.

Jul. 01 2009 12:49 PM
Myron Pulier from New York, New York, New York

Now hear this: "At this point in time," it's got to go, you know what I'm saying? I mean, like, what's up with that? When you get down and dirty with the nitty-gritty, mom and apple pie got it made.

Jul. 01 2009 12:08 PM
PD from nyc

"Axt" instead of "asked"

"Quite honestly..."

Jun. 29 2009 02:43 PM
Beth from Lewiston, Maine

I am so sick of hearing "What happens in ______ stays in _________" First of all, it is used far too often. I hear it constantly and it makes me crazy. Secondly, whatever it is that you did or said wherever you were WILL NOT stay there!! Bad choices WILL ALWAYS have the potential to follow you!

Jun. 20 2009 07:46 AM
Clovis Sangrail

"Going forward", as in "earnings projections going forward."

Jun. 16 2009 06:17 PM

most industries or professions have their own internal jargon which has been around and in use for a very long time. the problem is when that jargon makes the jump into everyday vernacular and then overused. for example, as mentioned above, "plated" food is a food industry term meaning that the meal is presented to the diner already on the plate, rather than in serving dishes, on the table, family-style. it's when industry insiders use the terminology among lay people to present an aura of exclusivity, which then everyone jumps on, because everyone wants to be seen as on the "on the inside." that's what drives me crazy.

Jun. 11 2009 04:35 AM
judy from nyc

'very unique'
Something is unique or it's not.

Jun. 10 2009 10:02 PM
mary from manhattan

What cha got?
Brian are you reading?

Jun. 09 2009 08:26 PM
Mark Furna from Milwaukee

I don't care about the words we should no longer use, but I hate it when someone (i.e. Brian) says he's a big fan of the band, when in fact he doesn't even know the names of the the co-founders of the band. It's Linnell bucko, not Lydell or however you hacked up his name.

Jun. 08 2009 11:31 PM
Charlie from Demarest NJ

On the ground

At the end of the day

Bottom line


What's up

Jun. 04 2009 07:24 PM
Miles from Brooklyn

Rather than use the word "increase," people saying, "up." As in, "we have to UP our efforts," or "you better UP the dosage."

"Asks" in lieu of requests. As in, "the client has the following "ASKS..."


Jun. 04 2009 05:12 PM
kurt from Washington Heights

"hearts and minds"

oh please, just STOP trying to win these... and give this phrase a rest...

Jun. 01 2009 02:07 PM
stu in nyc

To # 65 who asks - "Actuality" Is that even a word?!!!

Actuality is a term used in radio for the recording of an news event. For example, the use of the tape during a news broadcast where Mayor Bloomberg calls the reporter a disgrace because the reporter asked about term limits is the use of an actuality.

Jun. 01 2009 11:40 AM
katie from urbandale,IA

my favor song i like to listen to is jame.k poke. p.s im bad at spelling.

Jun. 01 2009 07:17 AM
Aaron from Cleveland

First of all, I'm a huge TMBG fan. I have been for many years now. I hate any phrase that repeats itself. "It is what it is." "Boys will be boys." "What's done is done." Also, I don't like when people say "cool beans". I do, however enjoy 90's catchphrases like "Somebody stop me" and "groovy baby yeah". My wife doesn't, which is why I use them all the time.

May. 31 2009 03:18 PM
Connie from Westchester

all cliches...period!

May. 31 2009 12:32 PM
Ivo Bol from Amsterdam, The Netherlands

"like" is like...HORRIBLE! Why do Americans use this word all the time?!

May. 30 2009 04:48 PM

Why is the audio clip so short? I wanted to hear what Linnell had to say about Europeans who don't say wow.

May. 30 2009 03:37 PM
michael from South Orange

I'd add 'Uptick'

May. 29 2009 11:04 PM
Douglas Walker from Brooklyn

I never use any of the above, but
I still use expressions like
"cool" or "super" - are these
on the list?
Two 'earthy' expressions I'd ban:
"on the ground", adapted by journal-
ists from military use and, later,
by the general public.
"ground zero", inaccurately used to
describe the site of the terrorist at-
tacks here in NYC, as well as in-
sulting the memory of the
thousands who died at actual
'ground zeroes' in Hiroshima
and Nagasaki.

