Don't Say That, Literally

Wednesday, July 01, 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 [29]

Camille from Radovljica, Slovenia

I really hate when people say something is "old school". what does that mean? when does the old school start and the new school begin?

- "right on"
- "on the same page"
- "developing countries" (what are they developing into? when will we know when they get there? the term is just codified term meaning places where colored people come from)
- "eastern europe" (this term gets bandied about to refer to anything west of france. it's just been abused and means nothing any more)

also, i guess it's too much to ask that people stop saying things are "so cute", but i have hated it for a long time (though i am occasionally guilty of using it)

Jul. 02 2009 04:47 AM
jane stein from new rochelle, new york

Let's eliminate AWESOME. My grandchildren use it all the time. I can't stand it!

Jul. 01 2009 05:46 PM
Barry Leiba from Cortlandt Manor, NY

JB @ #7: Worse, to me, than "It's all good," is "It's goodness," meaning "It's a good thing." People at IBM use that all the time, and I find it horrid. "If we can win in the marketplace, that's goodness."

Jul. 01 2009 01:47 PM
Jerre Jeanne from way north of the city

Another of my favorites & often said on talk shows: Thanks for having me (was the speaker the main course, side dish, or, perhaps, a yummy dessert?)

Jul. 01 2009 01:35 PM
Jerre Jeanne from way north of the city

How are you? "I'm good" like fingernails on a chalkboard. (I'm feeling well!!)

Level playing field

On the same page

Let's dialogue

Jul. 01 2009 01:21 PM
Cyndy from Rosemont, NJ

Empower. Another term used by those who latch onto the latest catch-phrase. They're usually NOT empowered, and the ones who are don't feel the need to use that word.

Jul. 01 2009 01:13 PM
veal ham from melville, ny

Oh, one more: "At the end of the day". What an idiotic idiom. Whenever someone starts a sentence with "At the end of the day," I jump in and say "sunset."

Jul. 01 2009 01:08 PM
veal ham from melville, ny

I love "The Takeaway" show but the phrase is already as dated as "groovy". What I take away from the show is that you'll soon have to change its name, i.e., if you want to remain groovy.

Jul. 01 2009 01:00 PM
Margarita Reyes from New York City, Midtown

the phrase "get out????" obviously, its meaning is one is surprised, and the topic at hand, is news... but it sounds so uneducated...
oh my! or are you serious? what?!! or simply something else that does not imply one is 12 years old....

Jul. 01 2009 12:43 PM
tom from nyc

oh my gosh, i'm like afraid to talk now. amazing that like has not only endured in speech but has now like crept into my emails and texts and letters. ugh. sorry.

Jul. 01 2009 12:21 PM
Eleni from NYC

I teach HS and stupidly liked to believe that i invented
the term: "Crackberry"

I hate any expressions used in "therapy" ie.:

"here's my piece I'm bringing to the table..."
--I hate this term because it triggers a pavolvian reflex to expect dessert or a piece of chocolate

The mantra at my school WAS....
"doing our best" --most often than not, we weren't.

"we need to have that conversation" -- an ultra serious dialogue cloaked in socializing-- but in a stupid office. Its never at a Starbucks w/coffee & a teacake

Jul. 01 2009 12:18 PM
Edward from Washington Heights aka pretentious Hudson Heights

Comment #1 from karen

"Besides, what happens if you're in the US and your 'soulmate' is living in, say, Argentina???"

As Governor Mark Sanford likes to say...


Jul. 01 2009 12:07 PM
Sonia Jaffe Robbins from Manhattan

"That said" -- a totally meaningless transition phrase, which can usually be dropped. And what's wrong with "However"?

"seemingly" -- which seemingly appears in seemingly every news or magazine story I read

Jul. 01 2009 12:03 PM
Edward from Washington Heights aka pretentious Hudson Heights

Comment #1 from karen

"Besides, what happens if you're in the US and your 'soulmate' is living in, say, Argentina???"

Governor Mark Sanford knows what to do.

Jul. 01 2009 12:03 PM
Kate from NYC

"in harm's way"

Jul. 01 2009 12:02 PM
Meredith from New Jersey

"that's legit"...ugh so horrible!

Jul. 01 2009 12:01 PM
BB from Brooklyn

'Whatnot' makes my skin crawl.

Jul. 01 2009 11:59 AM
Eleni from NYC

How about:
"I can't wrap my head around..." --actually I'd like to see that in action physically

" We/I need to unpack the ____..."

"Crackberry": I teach HS I & stupidly thought I invented this word

Jul. 01 2009 11:58 AM
John from Bklyn

Referring to EVERYTHING as "amazing"

If everything is amazing, then NOTHING is.

Jul. 01 2009 11:57 AM
Ian McLaughlin from Brooklyn NY

"these ones"

Jul. 01 2009 11:55 AM

I'm sick of hearing 'what is the takeaway?' or 'the takeaway from this is.....'

I seem to hear that a LOT on NPR.

Jul. 01 2009 11:54 AM
Edward from Washington Heights aka pretentious Hudson Heights


"The King of Pop"

I HATE Americans using the Britishism "spot on".

Jul. 01 2009 11:54 AM
JB from Brooklyn Heights

It's all good. Yuk.

Jul. 01 2009 11:52 AM
George from Bay Ridge

FML, an acronym and text speak.

Jul. 01 2009 11:34 AM
Seth from Upper West Side

No worries!


Jul. 01 2009 11:12 AM
Lindsay from NYC

Most irritating work phrases:

• on my/your radar
• fleshed out (often misspelled flushed)
• capacity (when used to describe if someone can do more or less work)

Jul. 01 2009 10:40 AM
Gabrielle from Brooklyn

Cheers - if you aren't european. this drives me nuts when americans say it.

and, unpack, as in "can you unpack the situation for us?" i used to like it but now find it overused... sounds lofty to me now.

Jul. 01 2009 09:43 AM
Gabrielle from Brooklyn

i used to like the term "unpack" as in "can you unpack the situation for us?" and now i just find it overused.

Jul. 01 2009 09:39 AM
karen from nj

SOULMATE! A huge red flag that the relationship is doomed. It is extremely emotionally immature to believe that there is only ONE person for you in the whole world or that love doesn't need to be nutured or worked at, it just miraculously appears. Besides, what happens if you're in the US and your 'soulmate' is living in, say, Argentina???

Jul. 01 2009 09:10 AM

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