The Millions is a Little Irritating

November 13, 2008 | 1 book mentioned 2 2 min read

I was looking at the list of “Top 10 Most Irritating Expressions in the English language,” which was linked to in our recent Curiosities installment (and which is culled from a new book, A Damp Squid: The English Language Laid Bare), and a thought occurred to me. The Millions has been around for nearly six years. Over our exactly 1,800 posts (not including this one), just how annoying have we been?

Hoping for the best, but fearing the worst, I performed some searches. Here’s what I found:

  • At the end of the day – We’ve used this clunker just three times, including way back in 2004 when it crept into a post called “Books of the Boom“. In my defense, I was referring to an actual day, and not the hypothetical one that is the target of those Oxford wordsmiths’ ire.
  • Fairly unique – I’d never thought about it, but that is a fairly silly phrase. Thankfully, we’ve never used it at The Millions.
  • I personally – Another redundancy, and this time I am guilty. I’ve used it twice, though not since 2004 when it crept into this roundup. I blame Kakutani.
  • At this moment in time – That one hurts my ears, and indeed it has thankfully never made it into print at The Millions.
  • With all due respect – A classic, used but once in 1,800 posts. The guilty party is Garth who was clearly struck briefly mad by a slight against his beloved Bolaño.
  • Absolutely – This one, in that it is not a phrase, strikes me as a bit unfair, pernicious as this adverb may be. We’ve used it 41 times over the years, and I feel absolutely no guilt about that.
  • It’s a nightmare – No nightmares here.
  • Shouldn’t of – That’s just bad grammar, and we’ve never used it. Phrases like that keep us up at night.
  • 24/7 – We’ve used this one twice. Contributor emeritus Patrick gets a pass because he used it as part of this phrase: “24/7 mingle mode.” I can think of no better way to describe BEA in LA.
  • It’s not rocket science – we’ve never used this one, but “rocket science” was used in one of my all-time favorite Millions posts, Andrew’s “Distinguished in a David Niven Mustache.”

created The Millions and is its publisher. He and his family live in New Jersey.


  1. At this moment in time, I personally want to defend "with all due respect," which absolutely doesn't belong on this list. In comparison with its brethren, which are collectively a nightmare, this phrase is fairly unique. To wit: hile most of these phrases are empty filler, "with all due respect" is classically ironic, in that it's generally used to mean, "I don't respect your opinion at all, but will pretend to." I know, I know, I probably still shouldn't of used it, but this is blogging, not rocket science, and I'm going to keep on keeping on, 24/7, because at the end of the day…it is what it is.

  2. @Garth Risk Hallberg: lol. brilliant. And I agree about "with all due respect." However, when one is at the receiving end of it, it's completely annoying.

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