May. 29 2009 10:02 PM
Anonymous from Brooklyn

"I have to say, ..."

as in,

"I have to say, this cheeseburger is quite tasty."

You don't _have_ to say it, and if you do _have_ to say it, say it. But don't tell me about how you're compelled to do so.

May. 29 2009 09:39 PM
seth from Hoboken

Using the word "One" to say goodbye as in:

"Ok I'll talk to you later"

"Aight yo. One"

May. 29 2009 09:19 PM
Tracey McFarland from United States

The next person who doesn't want "to compare apples to oranges" gets it. Perhaps next time they could compare mangoes to kiwis while they're reinventing the wheel.

May. 29 2009 06:02 PM
squidward from upstate NY

As mentioned in a previous comment, the
noun to verb (as well as the verb to noun)
conversions in current use are more inane
than the multiple noun constructions of about a decade ago, using a slash in between (e.g.,
jails/prisons) in written communications.
Get a word!
Now, like Dennis said, I'm Outta Here!

May. 29 2009 04:29 PM
Stubean from Westchester

What's the dealio?

May. 29 2009 02:07 PM
B. from NYC

Something that needs to be seated in a context first.

Rappers talking about "haters" as a way to dodge the natural judgements about what boneheads they are.

May. 29 2009 01:37 PM
Stephanie from Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, NY, USA


May. 29 2009 01:15 PM
Stephanie from Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, NY, USA

it's all good

no worries


May. 29 2009 01:11 PM
Laraine Chaberski from Teaneck, NJ

I add my vote for banning at the end of the day.
the bottom line

stepping up to the plate

he or she has a full plate

window of opportunity

May. 29 2009 12:56 PM
Emma from Washington Heights

"Good job!" exclaimed too often in playgrounds to add unneeded praise that imposes parental approval into the simple fun the child is having.

Also, anything plus "nazi" like soup nazi, hair style nazi, etc.

May. 29 2009 12:33 PM
Office Worker from Fort Greene, Brooklyn

Some of the phrases that you people are objecting to are stalling devices that people use when they are struggling to connect their thoughts.

Not everybody is gifted at conversation and expressing themselves. I find many of your answers fairly disdainful of people who aren't particularly articulate. The inarticulate do what they can to communicate.

A lot of the other phrases nominated for destruction are either provincial or jargon. It's always sad to hear outsiders complain about insider speak. To them I'd say "build a bridge and get over it."

May. 29 2009 12:27 PM
Paige from Manhattan

I despise p.s. said to complete the telling of a story. So Long Island!

May. 29 2009 12:16 PM
Marnie from NYC

"Like" when used to tell a story. "he was like"

May. 29 2009 12:09 PM
Marnie from NYC

"like" when people use like all the time. I make an effort not to use that word when telling a story

May. 29 2009 12:03 PM
Carrie F. from Long Island, NY

People should stop converting nouns to made-up verbs.

For example - when Tyler Florence on the Food Network tells us he is going to "plate" the meal he just prepared (meaning to put it on a plate.)

May. 29 2009 12:03 PM
Richard from Ossining

"Bigot" and "homophobe" -- they're no substitute for real, respectful dialogue.

May. 29 2009 11:58 AM
Maria Richter from Brooklyn

"dialogue" as a verb
"impact" as a verb ("impacts")
"know what I'm sayin'?"
"promise," when one means "assure"
"no prob'"
"badda bing"

And, online: "lol" or "lmao." Internet-generated acronyms are so pervasive now that my kindergartener (who does not use chat rooms or frequent the internet) affixed a card to a Mother's Day gift that read: "MOM! xo lol" ("Mom! Hug, kiss, laugh out loud"!) I did, indeed, laugh. (In general though, I despise "lol;" it's akin to a sappy emoticon.)

