Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Annoying phrases series post 1 - "It is what it is"

I thought about starting a series about annoying phrases we say/hear day to day. The purpose would be twofold: namely to determine whether these phrases have value or not, then if not to come up with an alternative phrase to take its place. There are several other advantages as well besides the wonderful opportunity for me to bitch, which should not be overlooked :) You can also suggest particular phrases that annoy you as well and we can bring those to the discussion. Yay! So before I begin let me first say that my intentions are not to single anyone out here. There is no "It is what it is" person that I am referring to specifically. All of these phrases are pervasive enough that they go beyond any particular person.

Alright so lets get started. I am sure everyone is familiar with this one, but let me lay out an example of how I typically hear it used. After all this is my blog. It is what it is! Oops, I jumped the gun there. Sorry about that. Anyhow, the times I most often hear "It is what it is" (lets go with iiwii from here out) are when someone is discussing a less than ideal situation that must be accepted in its current state. There is no opportunity to change things for the better. iiwii signifies the proverbial throwing in of the towel. For example, say you are a sports fan and your team is doing terrible this season (if its football, please read the MG article comparing it with dogfighting 2 posts ago). Your team keeps playing poorly and losing game after game, even with teams they usually beat. There is no chance they will make it to the playoffs or whatever the appropriate Harry Potter-esque final showdown is. IIWII!!!!!!! Theres always next season. I am sure you could think of countless other examples as well where iiwii would be appropriate.

My observation is that nothing is added to the discussion by dropping the iiwii. You have to set some context with someone before you pull an iiwii on them. If you just walked up to your best friend and iiwii-ed them, they would probably be like, "What the hell are you talking about?" or "Thanks buddy, it most certainly is what it is. Unless of course one of the "it's" is the shadow-self of the other "it" and is actually the evil it" A situation must be laid out clearly first. iiwii is grammatically correct but actually meaningless. I think it would be more effective to lay out the situation. Then, replace the iiwii conclusion with "We/I just have to accept it/this." At least then you are taking it a step further in terms of content and also communicating more effectively. Unfortunately that is more characters and words than iiwii. Hey, It is what it is...

What do you think? Convince me to end this annoying phrase series, haha.


  1. I feel like this series could become as annoying as the annoying phrases you wish to discuss :)

  2. i'd like to provoke it with:

    "are you picking up what i'm putting down?"
    "i know, right?"

  3. Pete,
    I think this is a GREAT idea for a series. "Globally Speaking", we could "Think Outside of the Box" and generate some "Politically Correct" responses and phrases that can "Open Our Minds" to the possibilities that might lay ahead. This could give us "The Bigger Picture" and show "What the Future Might Hold" for us. Anyway, let's just hope "We Can All Get Along" and post some interesting yet annoying phrases such as all of the quoted ones above. I will leave in saying "It's All Part of God's Plan" anyway.

  4. Wow. These are all good. I accept guest posts via email, haha. I have honestly never heard the "are you picking up what I am putting down?"

  5. I just like this idea becaues Jen and I talk about this stuff too. We often quote our various bosses who use such terminology often. Jen's old boss was obsessed with "globally speaking" and I have a personal affliction to several of the other listed quotes.

  6. Here is my beef with "iiwii". It is so ambiguous. Not only is the phrase annoying to hear, especially on a consistent basis, but it refers to nothing. I hate to use another cliche here, but it falls on deaf ears after some time. It also serves as a cop out for nothing better say towards the end of a conversation, and a filler. Let's face it, phrase like this are catchy and just roll off the tongue.

    Other phrases and words you might want to follow up with:

    "like" as in valley girl talk

    "truth be told"

    "ya know"