95

Adding the word "personally" communicates that the speaker recognizes the subjective nature of their preference. It also precludes interpretation of the statement as an effort to persuade the listener. I personally try to avoid using it.


37

It's technically redundant, since all opinions are personal, however it can modify the tone of the statement to some degree. It effectively takes emphasis away from the opinion itself by placing the emphasis on the holder of the opinion. For example, suppose I'm in a group of people, and we're trying to decide whether to go to Madame Tussauds or to see a ...


32

Such utterances are known as phatic. In the OED's definition, they 'serve to establish or maintain social relationships rather than to impart information, communicate ideas.' Exchanges about the weather, such as you describe, can made without a greeting such as 'Hello' or 'Good morning' and often occur between strangers.


27

"What's cooking" means "what's going on?" or perhaps more specifically "what are you working on?" According to this it dates from the 1940s. The meaning comes from asking someone what is cooking on the stove, and consequently what should I expect in the near future, however, it has generalized in common usage to a less specific meaning of "what's going on" ...


17

Such statements are usually considered conversation starters/openers: A conversation opener is an introduction used to begin a conversation. They are frequently the subject of guides and seminars on how to make friends and/or meet people. Different situations may call for different openers (e.g. approaching a stranger on the street versus meeting them at a ...


17

One relevant term from logic: red herring — The idiom "red herring" is used to refer to something that misleads or distracts from the relevant or important issue. Specific forms of red herring exist and I find that appeal to motive fits nicely: appeal to motive — Appeal to motive is a pattern of argument which consists in challenging a ...


13

Hmm... This seems to be a common question, and any advice in this piece will probably be 10x better than anything I can say. If a business colleague attempts to make small talk, do not panic. They probably are not drunk, they are probably not mentally ill, and they probably do not want to sell you something (other than some girl scout cookies), but they ...


12

That's as good as it gets. Responses like “my condolences”, “he’s in my prayers” and “sorry for your loss” are usually used for recent deaths, and comments like “he's in a better place now” or “at least you're doing well without him” are risky if you don't know how the person feels about having grown up without a father, or their religion. To sum it up, “...


11

In one of Terry Pratchett's children's books, a computer that - unlike the nomes[sic] that are the main characters - understand human speech, explains that a conversation it overheard consisted of "I am still alive. Are you still alive?" "Yes, I am still alive". This seems foolish to the nomes until they realise that most of their ...


11

I think what you are actually hearing is a short, simple "uh-huh", which is intended as an acknowledgement that they have received your thanks and consider the exchange complete. It is not intended to be rude; in fact, ignoring someone who says "thanks" is much ruder. It's very informal, and is probably mostly used when whatever answer they gave that ...


11

"Toss and turn" is most often used to indicate a restless sleep. The idea is that while you may fall asleep, you also move around frequently and don't sleep very soundly. Cambridge Dictionary: to move around restlessly while sleeping or trying to sleep


10

You might consider this as a case of ignoratio elenchi, where an irrelevant argument is presented as an answer to the question at hand: Ignoratio elenchi, also known as irrelevant conclusion, is the informal fallacy of presenting an argument that may or may not be logically valid, but fails nonetheless to address the issue in question. [...] The nature of ...


9

I think that, although the term is overused, it definitely serves a very specific purpose. Your example is: I personally don't like wax museums and I don't like wax museums In this particular situation, by using the word "personally", the individual emphasizes that others might be of another belief. If I ask someone, "Do you like my drawing?", and ...


9

"Of course" means that the statement should be obvious, or can go without saying. Someone hearing "Yes, of course." could reasonably assume that there was no question that the answer might have been no. "Yes, please" is an unusual reply to "May I use your pen?", and is much more often heard as a reply to "Would you like to use my pen?". However it could be ...


8

It depends on the context and relationship of the subject and audience. If the person typically or frequently wears the hat or shirt of some organization, and the audience recognizes that association, including the adverb 'personally' helps distinguish the speaker's opinion from the opinion of the organization.