May. 29 2009 11:58 AM
Tony Davis from Brooklyn, New York

John remarked that "banning" seemed Stalinist; perhaps we might consider "capping and trading." I for one, never got to use "no worries" and kind of like it.

May. 29 2009 11:55 AM
Alex p

I love this, BUT "It is what it is" doesn't deserve to be banned. It's a statement of the unpredictable, indescribable way of things -- of the fact of circumstance, of the Buddhist notion that we are made up to some extent of seemingly random events beyond our control -- and as such the phrase becomes an elegant expression not only of the fact of life, but of its own existence. And it's far from new: it's an idea as old as belief.

Very Spock.

"Bill and I have spent some time together, we have dinner periodically, and frankly, it's a subject that we avoid," Nimoy said. "It's not a fun subject right now. And I sympathize with him, because I was left out of the 'Next Generation' films. It is what it is.",0,5769627.story

May. 29 2009 11:55 AM
andrea from Manhattan

"Green", to describe anything even vaguely eco-friendly.

May. 29 2009 11:55 AM
Carrie F. from Long Island, NY

"Not for nothing, but...."

(What the heck does that phrase mean anyway?)

May. 29 2009 11:54 AM
Ben from Howell, NJ

People still use the word "like" in a Valley Girl-ish way. More troubling, one can use it at almost every point in a sentence.

"up-speak" annoys me. That's when someone makes a comment but raises the pitch of his/her voice to imply a question.

"Dude" needs to be banned too.

May. 29 2009 11:53 AM
Jennifer B. from Highland Park, NJ

One word I've been hearing on blogging sites a lot is "Recessionista" and it drives me crazy.

"Recessionista" should refer to our great-grandparents who survived the Great Depression while keeping their kids alive on pennies, not 20-somethings who are now being forced to buy their clothes off the clearance racks at Anthropologie.

May. 29 2009 11:51 AM
Edward from NJ

I was in a restaurant about a year or so ago. A woman at the next table was loudly explaining that she just heard the best expression. She just loved this new expression. It was so perfect! At this point I'm interested. What's this great phrase? I can't wait to hear. Come on lady, the whole restaurant wants to know: "It is what it is."

May. 29 2009 11:49 AM
Lisa from Upper West Side

BFF and frenemy. Buh-bye!

May. 29 2009 11:49 AM
Leslie Savan

At the risk of plugging my book, "Slam Dunks and No-Brainer: Pop Language in Your Life, the Media, and Like...Whatever," that's what I'm talkin' about--which is the phrase that is currently driving me nuts.

May. 29 2009 11:48 AM
Deb from Washington Heights

THE WAY WE LIVE NOW: 5-07-06: ON LANGUAGE; Tautophrases (William Safire, NYT)

It is what it is. This verbal shrugging-off was examined here recently as an example of the use of repetition not for emphasis but for evasion. I called it a tautophrase, a coinage bottomed on tautology, from the Greek for ''redundant.''...

The technique of superfluity can also reflect kindness and generosity: Let bygones be bygones is an adage -- not, of course, an ''old'' adage -- that led to a liberating ''Let Poland be Poland.'' ...

The most famous ''am'' tautophrase is not, as I had it, Popeye's ''I yam what I yam and that's all that I yam!'' Before that, Shakespeare had his Iago say '' I am not what I am.'' In 1611, seven years after he wrote ''Othello,'' the King James Version of the Bible was published. It contained this English translation of Exodus 3:14, quoting God's answer to Moses' request for source attribution at the burning bush: ''I am that I am.'' Subsequent translations of that puzzling phrase include ''I am who I am,'' ''I am what I am'' and ''I shall be as I shall be.'' The sentence is reprised in the New Testament in an epistle (that's a letter) of the apostle Paul, First Corinthians 15:10: ''But by the grace of God I am what I am.''

