Verbosity vs. succinctness

Mr. P:

Another couple of idioms that annoy me, at least in AmE, are “at the end of the day” and “at this point in time,” – substituted for “ultimately” and “now.” There is hardly a radio or TV interview nowadays that is not fraught with such copycat verbosity. Is this also prevalent in BrE, and if so, what is your take?


“At the end of the day” is more common in British English than it is in American English, and if I’m not mistaken, we got that expression from the British.

“At this point in time” is very annoying, and even more annoying is “at this particular point in time”.

However, if everybody just said “ultimately” and “now” all the time – only used the generic words for things – the language would be extremely boring. What you are wishing for is something like “Newspeak” in Orwell’s novel 1984.

Besides, you have to admit that “at the end of the day” conjures a completely different image in the listener’s mind than “ultimately”. “At this point in time”, though annoying, creates an impression that what is being talked about is temporary, whereas just using the word “now” can make it sound like things have changed and that the new situation is permanent.

As a person who speaks several languages, I can tell you that what you call “copycat verbosity” exists not only in British and American English, but in every language.

Agreed, which is why LSSU started the annual banned words list. Feel free to participate.

Also, previous bans

Occasionally, words are reinstated on a probationary period, after being blacklisted.

For an excellent list of refreshing substitutes, try reinstating a lost word.

Interesting to note that there are only 41 occurrences per 1 million words in the BNC, we find a surprising 470 per 1 million words in COCA. Does that meanit would be more annoying to live in the USA than it would in Britain, bbj1919, Jamie?

Might “nothing is more boring than” and “political colloquy” be considred in the same way?

Maybe “blacklisted” could also fit that complaint.

This may have been the case in the past, but if the BNC and the COCA are true reflections of usage, then “at the end of the day” is now far more commonly used in the US than in the UK. :?

Yes, both phrases are quite common; but “at the end of the day” has received some attention in the papers, etc.; so for some people, it’s become a kind of shibboleth. (“At this moment in time” is another phrase that BrE speakers sometimes complain about.)


“At the end of the day” is often used in BrE in Business, usually as a way of softening some issue. e.g.

At the end of the day the market has determined our streamlining process.

Which means we are letting you go but it is not our fault, honest.

I would love to introduce the “skip to the end” phrase to meetings where the speaker is sooooo long winded. But this phrase is to cult British comedyish I think.

In the US we tell that person to “cut to the chase”. This comes from editing Hollywood movies. American films tend to have a chase scene in them (and have since the 1920s), and when a movie was long and boring, they used to tell the editors to “cut to the chase”, which means to get to the exciting part, or nowadays to the important part of what a presenter is talking about.

Hi Jamie

I used to use cut to the chase for the guys who go round the houses to get next door. But don´t use it that often.

“Director of Studies” often is a title that has no direction when it comes to the KISS concept ; )