• "I'll take it from here"
  • "If you don't mind"
  • "Don't mind if you do"
  • "I'm on board"
  • etc

As a non-native speaker, I found such phrases extremely useful, and they lighten up the conversation in a friendly way unless overused (e.g., "I'm on board" for the millionth time).

What are these called exactly? Is there a category? It's not idiom (I looked it up), and I can't say it's "general speech" since it's used the same way all the time in various contexts. I don't think they're jargon, either.

They've been a real help when talking to my mostly older coworkers without the crude jokes or comments I make with friends.

closed as unclear what you're asking by Edwin Ashworth, Scott, Helmar, tchrist Sep 28 '16 at 18:17

Please clarify your specific problem or add additional details to highlight exactly what you need. As it's currently written, it’s hard to tell exactly what you're asking. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • Welcome to ELU.SE. Thank you, this is a nice first question. Even though you got the gist of ELU already, you can take the tour or have a look at the help center to find out more about good questions. – Helmar Sep 22 '16 at 10:19
  • I appreciate your help by adding the single-word-requests tag, but that's not exactly what I'm looking for. I admit, I'm a bit uncertain about how I should approach this question, but I think we can do better. – user1164937 Sep 22 '16 at 10:33
  • Are you not looking for a word that names that category of phrases? – Helmar Sep 22 '16 at 10:35
  • 1
    Not necessarily a single word. It could be something like "work lingo". But I may be taking it too literally, oops. – user1164937 Sep 22 '16 at 10:46
  • 1
    This could come under the umbrella of small-talk. – Chenmunka Sep 22 '16 at 11:21

The closest term I can think of to describe this kind of construction is cliché:

cliché n
1. (Linguistics) a word or expression that has lost much of its force through overexposure, as for example the phrase: it's got to get worse before it gets better.

There is probably some difference, though, since the examples you cite are so common they may not even rise to the standard of cliché. Nevertheless, they are expressions that have lost their force through overexposure, so they do fit the definition.

In fact, these expressions may have lost so much force they could fall under the aegis of phatic communication

phatic adj
Of or relating to communication used to perform a social function rather than to convey information or ideas.

citations from TheFreeDictionaryOnline


social niceties

polite formulas

set phrases (this means standard phrases)


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