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I find it fascinating that certain phrases can drive certain individuals nuts.

Some of them are grammatically incorrect phrases that a person may have been taught was wrong, causing the person to want to correct people who use the phrase. I certainly fall into this category with "Where's it at?" As a common Midwestern phrase, I hear, "Where's it at?" or "Where you at" all the time. If you expand the contraction, the speaker is saying "Where is it at?". The "at" is redundant and unnecessary. "Where is it?" is a perfectly valid question. "Where is it at?" is not.

Another phrase that annoys the piss out of me is "drill down" or "drilling down". Often used in information gathering terms: "We'll drill down into the data and extract general user preferences to set the defaults." The phrase was first used publically by some Microsoft executive in some presentation at some conference some six to eight years ago. The phrase has always annoyed me because it is a Microsoftism being foisted into American vernacular. I'm probably the only one that hates that phrase.

Ariel recently commented to me that the word "pardon" annoys him. Much the same way "Where's it at?" grates on my nerves, "Pardon?" used to request a speaker repeat what he just said annoys him.

I use "Pardon?" because many (or was it many, many?) years ago, I decided "Huh?" didn't sound good. I chose "Pardon?" because it was short, simple and conveyed "Could you repeat yourself, please?" in a courteous manner.

According to Ariel, both Bharat and I both use the word "Pardon?" in the same way. And it annoys him.

Does it annoy the piss out of him the way "drill down" and "Where's it at" annoy me? Unclear. But if I can annoy a friend less, then "Excuse me?" works just fine.


Another one I recalled today was "horsing around." That one used to bother Jessica Doelling (ne Hofferth) all the time. I had to use "goofing off" around her. Heh.