I announced proudly the finding of an early use of it is what it is dating to 1949. Comes now an ''Aha!'' from Jeffrey Apparius of e-mail-land with this epistle: ''It appears that it (it is, what it is) had also been used (with a comma) in the New York Times 'Topics of the Day' column of Sept. 20, 1851.'' Here it is: ''Whether it is just what it should have been in all its detail The Courier will not say; 'but it is, what it is, and cannot, without destroying it, be made otherwise.' '' Note that quote within a quote; it means that the saying originated before that. We will find it when we find it.

May. 29 2009 11:48 AM
Trevor from Nyc

"Step up to the plate" or any other sports reference. "Let's talk offline" while in a face to face meeting

May. 29 2009 11:46 AM
gaetano catelli from manhattan


"have a nice day."

"how's everything?"

May. 29 2009 11:45 AM
Adriana Gallegos from Staten ISland

"Thats so random".

May. 29 2009 11:45 AM
cathy from glen ridge, nj

1) metrics (as a way of measuring progress in business)!
2) main street vs. wall street!
3) shovel-ready!

May. 29 2009 11:45 AM
Matthew from Astoria

Is there a radio station somewhere with the call letters WTF?

May. 29 2009 11:45 AM
bas from brooklyn

Do NOT say "Kind of"
anymore. Mr Flansburgh.

May. 29 2009 11:45 AM
British and Better from NYC

" Carbon Footprint "

bitch please ...

May. 29 2009 11:45 AM
alan wiesenfeld from NYC

"no problem" and show me the money

May. 29 2009 11:45 AM
Angela from Brooklyn

Regarding one of the callers: "Talk to the hand" comes from the sitcom "Martin" (Martin Lawrence--who also gave us "You go girl!" and "Don't go there!"). He would put his hand in someone's face to stop them from speaking. It's a way of saying "shut up" or "I'm not listening to you."

May. 29 2009 11:45 AM
ba from UWS

Talk to the hand comes from "Talk to the hand, 'cause the face ain't going to listen"

May. 29 2009 11:44 AM
Shelly from new york

The word LIKE as a stutter.

May. 29 2009 11:44 AM
Mira from Oceanside


May. 29 2009 11:44 AM

"...because that's how we got into this mess"

May. 29 2009 11:44 AM
Mira from Oceanside

dog trainers have started using "talk to the paw" to describe dogs that blow u off in training

May. 29 2009 11:44 AM
Garrett from Brewster NY




May. 29 2009 11:44 AM
British and Better from NYC

" That is soooo FETCH '

May. 29 2009 11:44 AM
Susannah from Union Square


When a friend repeats a phrase like "By The Way" or something of that ilk ... before every phrase ...I turn it into a drinking for all

May. 29 2009 11:44 AM
chris wirnoff from glen cove

I Would ban

"That's what I'm talkin' about!"

May. 29 2009 11:43 AM
Sarah from ny, ny

"creative writing". (redundant) ;-)

May. 29 2009 11:43 AM
alan wiesenfeld from NYC

"no problem", esp. instead of you're welcome;
also "show me the money"

May. 29 2009 11:43 AM
Shelley from Queens

"the bottom line is..."

May. 29 2009 11:43 AM
Chris from brooklyn

going forward

May. 29 2009 11:43 AM
bethann from brooklyn

i've got 2:
"effing" - please, either say the swear word or not.
also, "ghetto". self explanatory i think.

May. 29 2009 11:43 AM
Richard from West Village

I love him/her to death

May. 29 2009 11:43 AM
Adrienne from Manhattan

The world will not miss "the devil's in the details."

My skin crawls when I hear "Not your father's (fill in the blank)______"

"No worries"-wise, in Australia, they sometimes say "no dramas," which I thought was quite funny.

May. 29 2009 11:43 AM
Megan from Brooklyn

I hate the expression "Not so much" to express disapproval of something.

May. 29 2009 11:42 AM
theresa from new rochelle

I loathe 24/7.

May. 29 2009 11:42 AM

i hate "as well too"- how is this even a part of speaking English?

