Byline: PHILIP NORMAN
WHETHER it's a meaningless Americanism or sloppy speech, we are all confronted daily by words and phrases that provoke or anger us. Here, PHILIP NORMAN lists his 50 pet hates...
We are no longer men or women, or ladies and gentlemen: we are all 'guys'. Like most infuriating words and phrases, this comes from the U.S., mainly through the dippy-matey atmosphere of TV's Friends, though 'You guys' from restaurant staff or shop assistants can be a little too haughty i.e. 'I'm as good as you are, so don't expect me to show any respect or, Heaven forbid, call you Sir or Madam.' 2Issues.
What people now have where before they were simply aggressive or antisocial -- like the man said to have 'behaviour issues' who wrecked a polling booth during the last general election.
3 The thing is, is. Used even by otherwise articulate speakers. Seems based on belief that 'the thing is' is a self-contained phrase requiring a verb after it.
4 Hello? Often followed by: 'Is anybody home?' Most irritating -- and counterproductive -- way of trying to get someone's attention.
5You all right there? Now used by shop staff in place of 'Can I help you?' 6I'm good. No longer means 'I am virtuous', but 'I'm very well'. (The 'thank you' that used to follow has disappeared.) 7Can I get. Has replaced 'Please may I have', especially in coffee joints. ('Can I get a soya-milk skinny latte?') 8Look at you! Used by 'experts' on TV makeover shows to express insincere admiration when a participant loses 5st or tries on some terrible new outfit.
Widely used in company names for things that ought not to be a problem.
10 'OK' has replaced 'I see' as people take in what you're telling them, but adds an air of tolerant amusement as if they're humouring some lunatic.
11When you are finished.
Used on automated phone-message services (usually followed by the surprising information 'You can hang up').
Self-dramatising metaphor for any experience (excepting actual travel) from a Z-list celebrity's time on a TV reality show to Barack Obama's life.
Or take a chill pill. Favourite of manic teenagers to provoke perfectly reasonable parents.
14 The Beautiful Game. Bizarrely regarded by millions as a soaringly poetic definition of football.
15How sad is that? Or from annoying TV cooks: 'How hard is that?' If they're so clever, why don't they know how sad/hard it is? 16 Fess up. Abbreviation of 'confess', utterly pointless, as it has the same number of syllables.
17A happy bunny. What some people are so fond of telling you they're not.
18 For me. As in 'sign this for me' from some bored official behind a counter, implying you are doing them a special favour.
19Do you need a bag? Shop checkout staff 's automatic question to customers with numerous purchases and no way of carrying them. 'Need' rather than 'want' implies: 'This is your last chance to reconsider before ruining the environment.' 20 Deliver.
What suppliers of everything now aim to do -- logical if it's milk, surreal if it's health services.
21 A game of two halves.
Standby of football commentators. Don't halves generally come in twos? 22I want this so, so much.
Mantra of every tearstained contestant in TV talent shows.
As in 'all right' or 'that's good'. Should be banned from anyone over the age of 30.
24Lovely jubbly. Used by those who identify with Del Boy …