Roger von Oech

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My nomination is "Taking it to the next level." I believe its intended to be shorthand for improvement. It quickly became a cliche.

Be well ~ Fredrick


I'd go with "At the end of the day" this phrase most accurately conveys a sense of time/place, and it's turned in to some variation of a summary statement. Heraclitus would never have said it!

Alfonso Guerra

I think you're taking this somewhat too personally. As a saying, it is what it is.

But as a reflection of thought processes, it's a useful point from which to launch additional analyses into problems you want to solve. What makes "it" what it is, and how can you give them "it" while reconstituting "it"'s components if you can't make "it" go away or seem less intimidating in their minds?

And if it really is what it is, why not make it a key component in your solution instead of something to work around (or have to put up with)?


I'm surprised you didn't choose "think outside the box". :)

"Step up to the plate", "strategic alliance" (what alliance isn't strategic?), "Core competency"... they all should go to the buzzword graveyard.

Roger von Oech

Fredrick: Thanks for your phrase. I think that "Taking it to the next level" is generally meant to "ascend" as in "raise the bar" (there's another one of those pesky phrases). But it can sometimes the opposite like "water" (which finds its own level).

Jim: Yeah, I agree: "at the end of the day" can be annoying as well.

Roger von Oech

Alfonso: "[This phrase] is a useful point from which to launch additional analyses into problems you want to solve"

What you say makes sense. And if only it were used in this way, that is, as a stopping point from which to get a fresh perspective! But my experience has been that when people say these words, they mean something along the lines of, "Don't need to give it any more thought."

J. John Johnstown

“... and stuff like that.” I hear that way too much at work, from more than one person.

Andrew Brown

"thats what she said"

Steve Bannister

Hi Roger,

How about,
"You know what ..." - preface for almost anything.
"To be honest with you" - are you usually dishonest?



I'm already tired of "its because of global warming" applied (irony, sarcasm, to virtually any change from the expected!

Alex von Oech

Oooh fun post.

It annoys me when people say, "It's not rocket science". Rocketry is engineering, not a science. And it's just a worn out phrase.

Jim Ley



OK, this is a bit odd. And I'm seriously not making this up. In my feed reader the headline for your post was directly above the headline for this post. link

I guess all you can say is, "It is what it is."

Mark McGuinness

My favourite useless phrase is very close to this one. It's used by the Emperor in Amadeus, in a vain attempt to sum up inconclusive discussions. I can't help using it myself if I think a conversation has ended but not concluded.

Well, there it is.


Some phrases I found annoying as a child, but found myself using as a parent:
"When I was your age..."
"It's just a stage...."
"My how you've grown."

My take on "It is what it is," is that this phrase is used when people have already OVER-thought something. The issue has been analyzed from many angles, such as cause, effect, purpose. The phrase signifies the time to just accept and deal with what is, to LET IT BE, and Move on.

Interesting post, by the way. Oh, there's another one, "Interesting."

Kris Bordessa

If I must hear it at all, I'd much prefer to hear that someone has disappeared rather than "gone missing".

Saurabh Garg

"I Think .."

All of us think a lot and when it comes to action, we take the back seat. Its about time we stopped using this and moved onto executing.


"Whatever" or hipster version "Whatev's"... the ultimate indecisive non-answer!

Mathen Cherian

Hi Roger,

The worst nagging pharse dealt out during any meeting is "having said that...." where the speaker virtually retracts whatever he/she stood for, for the painful 5 mins of jabbering



Shakespeare's Fool

"It's crackers to slip a rozzer the dropsy in snide."

You know what I mean. . . . ?


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