“You’re gonna need a bigger room.”

It’s official. I’m never going to be a guest on the BBC’s Room 101.

Clearly, I was never going to meet the key requirement for making it on to the show (i.e. being famous). But I only discovered recently that the programme isn’t being recommissioned anyway.

So – what to do with my list of things I’d love to banish forever? Why, dear reader, I thought I’d share it with you here.

Yes, this is meant to be a blog about language. But it turns out that the majority of my bêtes noires are language-related.

(Those that aren’t: ‘gritty’ TV dramas; news reporters who shout never-answered questions at politicians across the street; the incidental music in Great British Menu; sprouts; dressing up for World Book Day; whooping and cheering in the middle of a performance by a singer; Ipswich.)

Let’s take a look at my non-exhaustive* catalogue of linguistic tics that get on my wick. (*I’ll almost certainly think of more as soon as I hit the ‘publish’ button, so I reserve the right to add more later.)

People who say ‘I work hard and I play hard’. (An infallible d***head indicator. I once remarked as much at an agency I worked at, only for someone to volunteer the information that they’d said this about themselves at their job interview. I’m still not sure whether this reflects worse on them, or on the person who gave them the job.)

People who say ‘I’m living my best life’. (See above)

People who say ‘I ain’t gonna lie…’ (Why, are you saying that you would usually lie, but for once you’re making an exception?)

People who say ‘No disrespect…’ (Immediately before being utterly disrespectful.)

People who say ‘Crimbo’ and ‘Holibobs’. (Ugh.)

People who say ‘rock up’ when they mean ‘arrive’. (Usually the same people who offer to ‘hop on’ a call.)

People who say ‘mischevious’ instead of ‘mischievous’.

People who say ‘disinterested’ when they mean ‘uninterested’. (I inherited this dislike from my old English teacher.)

People who write ‘should of’ instead of ‘should have’.

People who get ‘imply’ and ‘infer’ mixed up.

People who say ‘in no way, shape or form’. (One noun is enough, thanks.)

People who say ‘That’s not who I am’. (Always after they’ve been caught saying or doing something which reveals precisely who they are.)

People who use abbreviations in spoken language. (‘LOL’ is bad enough, but saying ‘BTW’ for ‘by the way’ is even more ridiculous – the abbreviation has two syllables more, for goodness’ sake.)

People over 40 who use emojis. (Grow up.)

People who say ‘If I can do it, anyone can’. (Almost always spoken by someone with a special talent or advantage which most people do not have. Often followed up by the equally untrue ‘Everyone can achieve their dreams’.

People who say ‘I/you/he/she/they smashed it’. (When referring to a performance rather than an egg.)

People who say ‘in a generation’ when they mean ‘for ages’. (This one has annoyed me for some time.)

People who talk about ‘leveraging key learnings to optimise user functionality’. (Hello, B2B world.)

My wife took a look at my list. ‘It would be a lot shorter if you just put ‘people’,’ she commented.

She may have a point.

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