May. 29 2009 11:42 AM
stjohn from manhattan

For a certain time - unfortunately - the simple word 'like' has to be banned in all it's definitions due to it's abuse.
At the same time 'you know' should be temporarily banned.
A sentence like 'He, you know, like, never, like even, you know, liked her." could be 'He was never fond of her'

May. 29 2009 11:42 AM
Tracey Mitchell from Washington, DC

"Right On!" ARGH!

May. 29 2009 11:42 AM

IRW... in the real world

May. 29 2009 11:42 AM
Laurie Doig from Stamford

"on the same page"

May. 29 2009 11:42 AM
josh from brooklyn


Can't we just be active anymore?

May. 29 2009 11:42 AM
Megan from NY, NY

"Long story, short"
"Long story, longer"

please get rid of both. i can't even figure out how to correctly use punctuation for that...

May. 29 2009 11:42 AM
Jennifer from NYC

and at work - ppl always say - "re-look at" - horifying!

May. 29 2009 11:42 AM
Beatrice from Upper Saddle River

People who say "so, the Reader's Digest version is" AFTER they give you their extended Encyclopedia Britannica version!

May. 29 2009 11:42 AM
Jeanette from Manhattan

"touch base"

May. 29 2009 11:41 AM
British and Better from NYC

White American Guys Calling each Other:



May. 29 2009 11:41 AM
maw from nyc

If it's not already been mentioned, and I can't imagine it hasn't, how about: "it is what it is." A guy in my office used to say it all the time, and every time, I wanted to knock him out. How defeatist!

May. 29 2009 11:41 AM
Bob Shamis from Brooklyn


May. 29 2009 11:40 AM
andy from bkln

sorry brian - I'm tired of "drill down" - it sounds like boosterism for big oil

May. 29 2009 11:40 AM
Jennifer from NYC

I hate "on the same page"

and - "it is what it is"

May. 29 2009 11:40 AM
Steve (the other one) from Manhattan

Robust. Enough already.

May. 29 2009 11:40 AM
paul colin from TRIBECA

"That said"

May. 29 2009 11:40 AM
Kate from NYC

"this, that, and the other thing"

May. 29 2009 11:40 AM
brian boucher from new york

"sugar rush"

May. 29 2009 11:40 AM


and "let's take it to the next level."

please, make it stop!

May. 29 2009 11:40 AM
rj from brooklyn

impact where affect is perfectly good (impact only for extremes)


May. 29 2009 11:39 AM
MichaelB from Morningside Heights

Ban "cool"!

May. 29 2009 11:39 AM
Laurel Masse from Manhattan

Not a problem.
Have a good one.

May. 29 2009 11:39 AM
Allison from Brooklyn

Also "last and final." So redundant...used to be like third and final...

May. 29 2009 11:39 AM
cathy from glen ridge, nj

1) "shovel ready"
2) "metrics' as a way of measuring workplace progress -- when did everyone start using that stupic word?
3) "main street/wall street"

May. 29 2009 11:39 AM
Michael from Brooklyn

I have three candidates:

- Multitasking
- Back in the day (what day? does anyone know?)
- 24/7

All three of these suck (which should also be banned)

May. 29 2009 11:39 AM
Sue from brooklyn

I am tired of "It is what it is"

May. 29 2009 11:38 AM
Eva Zelig from Brooklyn

Ban: "No problem" in response to "thank you." You are welcome would be appreciated.

Ban: The straw that broke the camel's back. Corny!!!

May. 29 2009 11:38 AM
John Tucker from Park Slope


That's just wrong.

On some level....

May. 29 2009 11:37 AM
informed citizen from NYC

"no worries"

this is SO annoying!

May. 29 2009 11:37 AM
Harris from Harlem

"You working hard or hardly working"

May. 29 2009 11:37 AM

"Actuality" Is that even a word?!!!

May. 29 2009 11:36 AM

"In these tough economic times."

And I second banning "amazing." Especially when pronounced as "a-MAAAAAAAAAYYYYYY-zing."

May. 29 2009 11:36 AM
Allison from Brooklyn

Dick Cheney.

