21 peeves that crush writers’ souls

Redundancies, made-up words, incorrect usage—all drive wordsmiths bonkers, and not in a good way. Abandon all hope, ye who click here.


Every time I see writing redundancies, my teeth grit, my hair stands on end, and I want to run around my neighborhood screaming.

That would probably be very entertaining for anyone who saw me, but not very useful. Blogging about them, on the other hand, is super useful, because if anyone is in the habit of using any of these and stumbles across this post, maybe they’ll stop.

A big thank-you to all the smart people who responded to my question on Facebook about writing redundancies and other pet peeves, making this post what it is:

1. “It’s sustainable, and it’s also profitable.”

” ‘Sustainability’ means meeting the needs of people, planet and profit.”John Friedman

2. “When airline gate agents announce ‘the last and final boarding call.'”

“Umm, there’s a difference?”Jim Parsons

3. “Long story short…”—Scott Kaminski

4. “My biggest pet peeve is we use the word ‘use’ incorrectly. Use and utilize do not have the same meaning. They are not synonyms. Google it.”

“To utilize something is to give it a use it may not have originally had. That’s very different from the word ‘use.’ And so many people use it wrong!”— Michelle Hinson

5. “Don’t get me started on literally. I mean literally, do not get me started.”—Michelle Hinson,Michele Seigerman Bennett and Jonny Goldstone

6. “Very unique.” — Diane Feaster Rose . Also Michael Smart

7. “Needless to say.” —Jonny Goldstone

8. “Personally, I…”—Jonny Goldstone

9. “At the end of the day… (It’s night!).” —Daisy Chain

10. “‘Enjoy’ really gets my back up. It feels like it’s an order, or I needed their permission or blessing to enjoy whatever it is!”—Daisy Chain

11. “I hate when people say ‘I could care less’ when they mean they couldn’t care less.”— Stephen Cerone

12. “The absolute truth.” —Fay Shapiro

13. “Irregardless.” (nails on chalkboard)—Michele Seigerman Bennett

14. “I want to tell you my pet peeve. I’d also like to tell you.”

“If you want to tell me something, just do it. I don’t need to know you want to do so. Everyone starts an introduction by saying… ‘I’d like to introduce you to…’

“Just do it! Cut out the excess andjust tell me.”— Mary Deming Barber. (Rob Biesenbach felt the same way, as did Jodi Echakowitz .)

15. “Top priority.”—Michael Smart

16. “Lobby area.”—Michael Smart

17. “8 students and 4 instructors for a total of 12 people.”—Michael Smart

18. “In a presentation, ‘This is a quote …,’ ‘Here is a chart …,'” — Rob Biesenbach

19. “It goes without saying…” Then why say it?—me

  • Design
  • 20. “It is no secret…” Then I probably already know it, don’t I?—me

    21. “The sky’s the limit! Bet that one pisses space off.” —Michelle Hinson

    What would you add to this list? I literally would love to know.

    Founder and publisher of Waxing UnLyrical, Shonali Burke is also president & CEO of Shonali Burke Consulting, where a version of this article first appeared.

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