Phrases That Clang in My Ear
You’ve all experienced it. A phrase enters the world. You become dimly aware of it. You start hearing it more frequently. Soon it seems that everyone is using it. And it begins to clang in your ear, like an old cowbell or a rusty tin can. Here are some phrases that clang in mine.
Sooner rather than later
Why not say “Longer rather than shorter” or “Better rather than worse”?
Suggestion: How about just “Soon”?
In real time
On the ground
We spend so much time in virtual reality, we now feel the need to tell people when we’re discussing real reality.
Suggestion: Drop these. Unless noted, time is real and life is on the ground.
How do prepositions become linked to verbs? I get bored with some things and excited about others; but my daughter gets bored of some things and excited for others. (Of course, our lists are quite different.) Where did these prepositions come from, and why?
Suggestion: None in particular. Just wondering.
This too appears to be generational, or maybe regional. When we moved from L.A. to Nashville, we noticed that people said Hey instead of Hi. Now everyone seems to say it—friends, clerks, radio hosts. I often use it myself. It feels more informal somehow. Not sure if that’s good or bad, but sometimes it clangs in my ear.
Suggestion: You’re on your own.
The category is responses to Thank you. I’ve noticed two rounds of changes. For a while the response was Thank you, as if to assure the speaker that, by God, I’m as thankful as you are. Apparently that didn’t work, because now people—waiters most egregiously—have started responding with Of course! Maybe I’m just paranoid, but along with that phrase I always hear the unspoken words ...you idiot. As in, I can’t believe you even said that.
Suggestion: You’re welcome.