May. 29 2009 11:35 AM
Lennie Florescue from Manhattan

[something] "may or may not be"

pretty much covers everything and says nothing

May. 29 2009 11:35 AM
Jack from Brooklyn

Grok. Don't ever using the word grok

May. 29 2009 11:34 AM
Kristin Stranc from Brooklyn

I never had a problem with it before the 2008 election, but I just can't hear the word "maverick" anymore. It's like nails on a chalk board.

May. 29 2009 11:34 AM
Sam Tilden Goofus from Airmont, NY

Most Important!

"So, ..."
"I mean, ..."
"If you will"
"At first blush"
"At the end of the day"
Anything to do with "the table," on or off.

Run these up the flagpole and see if anyone salutes!

May. 29 2009 11:34 AM
Christine from NYC

Ban "My bad" especially by an adult!

May. 29 2009 11:33 AM
Martha from Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey

Let's ban "back in the day" ......... from anyone, but especially from someone who hasn't lived long enough to have a "back in the day."

May. 29 2009 11:33 AM
Daniel Perez from Brooklyn


..this has to be the most casually over-used word I can think of.

"This pasta is AMAZING!" Really? You are actually amazed by the pasta?
"Those shoes are AMAZING!" No kidding?

Maybe people are just more easily amazed these days. Seriously, next party count how many times you hear the word.

Runner-up: "B-T-Dubs" (for BTW)

May. 29 2009 11:33 AM
Marcia from Inwood

Anything that shortens a beautiful sound to a blunt one: Guantanamo becomes Gitmo; Alex Rodriguez becomes A-rod…are we really too lazy to say an extra syllable or two?

May. 29 2009 11:32 AM
paulb from Brooklyn


A pseudo-scientific all purpose nothing. Used everywhere from lazy radio reporters to advocates believing that by using the term they inhabit the high moral ground. I can't go a day listening to the radio without hearing it several times. Mostly I don't think it's used with any idea of whether it's accurate in the context or not.

May. 29 2009 11:32 AM
Sarah from Manhattan

"Impact" is used too frequently in business. I think people use it because they don't know the difference between "effect" and "affect." Meteors have impact not changes in corporate philosophy.

Incentivise - it's not a word
Hopefully - almost always used incorrectly

May. 29 2009 11:32 AM
Peter schon from Manhattan

Ban, "i'm just sayin" and "boots on the ground"

May. 29 2009 11:31 AM
Lou Storey from United States

People (especially on television, not so much on radio) punctuate their sentences with the phrase “you know.” Sometimes it can be used multiple times in one sentence. When that happens I find myself counting the “you knows” and losing track of what is being said.

May. 29 2009 11:31 AM
Ellen O'Brien from Old Bridge, NJ

Amazing! Applied to almost anything. "It's not that big (good, bad, etc.) of a deal. Get rid of the "of'.

May. 29 2009 11:31 AM
psd from brooklyn


Short for 'I Love You.' If you really love someone, can't you take enough time to say "I love you." Really, it's only one extra syllable.

May. 29 2009 11:31 AM
Simone Hannah-Clark from Park Slope, Brooklyn

If I believed in censorship I would have the term "baby mama" banned!

May. 29 2009 11:30 AM
Tim Goldman from Jackson Heights, Queens

"Pushing the Envelope"
"Thinking Outside the Box"

May. 29 2009 11:30 AM
Alberta Handelman from Bloomfield, NJ

Ban the use of the word "race" as it is not biologically meaningful yet perpetuates the idea that there are absolute group-specific character traits. Along with the word "race," ban the use of "they" and "them" when speaking of any group, for these words are nonsensical -- unless one means what is true for all human beings, without exception -- e.g. "They all breathe and they all die."

Alberta Handelman
Bloomfield, NJ
WNPR Member since 1997

May. 29 2009 11:29 AM
Peter Kennard from dumbo brooklyn

very (absolute unique thing)

very full
very universal
very completed
very unique
very singular
very perfect

there is
highly astoundignly amazingly quite completely remrkably etc etc.

