cancel
Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 

I mean, does this annoy you?

alanb
Grafter
Posts: 459
Registered: 24-05-2007

I mean, does this annoy you?

Am I the only person who gets annoyed when people start a sentence (or sometimes a conversation) with "I mean", as in this example:
Me asking a question: "How was your holiday?"
Idiot respondee: "I mean, I had a great time."
I first noticed this about two or three years ago, but it's become very common now. I understand the part that slang, jargon and verbal tics (err, um, etc.), play in oiling the wheels of conversation and discussion, but starting a sentence with a redundant "I mean" does not appear to enhance any conversation.
When I'm standing next to someone in a shop and they say something like: "Can I get 20 Bensons and a lottery ticket", it is quite obvious that they deserve to get a punch in the head, (and also while they are down, a kick in the ribs for not saying "please",) but I just don't know what to make of this "I mean" stuff. Now people have started to use the word "So" in the same way, and it's just as irritating.
Does it annoy you too? Do you see any reason for it? Do you do it? If you do, why? (and please stop it.)
105 REPLIES
alanb
Grafter
Posts: 459
Registered: 24-05-2007

Re: I mean, does this annoy you?

As an aside, but loosely related, I heard someone on the radio this morning who was being interviewed about the issue of people self-harming in prison. While making a serious point she said that inmates are "having to be blue-lighted from prison to hospital", now I know that language is supposed to be flexible but isn't this taking flexibility a bit too far?
The use of this phrase in the middle of an otherwise articulate discussion struck me as somewhat bizarre. It's now the only thing that I remember about the interview, and therefore, in my mind, has destroyed the credibility of the interviewee. (I'm willing to admit that may be my problem more than the interviewee's problem, though.)
Community Veteran
Posts: 7,153
Thanks: 54
Fixes: 2
Registered: 30-08-2007

Re: I mean, does this annoy you?

And; Y'know at every opportunity.
Experience; is something you gain, just after you needed it most.

When faced with two choices, simply toss a coin. It works not because it settles the question for you. But because in that brief moment while the coin is in the air. You suddenly know what you are hoping for.
Community Veteran
Posts: 26,378
Thanks: 634
Fixes: 8
Registered: 10-04-2007

Re: I mean, does this annoy you?

Why is "blue-lighted" a problem? It conveys a lot of meaning in an unambiguous way that would otherwise take far more words. I doubt many people would fail to understand the meaning. It's a good example of organic growth of the language.
jelv (a.k.a Spoon Whittler)
   Why I have left Plusnet (warning: long post!)   
Broadband: Andrews & Arnold Home::1 (FTTC 80/20)
Line rental: Pulse 8 Home Line Rental (£13/month)
Mobile: iD mobile (£4/month)
James
Grafter
Posts: 21,036
Registered: 04-04-2007

Re: I mean, does this annoy you?

I erm quite a bit, but I'm fortunately not one of those that seem to add "like" every third word.
greyposter
Grafter
Posts: 235
Registered: 27-06-2007

Re: I mean, does this annoy you?

Two complaints.
1-When a studio news reader asks a reporter-"What do WE know?
2-Basically
Angry
Community Veteran
Posts: 16,848
Thanks: 1,135
Fixes: 13
Registered: 06-11-2007

Re: I mean, does this annoy you?

"excuse me, can you tell me how to get to ......?
respondent (aged anything between 14 and 30 (possibly 35)
Erm, yeah, well, you go to the lights, yeah?  , and then take a left, yeah ?  , then anothe right, yeah ?, carry on about two hundred meters, yeah ? , and then ask someone else, cos I can`t exactly remember, yeah? I mean, I`m not sure if that`s right, yeah?
That kind of "yeah" or  yes? after each short sentence..... really annoys me, yeah?
Cheesy
Community Veteran
Posts: 1,850
Registered: 11-08-2007

Re: I mean, does this annoy you?

