Saturday, January 5, 2013

Email's most irritating words

What's your most irritating expression? Just released is a book called Damp Squid, written by Jeremy Butterfield. Researchers at Oxford University recently compiled a list of the top ten most irritating phrases. This list is very useful to business writers and almost any non-personal email writer because authors certainly want to avoid using them, and they illustrate the morphing nature of language. The researchers who compiled the list monitor the use of phrases in a massive language database called the Oxford University Corpus, which comprises books, papers, magazines, broadcast, the internet, and other sources. The database alerts the researchers to new words and phrases, and can tell them which expressions are disappearing, or being over used so much they have become irritating to hear or read. If you do not see one of yours below, please suggest your own. We have expanded on these to total 39 most irritating phrases:

1. At the end of the day
2. Fairly unique
3. I personally
4. At this moment in time
5. With all due respect
6. Absolutely
7. It's a nightmare
8. Shouldn't of
9. 24/7
10. It's not rocket science
11. Very unique (related to #3)
12. It's not brain surgery (related to #10)
13. Perfect (related to #6)
14. No problem
15. For sure
16. FYI
17. ASAP
18. To tell the truth
19. You have caught me away
20. No way
21. Out of the box
22. Ergonomically
23. My bad
24. Not to worry
25. No worries
26. In my humble opinion - IMHO
27. Dude!
28. Swell
29. Right on!
30. Yeah!
31. Pursuant
32. As per our discussion
33. Alright - not a word - use all right
34. Should of
35. With all due respect
36. KISS (Keep it simple stupid)
37. Hit (visit)
38. Distro (Distribution list)
Answer to the last blog's quiz: According to, what is the average size of an email?

1.) 25k
2.) 50k
3.) 75k
4.) 250k
5.) 500+k

The correct answer is number three, 75k.

Today's quiz: How many characters can typically be displayed in an email subject line?

a. 25 – 35 characters.
b. 25 – 35 words.
c. 50 – 75 characters.
d. 50 – 75 words.
e. none of the above

Answers will appear in the next blog.