May. 29 2009 11:29 AM
Mira from Oceanside

it's all good (when it's really not!)

how are you? ( when you really don't care about the answer)

May. 29 2009 11:29 AM
Bob Iverson from Cliffwood Beach, NJ

Impactful...ugh, over reaching at its worst.

May. 29 2009 11:29 AM
Peter from Manhattan

"In these dangerous times" as well as any other expression of hysteria and paranoia.

May. 29 2009 11:29 AM
Douglas Dunn

Not to be said:

The word "area"

following a noun

May. 29 2009 11:29 AM
Mickey from Manhattan


Five syllables to replace two perfectly servicable terms of three syllables each;
"All the Time" and "Constantly"

May. 29 2009 11:29 AM
michael bardin from brooklyn

moratorium on superlatives, especially "incedibly":

"incredibly healthy"
"worked incredibly hard"


if it's not credible, than perhaps it should not be alleged...?

May. 29 2009 11:29 AM
Amy T from Long Island

I would love to lose what seems to me a relatively new locution:
"That's what I'm talking about!"
used solely to agree with something someone else has said, and the user has not in fact talked about whatever "that" is him- or herself.

May. 29 2009 11:29 AM
Niv from Maplewood, NJ

"agree to agree"

May. 29 2009 11:28 AM
altokid from Glen Cove

I know what's banned in the TMBG's "van": Are we there yet?

May. 29 2009 11:28 AM
Douglas Dunn

Not to be said:

The word "area"
when it follows a noun.

May. 29 2009 11:28 AM
STJOHN from Manhattan

Unfortunately, 'like' has to have a period of being banned in all it's definitions due to it's abuse. Also banning 'You know' at the same time would get us back to normal sentences!

May. 29 2009 11:28 AM
sam artman from NYC


May. 29 2009 11:28 AM
Judith Targove from Highland Park, NJ

Omit "whatever" from speech when used to respond dismissively to something that has just been said.

"Contributions to public radio are necessary if we are to have intelligent broadcasting."


May. 29 2009 11:28 AM
Maria from NYC

I heart....anything

May. 29 2009 11:27 AM
peter from crown heights the end of the day. Used to mean, when the issue being discussed has run its course.

in a sentence:

We're excited about the proactive synergy of our company's massively leveraged, pro-consumer life-hack, but at the end of the day, does it get us women?

May. 29 2009 11:27 AM
Daniel W. from Jackson Heights

Sorry, but the word literally has got to go--or at least be put on serious probation. Specifically in the following formulation:

Mr. X wrote the book on topic Y, literally.

And while we're at it, the following deserves banishment as well:

A quick Google search reveals . . .

Still waiting to hear the results of all those slow Google searches.

May. 29 2009 11:27 AM
andrea hudson from Manhattan

Irregardless. Not a word, regardless of what other people have told you.

May. 29 2009 11:27 AM
Angela from Brooklyn

"Bling" (the actual cool people moved on from this about 7 years ago)

and I wish white people would stop forcing themselves to say "Fiddy" when mentioning "50 Cent." It really is okay to pronounce it "Fifty"! (on the off chance you have to reference him at all)

May. 29 2009 11:27 AM
gaetano catelli from manhattan

"mafia" (when used as a metaphor, rather than a reference to the actual mafia).

May. 29 2009 11:27 AM
Harris from Harlem




Come on people, they are even words!

May. 29 2009 11:27 AM
clark from Brooklyn

Anything ending with "the internets" or "the interwebs"

May. 29 2009 11:27 AM
Hank from Brooklyn

" Its all good '

May. 29 2009 11:26 AM
David Karlsruher from Short Hills NJ

24-7 drives me nuts.

May. 29 2009 11:25 AM
Jan from Hoboken

If I hear "same ol' same ol'" again I'll scream!

May. 29 2009 11:25 AM
Jenn from South Bound Brook NJ

"No offense, but..." sort of like "With all due respect", as mentioned above. It excuses the speaker from seeming rude while criticizing but also exposes them as a complete coward!

