Three phrases I hate to hear spoken–myself, literally and exact same

 Phrase I 

The use of the word “myself.”  It makes me crazy when people say things like, “After the meeting, see Joe or myself for more information,” or “Jill and myself worked on the project.”

In the first example, it should be Joe and me, and in the second it should be Jill and I.


The general rule is that you use “myself” along with the word “I.”  For example, “I will do it myself.”

I think there are all kinds of grammar terms like reflexive nouns, etc. to explain this by this is my everyday explanation.   If you have comments, email me.  (Not myself)


Phrase II

My son, Chad McDonnell, suggested this one, but I have had it in the back of my mind for some time too. (Great minds)  It is the use of the word “literally.”  Think of it as being synonymous with the word “actually.” It does not mean metaphorically or figuratively.

It is not correct, but I often hear, to say, “I literally laughed my head (or other body part) off.  In addition, I don’t think anyone has literally died laughing, no matter what the circumstances.


I think I remember a skit on Saturday Night Live that poked fun at people who use these words wrong.


Phrase III

This one is prevalent in everyday conversations, on radio talk shows and on television. It is the use of the term “exact same.”  This is REDUNDANT—something can’t be somewhat the same.

Just say, “The dress Buffy wore was the same as the one Muffy wore.”  No “exact” needed thank you.


So, you have been warned. Do not use these phrases, especially around me.


4/21/09  I just read a blog post on the Writer’s Digest magazine (a great one for writers) blog about exact same. Brian Klems concurs about the term exact same.


8/31/09   Just heard someone on television say that “people LITERALLY came out of the woodwork.”  Now that I would like to see.




22 responses to “Three phrases I hate to hear spoken–myself, literally and exact same

  1. Woody Woodward

    The one that really bugs me is when I hear an educated person use the term, “theirselves

  2. I will try to remind myself, not to use these around you.
    I will literally bite off my own hand if I do.
    I feel the exact same way about the word “Vacay,” or is it “Vakay?” I don’t know, either way, hate it, literally.

  3. That has to be a close relative to “myself.”

  4. Hey Heidi
    You need both hands to do your great movie review blog.
    I haven’t notice vacay used that much. Now it will bug me.

    When gas was almost $4, people were taking “staycations” to be frugal and not travel.

  5. Actually, there have been situations where people have literally died laughing.

    I don’t think it would be a bad way to go.

  6. Oops! In your second example above, the correct word isn’t “me,” but “I.”

    “Jill and I worked on the project.” Since the usage is the subject, one uses the nominative pronoun rather than the objective one.

    My ninth grade grammar teacher would be so proud of me.

    Here’s my own pet peeve: I am annoyed by the phrase, “very unique.” Something which is unique is one of a kind; singular. So how can something be “very unique?” Such usage implies one thing can be more unique than another, when the word unique is, by definition, superlative.

  7. Laura
    You are so right. Thanks for the catch.
    I am doing a post soon on redundancies, and I think very unique is one of those.
    Keep reading!

  8. Brian Young

    Cindy and myself were literally thinking the exact same thing!

  9. Brian,my friend. You always make me laugh when you reply.
    Don’t drag poor Cindy into your antics.
    See you in a couple of weeks at Mastery Academy.

  10. Irregardless of weather or not I use the right words at the right or wrong time or even use words that ar’ent words or what I myself like is redundant or saying the same thing twice is that I am literally soiling myself laughing at the thought of saying something about yourself to you. With no regard or consideration to anything you have written or I myself have thought, I can say the exact same thing – about crummy grammar and punctuation. And but those internet acronyms are another subject altogether entirely different and literally, like, somewhat similar ROTFLMAO! And I hate and really strongly dislike people that use that way to much, or use to(o) wrongly as well too.

  11. Chris H
    Wow man, do you feel better. ROTFLMAO!
    Thanks for your insight, and I mean that literally.

  12. Mother Shaffer

    Hi Bob, Thanks–it’s people like you that make me read and reread my blog over and over in the hopes I haven’t made a horrible gaff that will haunt me forever. 🙂

  13. Mother Shaffer Thanks for reading. Don’t be paranoid. Have fun.

  14. Is “weather or not” valid use of the word weather? I read it everywhere, but I can’t find a definition that matches this usage.

  15. Hi Rick
    No, weather is not right. Some of my students when I taught college thought so too. They also used were instead of where.
    To answer your question it is whether or not. Weather is for rain, snow, etc.
    Thanks for asking.

  16. No problem.

  17. David L Stevens

    You know, sometimes I think Yogi Berra or Sam
    Goldwyn would have said something like
    “literally coming out of the woodwork”

    Maybe you talk about these guys elsewhere…they are hilarious.

  18. I hate when people say “I could care less.” If you COULD care less then that means you care a little. I “couldN’T” care less is the ultimately expression of disdain for a particular situation.

  19. I enjoyed this post. 🙂

    Curious as to what you’d think about this one:

  20. Here is what I posted as a comment to that site. Don’t use big words when diminutive ones will suffice.

  21. The “myself” example is probably the most annoying; I cringe everytime I hear that word being misused. I’ve found that it’s a mistake generally made by people who think they sound intelligent because they use “myself” in place of “me” or “I,” even though it’s done incorrectly. I honestly would rather hear the sentence “me and her went to the store,” than “she and myself went to the store.” Both are clearly wrong, but at least the people who would say the first sentence aren’t trying to put on some front to sound smart.