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A Calmer You: 17 one-tight-slap phrases

The other day, I sat and analysed some of the phrases and slangs I often use in my daily communication. A lot of us do. Some are downright dumb.

lifestyle Updated: Jun 29, 2014 10:59 IST
Sonal Kalra
Sonal Kalra
Hindustan Times
verbal nonsense,grammar Nazis,daily communication

Among all the theories of evolution, my favourite is that man (and of course woman!) kind is moving at a lightening pace towards absurdity. Oh, you don’t think there is any such theory? Dammit. Okay fine, it’s my own, and maybe because I’m clearly leading the pack that’s moving towards untouched heights of weirdness. The other day, I sat and analysed some of the phrases and slangs I often use in my daily communication. A lot of us do.

Then I went on the Net and realised that they are the pet peeves of grammar Nazis across the world. But people continue to happily use them. Shall I tell you something my dear buoys and gals? We are totally mental. Because it struck me that some of the most common expressions we throw in so randomly into our day-to-day language, don’t mean anything at all. Some are downright dumb.

Starting today, I’ve decided to cleanse myself of verbal nonsense. My dedication to the cause is such that I’ve spent quite a while compiling the following OTS (One-tight-slap) phrases ... and how I, or some of those who’ve written about these on the Net react to them. Slap me if you find me dishing out these from now on … only after you allow me to do the same with you.

1What’s up?: Ha! All ‘cool’ dudes greeting everyone by saying ‘Whassup’, please come here. Tell me what the hell you want the other person to answer. What could possibly be up? The ceiling? The sky? Vaise, tell me one thing. Am I a pervert or does this question sound a bit obscene to anyone else too?

2How do you do?: I have the same problem with this one too. How do I do what? For God’s sake, this doesn’t even seem like a grammatically complete or correct sentence. And yeah, obscene, again. Oh lord!

3To be honest: I use this a lot. Well, not anymore. If you say ‘to be honest’ before saying something, are you suggesting that you are normally dishonest in other things you say?

4You know what I mean: Yes, I do Einstein. But that won’t keep you from saying it anyway, will it?

5It is what it is: Wah, wah. Yeh hui nah intelligent baat. It is=It is. You are a mathematician, Sir. Respect.

6I thought to myself: Hmm … could you have thought to ‘someone else’? Would you like the lead role in the next Ramsay Brothers’ film if you have those kind of powers? Consider, please.

7 I’m afraid I can’t: Bachche, it’s okay if you can’t. What are you afraid of? Koi maarega kya?

8Are you coming, or what?: What, what, what? What was the need to add ‘or what’ here? Are you crazy or what?

9What’s done is done: Are you the same guy who says ‘It is what it is’? You better be, I don’t want to kill two people.

10You can’t have your cake and eat it too: Well, this is supposed to be a famous saying. My foot. If it’s my cake, of course I’ll eat it. What else am I supposed to do with it? Try stopping me.

11I’m only human: Achha ji? And what are others, vermins who’ve come attached to humans as free gifts?

12This is my only choice: Dimaag theek hai? The definition of choice is to have an alternative. If you have none, say ‘I have no choice’. There’s nothing like only choice.

13Take care of your personal belongings: As opposed to what … my impersonal belongings? Oh, you mean something I stole from the fellow passenger? Don’t worry, I consider it very personal now.

14Bring to the table: This rubbish gets said a lot in corporate meetings. Trust me, I can swear on Chaddha ji’s head that nothing ever gets brought to the table. Not even coffee. Also, when they say ‘he’s on board’… nobody is. I’ve checked very carefully.

15Barking up the wrong tree: Believe me, barking up the right tree gets no different result. Total. Unadulterated. Nonsense.

16First things first: Please, it hurts to even joke about this one. Have you heard of a word called ‘Obviously’?

17 I saw it with ‘my own’ eyes: Oh shit.

Sonal Kalra bought a self-help book to clear her mind of these weird thoughts. But is it really self-help if a book written by someone else is helping her? Do we live in a crazy world? Please answer at or on Twitter @sonalkalra.

Note: On reader feedback, this is a re-run of the column previously published on May 5, 2012.

First Published: Jun 28, 2014 19:08 IST