May. 29 2009 11:25 AM
kbinps from park slope

Dude is number one. Rock as in "rock that dress", baby bump, drop as in "my new CD drops", and two that Brian uses- shout out, and unpack. Oh and tweet.

May. 29 2009 11:25 AM
Ellen from Brooklyn

"how the sausage is made"
"thrown under a bus"

These two started being applied to everything in the news one week! Everything was a sausage factory! From democracy to the media!

I actually kind of like it, but it exploded with overuse.

May. 29 2009 11:24 AM
Moshe Feder from Flushing, NY

"Hone in on." Drives me crazy.

Also, "Intergalactic" for any movie or TV story taking place in space. It's ALWAYS wrong. (The galaxies are way too far apart.) They mean "interplanetary" or "interstellar." The Times gets this wrong constantly!

May. 29 2009 11:24 AM
John Clark from Wantagh

Oh My G, er... where do I begin, irregardless of whether or not I could care less about these expressions...

How about anything that contradicts itself:
"If the team wins tonight then they can control their own destiny"

Excuse me, if they "control" it, then it's not "destiny"

And how about the "walk the talk" all over the place - ?
You Walk The Walk, or else the "talk" is meaningless...

Hey, did Mr. Lopate weigh in on this? I think Ms. Patricia McCann can assist us... ya think?

Hey not my prob!

May. 29 2009 11:23 AM
Claire from White Plains, NY

"Oh, my God". A phrase that seems to be used by everyone, believers or not.

May. 29 2009 11:23 AM
Leo in Staten Island from Staten Island

"Pledge Drive"

May. 29 2009 11:22 AM
Caitlin from Jersey City


May. 29 2009 10:40 AM
Mike from Tarrytown

"Doubleyoo-tee-eff" and "Oh-em-gee"

May. 29 2009 10:25 AM
melanie from Sometimes CT; sometimes NYC

"Meanwhile" any time it is used by news people:

"A Taliban bomb killed 50 people in Lahore. Meanwhile, the Dow dropped 120 points."

May. 29 2009 10:25 AM
Sue LaCasse from brooklyn

Back in the day

May. 29 2009 10:18 AM
Ralph Berliner from Manhattan

I have only three words to add to the list:




May. 29 2009 10:05 AM
Luciane Maia from Brooklyn

"It's not my job!" such an excuse!

By the way, I'm an architect who used to work with Earl Flansburgh (Jonh's father) back in Boston. Earl would never say that!

May. 29 2009 10:03 AM
Peter from Sunset Park

"With all due respect."

Any statement starting this way means the exact opposite.

May. 29 2009 09:56 AM
Peter from Sunset Park

“What happened?”

In Sunset Park, when someone doesn’t understand you, they might say “What happened?” instead of, “Could you say that again?” Drives me nuts.

It would be fun if you asked John and John what music they are listening to and what music has inspired them over the years.

May. 29 2009 09:55 AM
serge from NYC

"Its a no-brainer" should be banned from the lexicon.
It's usually used by people with no-brains to begin with looking for an easy way out.

May. 29 2009 09:45 AM
Katharine from NYC

At the end of the day....


May. 29 2009 09:44 AM
kim from nyc

Using the "f" as an adjective or a filler word. I hear this constantly walking along the streets of NYC. "She f-in went to the f-in store and got some f-in, you know, burger buns." or "I f-in needs some f-in coffee. F!"

You know what the f I mean.

May. 29 2009 09:40 AM
mark from New York

"Oh my god!" by any girl between the ages of 9 and 17.

May. 29 2009 09:19 AM

My sole suggestion:

"Dow 36,000!"

"Dow 36,000" was a book by James Glassman and Kevin Hassett back in the late 1990's; it predicted the Dow would hit 36,000 in the space of a few short years.

I should have every hope that the title haunts them, but I instead have every certainty that nothing haunts people who can write a book called "Dow 36,000".

Maybe if they took a zero off the end, we could make it.

In a perfect world, Glassman and Hassett will end up homeless in Central Park, condemned to shouting "Dow 36,000!" to disinterested passersby.

May. 29 2009 03:28 AM

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