The Saying Goes

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.


18 thoughts on “The Saying Goes

  1. ”Have a good what? Have a good s**t?” – I laughed so hard I nearly spat out my lemonade! While most of these do rub me the wrong way, I especially cannot stand it when people say, “No problem.” in lieu of “You’re welcome.” I’m not even sure why really. It just seems so insincere and cold.

  2. Hysterical! Your grandma is one smart cookie. (how’s that for a saying? How smart is a cookie, really?) And I work with someone who STILL uses “Get er done” and I want to punch him in the face every single time I hear it.
    I always mock people when they reply “Really?” as a response to something I say. Example: Me: “Wow, Target was packed with people today” Reply: “Really?” Me: “No, sometimes I just like to randomly make up stories about Target for the hell of it.”

  3. Oh I remember as a kid saying all sorts of things I shouldn’t have because I didn’t know what the words meant. I also told some really really rude jokes to my parents but totally didn’t understand the connotations.

    I agree about the ‘no offence’ opener, it really is going to offend. There are so many stupid things people say as conversation filler and taken literally are quite funny. I loved the post, you write exceptionally and are, no offence, very witty.

  4. Fascinating! I did a piece kind of like this, but then buried it in my novel and passed it off as part of character development…lol. The phrases I picked out that particularly irked her (me?) were “No worries” (really? On what planet? Oops…that’s another irritating one!) and “At the end of the day” (when I here someone say that (being a Les Mis fan) I just want to burst out in song….”At the end of the day, you’re another day older!” And let’s see, oh right….there’s “It is what it is.” No self-respecting control freak can ever put up with that one. 😉

    I always wonder who was the first person, I mean really, there had to be just ONE certain individual who spoke each of these phrases (inadvertently) for the very first time in history, but then then they couldn’t just let it go. It wasn’t enough that their friend or family probably chuckled at them in casual conversation. Nooooo! They wanted more credit. So they must’ve thought, “I need to make it so those words catch on with all of North America. (actually quite a feat when you think about it happening before the internet existed!) and hey – – I might even copyright this phrase so each time someone utters it, they’ll owe me a dollar. Yeah, “that’s the ticket!!” Oops….yet again.

    • First, I would simply LOVE to read your novel! Second, that is a VERY good point. Maybe the people who first coined phrases (pre-internet) used them frequently – whenever they could – like subliminal messaging!

      “What would you like for dinner, sweetie? Beef or chicken.”
      “I dunno Ma, it is what it is.”
      “Huh? It is what it is?”
      “Yup. It is what it is.”
      “Beef or chicken? It is what it is?”

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