Articles From the Team

Five of the most annoying office words and phrases

Let’s face the truth: we can end up talking some utter nonsense to colleagues and clients when we’re going about our day-to-day business. Recently, some words and sayings have been driving me more bonkers than usual, especially when I find myself using them later on!

Here’s my selection, do you agree? Or maybe you’ve got a few to add?

1. To me, the absolute most annoying word of all time is: revert: “I’ll revert back to you.” Huh? Sorry, what? You’ll return yourself to a previous state of myself? I believe this interpretation of the word has come from the Indian subcontinent and is a misappropriation of the original English. Either way, I find it annoying as hell. The English definition of revert is: return to a previous state. I believe the word people are looking for is: report.

2. “Touching base”. Not sure about you but whenever I hear this I’m immediately transported to a more innocent (?) time in and around the bike sheds. Where has this rotter reared from? Baseball, military fortifications? Not the foggiest but please return it to whence it came.

3. “That *insert generic area of work* piece”. Truly very irritating, why can’t you just say: “we need to think about the plans we made for regulation”, “has anyone completed the marketing work?”, or, “has anyone made any progress with that blog piece?”

4. “Circle back”. I don’t even know where to start with this one. It seems it’s mostly used to avoid making a decision but it also sounds like you’re making a decision by circling back to a non-decision point. Can you circle back? Surely you just circle?

5. “I’ll ping you an email”. Please don’t - it doesn’t mean to send volumes of data. It’s normally used to confirm the presence of something (submarine, internet connection). So if you ping me an email you just proved I have an email address? What happens if I don’t reply, does that mean I have Schrödinger’s email?

If no words annoyed you, then hopefully you’ve found annoyance in the form of another passive aggressive blog on annoying words and phrases in business. No need to circle back and ping me, I'll revert to you later.

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