Sunday Rants: What are you saying??

Sayings, expressions, phrases. Oh my, what on earth is the point of these. Our language is full of them now and even if you don’t want to, you find yourself using them.

I am of course talking about phrases such as ‘at the end of the day’, ‘chock-a-block’, ‘break a leg’ and ‘Don’t count your chickens before they are hatched’. Some of these are some of the most infuriating things to hear, yet they make their way firmly into everyday conversation about any topic.

Take ‘at the end of the day’. The majority of the time you don’t intend to do what you’re saying at the end of the day, so why would you say it? And I’ll be honest, I’m guilty of using this one quite frequently. I hate it when I do, but it seems to be one of those things that has just been accepted. It’s a saying to use when you can’t be bothered to think of anything in a conversation. A lazy option.

And people extend this laziness to try and make themselves seem clever, often preceded withe words ‘you know what they say’. How many times have you heard the quote ‘love is blind’? What about ‘ignorance is bliss’. Or maybe you’re more familiar with the horribly quoted ‘money makes the world go round’. No it doesn’t, not literally, now stop trying to sound all smart and actually use you brain to come up with some proper conversation!

But phrases like this are nothing more than annoying. At least they make sense in a matter of speaking (another annoying one). But then come the ones that are just complete nonsense.

‘Chock-a-block’, ‘mind your P’s and Q’s’, ‘Horses for courses’. What are you talking about. Please speak English.

Admittedly, these phrases do have original meanings (many of which you can look up at this website I found during research for this rant), but they’re so diluted that they barely make any sense.

Take ‘mind your P’s and Q’s. I’ve always believed that his comes from the time when beverages in public houses came in Pints and quater-pints (quarts). If the publicans started to get a bit rowdy, the landlord would ask them to mind their pints and quarts – p’s and q’s. But by consulting the world wide web you discover that no-one actually knows the true origin and there are many theories. So we’re using phrases that no-one actually nows the true meaning of… right.

And if that wasn’t bad enough, we also use countless French and Latin phrases such as: ‘En route’, ‘Faux pas’, ‘Ad hoc’ and ‘Status quo’. Flippin’ heck, our own language is confusing enough, we hardly need to add foreign lexicon to the list!

I suppose when you look into it, some of these sayings can be quite quaint and charming. They are a quirk of English language and one of the things which makes it unique. However, they can be annoying and are – lets face it – a lazy way of saying what you want to think, whilst sounding ever-so-slightly fancy at the same time.

It’s not that I can’t stand them (as I mentioned, I’m a criminal offender when it comes to using them), but it would be nice if it could be toned down a bit. Lets communicate using a range of our fantastic, original, extravagant, remarkable, extraordinary and downright marvelous language and avoid the lazy sayings.

At the end of the day… damn!

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3 Responses to Sunday Rants: What are you saying??

  1. I agree that to hear hackneyed phrases repeated over and over again is oh so boring but I also think that these expressions have meaning and still have yardage (do you like that one?).

    If people don’t know the root of an expression, they can find out. Let me help you. Ps and Qs is not about pints and quarts, it’s about Please and Thank you (ThanQu) – being polite.

    And please don’t fret about foreign words into “English”. English is full of words that originated from other languages – French, Latin, Danish, German, Arabic, to name a few. For example, the good solid English words ‘beef’ and ‘admiral came from French and Arabic respectively. Without ‘foreign’ words, there would be little left of modern “English”.

    I hope you feel better after getting that off your chest. 🙂 It’s an interesting topic.

    • chrisbheath says:

      It certainly is! In fact this is the first time I’ve written a rant, come to the end of it and actually had quite an appreciation of the subject involved.

      But as I said, they can be fascinating, can be downright frustrating!

      Thanks for your input!

  2. […] It annoys me slightly that the title of this weeks rant is a ‘saying’ after last weeks argument to do away with them, but it is perhaps the simplest way to sum up how I feel on this matter. […]

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