They're everywhere, 24/7. Whoops! See what I mean? According to Reuters news, "The Plain English Campaign" polled people in 70 countries to find the most irritating phrases of all. The campaign found that when people hear these tired old phrases, they tune out and completely miss the message, if there is one. So, if you're guilty of using these phrases, you may be driving others to distraction-- And when it comes to business, using terms such as "ballpark figures" and "touch base" are about as professional as wearing a novelty tie--So says John Lister of the Plain English campaign. So what are some of the most shameful cliches?

  • "It's not rocket science."
  • "Between a rock and a hard place."
  • "Bear with me."
  • "I hear what you're saying" is also an overused cliché, and so is:
  • "To be honest with you--"

The campaign had expected geographical variations, but the same phrases seem to be universally annoying. Apparently jargon and cliches don't recognize international boundaries. And the number one most annoying speaking habit people have is using the word "like" as a form of punctuation. Apparently "valley girl" speak has gone global. I can hear English teachers around the world groaning.