Featured Stories

Other Pamplin Media Group sites


Are these common expressions as annoying to you as they are to me?

Columnist lists some obvious clunkers that should be dispatched to the dustbin


Does it also annoy you when TV anchors (especially weathermen) - who of all people should be grammatical examples to us viewers - say such things as, "The storm is expected about 10 a.m. in the morning?" Morning is a.m., for goodness sakes!

Ditto when they say, "The wind is blowing." If it wasn't blowing, it wouldn't be wind, now would it?

Equally inane are these comments, "Lots of clouds in the sky." Where else would clouds be? (Or, "It's raining outside." Have you ever heard of it raining inside?)

Instead of becoming annoyed after hearing these yet again, I began defusing my exasperation by listing other repetitive, common phrases - some of which I've listed below - which everyone (not just TV anchors) hears every day:

"Tears in my eyes."

"Smile on my face."

"Idea came to mind."Saw it with my own eyes."

"Palm of my hand."

"Picked it up with my hands."

"Put my hat on my head." (Or "shoes on my feet" or "gloves on my hands.")

The answer to each of the above is so obvious: Where else would it/they be?

But then I, too, get caught. Just the other day, I asked a friend, "When was the last time you saw the Smiths?" Obviously my question startled her because she quickly asked, "What happened! Were they in an accident?" "Not that I know of," I answered, "I just wondered if you'd seen them lately."

"Well, when you said, the last time, I assumed you meant dead: final, terminal."

Yes, I should've been more cautious in my wording because this was the same friend to whom I'd innocently uttered the following no-nos:

1) "Sarah has a little baby." "Why say a little baby"? she asked. "Babies already are little; that's why they're called babies."

2) "Here's a small booklet of recipes I'll loan you." "Booklet already means it's a small book."

3) "Did you hear Mary broke her hip when she fell down?" "Could she have fallen up?"

4) The editor of this paper, Barbara Sherman, gave me her nanny-getter: "One expression that kills me when I hear it on TV is 'two twins.' Don't twins always come in twos?"

Well, if you're a person who's picky about the choice of words which TV anchors (or you, or your friends) use, the above examples are ones to watch out for.

And if you're really observant, you'll also note this column is unaccompanied by an illustration. The reason? You know as well as I that one doesn't need an actual photo for someone to Get the picture…

You'll also note this piece is a bit shorter than usual. There's a reason for that, too: After I eliminated all the unnecessary verbiage - such as in the examples above - it ended up three-quarters its normal length.

© 2014 by Copyright 2014 by Isabel Torrey, a King City resident and long-time columnist.