We tend to use age old expressions that are quite inaccurate and which we contradict in our next breath. Yet none of us objects to hearing these phrases because we’re all dedicated users. Why is that? Well, it goes without saying. See what I mean? That’s one of the phrases and if it were true, that would be the end of this post. No one hardly ever says, “It goes without saying” and then shuts up. No, we go on at great length to explain why it goes without saying.
What is the reason for these popular phony phrases? You might reply “It’s perfectly obvious” but of course it isn’t. Or you might say “If you asked me” and then proceed, like I’m doing now, to pontificate long windedly without actually being asked.
“Not to mention” is another good example, Whoever says that is on the verge of mentioning something to support an opinion. But how can you say “not to mention” without mentioning what you said you were not going to mention?
I often begin with “Needless to say” before explaining in great detail my take on a particular subject. At some point a listener will say, while looking at his watch, “I hate to interrupt” (a polite phony phrase), but didn’t you also say you were going to make a long story short?”
Most of our phony phrases are rather harmless, but be careful about ones like, “I’m not one to pry, but…..” and “I don’t believe in spreading vicious rumors, but have you heard….?