When I was ten years old I entered the house and greeted my mom with, “Hey! How’s it hanging?” I will never forget her expression, or how I felt as she explained to me exactly what that phrase meant.
We all tend to use phrases incorrectly. I once told my husband that I got the raw end of the stick. (Apparently, my ability to use idioms didn’t improve with age.) Most of the time we use them in the correct context, but their meaning can be lost on others. While other times, a phrase just rubs people the wrong way.
Here are a few examples:
Have a Good One: My 93 year old Grandmother summed this phrase up well. When a cashier told her to “have a good one” my Grandmother responded, “Have a good what? Have a good s**t?”
No Offense: These two words are a red flag. Chances are – the person will take offense. Let’s be honest here. We rarely say, “No offense, but you look great today!” or “No offense, but you are the smartest person I know!” What follows “no offense” is generally bad. Prefacing the insult with “no offense” does not lessen the blow, despite what some might think. Offense IS usually taken.
If You Think About It: You know how this is used: You’ll be having a discussion with someone and then they will say, “Well, if you think about it” implying that you haven’t given it any thought – but they have.
Don’t Take This The Wrong Way: See above comments on “No Offense”.
No Problem: This phrase seems to have replaced the good old fashioned “you’re welcome.”
Let Me Go: Typically, this phrase is used to wrap up a phone conversation. “Let me go” is the signal that one person wants to get off the phone, but it infers that the other person won’t LET them hang-up. Saying “let me go” is implying that you are being held hostage on the phone. “I should go now” is the politer version of “Let me go”.
It’s All Good: Um, no it’s not. Just read the paper or switch on the five o’clock news.
Get Er Done: The fact that this phrase has sneaked its way into any conversation outside of the Louisiana bayou is a tragedy. While its purpose is to encourage one to complete a task, one cannot hear the words “get er done” without envisioning a recently slain deer draped over the bed of a 1982 Chevy pickup truck that is littered with empty Budweiser cans.
These phrases may not rub you the wrong way. After all, it takes all kinds to make the world go round. So when all is said and done, we should just live and let live.