8

I would say that "best of luck" would refer to something more specific, Whereas "All the best" is a generic well-wishing. Best of luck in the new job Best of luck with your exams All the best for the future etc. So if you knew someone was having a job interview you might say "Best of luck for tomorrow!" but if you said "All the best" it would sound more ...


8

I agree with Fraser Orr's answer above, "What's cooking?", asked in the context of work or activity is generally a social question, meant as an invitation for pleasant, semi-formal conversation, if you are so inclined. In some workplaces, it is acceptable to have such conversations with co-workers at your (or their) desks, so long as it is not too loud/...


7

I think that phonetically, "gonna" and "wanna" are used >90% of the time, at least in American English, when they come before verbs. I cannot think of a time I would ever pronounce "going to walk" as written, except if talking slowly to a foreigner or a child who didn't seem to understand me. Moreover, pronouncing "going to" carefully (before a verb) is a ...


7

British English: 'All the best' is used interchangeably with 'Best regards' or 'Best wishes' or even 'Take Care' or 'Best for now' or 'Bye for now' when signing off a letter or email. It's friendlier than 'Best regards' or 'Best wishes' but not as familiar as 'Take Care'. 'Best of luck' is entirely different and specific to a need to wish someone luck ...


7

The numbers are ratings on an imaginary scale of sexual attractiveness, with 10 being drop-dead gorgeous and 1 being thoroughly repulsive.


7

I think Kris' comment is correct in saying that 'guy' as a "term of address" is not polite. There is a lot of subtle nuance with terms of address. For example, "lady" is a term of respect, and it's perfectly fine to say someone is a lady, but as a term of address, e.g. "Lady, there's nothing I can do about it." it comes across as impolite, a sort of ...


7

Just as with a question like "How are you doing?", a bland non-answer such as "Not much, how about yourself?" or a simple statement like "Oh, you know, just getting some work done" is perfectly acceptable in most situations. It is, as you've surmised, just another form of empty small talk, and is essentially just an alternate way of saying "What's going on ...


7

I'm very confused. It's not just you; this is a common source of consternation even for people who've lived here their whole lives. Many people treat "How's it going?" as equivalent to "Hello", and consider "How's it going?" to be an acceptable reply to "How's it going?"; many others treat it as equivalent to "How are you?", and expect a reply along the ...


6

You could always use the phrasal verb "put through to", which is specific to phone calls. For example, "Could you please put me through to room 321?"


6

Codename, there's no "right way" to answer a telephone call. It's something regional and cultural. With so many English speaking countries in the world, a list would include some phrases that are standard and universal, some that are used in business calls, and a lot of regionalisms. "hello" is standard and will be understood anywhere. ...


6

To get to sleep means to manage to fall asleep. To toss and turn means to move around restlessly while sleeping or trying to fall asleep. Therefore, these two expressions are not synonymous. You toss and turn when you can't get to sleep.


5

Off-the-shelf software used to refer to software you bought off-the-shelf in a software store strangely enough. This is clouded today with downloads and not much software being bought from stores, but in the context of your question, the mentor was meaning that you could use software that works straight away (and fit for purpose) without the need for ...


5

While "off the shelf" does mean that something is sitting on the shelf in a store (as opposed to "custom made" or "custom ordered") for instant purchase, it also means that it is ready to be used for a task without alteration.


5

It's a pity isn't quite worn out yet, but using Pity! as a complete sentence is distinctively "Britishy". What is old-fashioned is to use the 'tis contraction instead of it is: `tis a pity! The word pity is both a verb and noun. Should the public pity Lance Armstrong? It is an important word in the English language for which there is no equally glib ...


5

I'm a British person who uses a lot of little terms and expressions probably without thinking too much about them I suppose. I use the term, "all the best", to shorten the phrase, all the best for the future, where "best of luck" is another thing altogether and just as short already.


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