+0
I would like to ask you what are the "catch-phrases" that make you wince when you see them in writing

George Orwell, in his wonderful 1946 essay, "Politics and the English language", listed some dying metaphors, for example, "...toe the line, ride roughshod over, stand shoulder to shoulder with, play into the hands of, no axe to grind, grist to the mill, fishing in troubled waters, on the order of the day, Achilles' heel, swan song, hotbed."

He also pointed out pretentious diction, such as "...phenomenon, element, individual (as noun), objective, categorical, effective, virtual, basic, primary, promote, constitute, exhibit, exploit, utilize, eliminate, liquidate."

What really turns you off when you see it in writing?
+0
Hi,

When I read your list, I'm struck by two things.

1. The metaphors listed by Orwell are certainly taking a long time to die. Most of them are still in wide use today.

2. All of the words he listed as pretentious seem to me, today, to be part of standard English with no negative connotations. Perhaps this evolution may also be true of words we find pretentious today.

Best wishes, Clive
+0
These are spoken, rather than written; but I still can't stand them:

1. Ours is not to reason why.

2. It's all part of life's rich tapestry.

3. Time flies when you're having fun.

4. Saying "ok" in a mock-oriental accent ("ho-kay").

5. Saying "I don't know" in a mock northern English accent.

MrP
Teachers: We supply a list of EFL job vacancies
Comments  
CliveHi,

When I read your list, I'm struck by two things.

1. The metaphors listed by Orwell are certainly taking a long time to die. Most of them are still in wide use today.

2. All of the words he listed as pretentious seem to me, today, to be part of standard English with no negative connotations. Perhaps this evolution may also be true of words we find pretentious today.

Best wishes, Clive

Clive here is the link to Orwell's essay.

http://www.mtholyoke.edu/acad/intrel/orwell46.htm
Students: Are you brave enough to let our tutors analyse your pronunciation?