'well, i mean, obviously, you know' was often the preface to nearly every question from an interviewer on television, so it's hardly surprising that this is passed on to the general population.
i'm more often tickled by the strange and intricate contortions of language i hear from those whose first language is not english, like my lovely neighbour who would apologise for leaving by saying ' i am very sorry, i am having to be going.'
verbal tics can be annoying, but for a language to stay alive, it must metamorphose and grow in directions that are not always easy on the ear.
bear up alanb.  it will get much worse as you get older. Smiley
pierre_pierre
Grafter
Posts: 19,757
Registered: 30-07-2007

Re: I mean, does this annoy you?

Having had my wife go into hospital 9 times in one year, I fully understand what the Expression and sentence  "Blue-lighted"  meant - yu know what I mean
Community Veteran
Posts: 38,251
Thanks: 937
Fixes: 56
Registered: 15-06-2007

Re: I mean, does this annoy you?

Going back a few years one that used to annoy me was when a politician was asked a difficult question the response started "The facts of the matter are" which to me meant that they were going to spout a pack of lies
Community Veteran
Posts: 6,111
Thanks: 1
Registered: 05-04-2007

Re: I mean, does this annoy you?

Quote from: alanb
Am I the only person who gets annoyed when people start a sentence (or sometimes a conversation) with "I mean"

Bear in mind though that sometimes beginning a sentence or clause with 'I mean' is perfectly valid - and I must admit I've never come across an example as bad as yours. I find it tends to be used a little like this:
Question: 'How was your holiday?'
Answer: 'It was Ok... I mean, it wasn't unenjoyable, but it wasn't great either.'
That might sound a little clumsy but I see no real problem with it: 'I mean' is being used to indicate that the speaker/writer wishes to elaborate upon the meaning of what they said.
Having said that, I did once notice when I was a bit nervous that I started prefixing a lot of things with 'I mean', and I realised it sounded stupid so I quickly curtailed it as soon as I realised I was doing it. Angry
Quote from: alanb
When I'm standing next to someone in a shop and they say something like: "Can I get 20 Bensons and a lottery ticket", it is quite obvious that they deserve to get a punch in the head

What's the problem with using 'get' in that situation? It makes lexical sense. I admit it's not the best word to use, but it's still valid in that the person using the word is asking to procure something. If anything, I'd say that the use of 'can' rather than 'may' is more problematic, although I accept that using 'can' in that fashion has become perfectly normal these days (indeed, I do it all the time when I'm not thinking).
alanb
Grafter
Posts: 459
Registered: 24-05-2007

Re: I mean, does this annoy you?

Quote from: jelv
Why is "blue-lighted" a problem? It conveys a lot of meaning in an unambiguous way that would otherwise take far more words. I doubt many people would fail to understand the meaning. It's a good example of organic growth of the language.

I'd agree that organic growth of the language is a good thing, but I don't think this is a good example. She could have said something like: [inmates are] "having to be taken to hospital by ambulance". It conveys the same meaning (that is: prisoners are being taken out of prison to go to hospital for treatment) and it's not excessively long either. However, the reason I found it odd is that I think it is an example of a desire to dramatise language unnecessarily, which we see all the time now.
alanb
Grafter
Posts: 459
Registered: 24-05-2007

Re: I mean, does this annoy you?

Quote from: artificer
bear up alanb.  it will get much worse as you get older. Smiley

Indeed - why call a spade a spade when everyone knows it's a personnel activated materials transfer implement.  Cheesy
alanb
Grafter
Posts: 459
Registered: 24-05-2007

Re: I mean, does this annoy you?

Quote from: pierre_pierre
yu know what I mean

Surely that should be "Naah wha aah meen".  Cheesy
alanb
Grafter
Posts: 459
Registered: 24-05-2007

Re: I mean, does this annoy you?

Quote from: Oldjim
Going back a few years one that used to annoy me was when a politician was asked a difficult question the response started "The facts of the matter are" which to me meant that they were going to spout a pack of lies

Another one they use a lot is "Look", followed by a brief pause which seems to imply impatience, but you just know they are probably thinking "Look, you moron, ...". I think the boy Blair started this one, he used to do it all the time and it was particularly annoying then, but they are all at it now.