My Least Favorite Phrase

By Frank the Man | Mar 09, 2010

If my favorite phrase is 'pitchers and catchers report today to spring training' (which is spoken on only one day each year), then the phrase I most detest is one we hear every day, frequently without realizing it.

I don't object to its use in casual conversation.

But when folks in the media use it, it drives me nuts to the point that I can't help but repeat the words out loud, in knee-jerk fashion.

Those who have been loyal readers of this blog since its inception (two webmasters and two designs ago) know where this is heading. But given that most of this space's previous posts have dissolved into nothingness and are lost forever, and given that every item I write here ends with the phrase in question, it seems timely to re-introduce the readers to my Least Favorite Phrase.

The phrase is.......... 'there's no question about it'.

You'll hear it several times a day on the radio or TV, spoken by announcers, commentators, and pundits who must be getting paid by the word, if not by the hour.

Most often, it's used as a simple (but more lengthy) form of stating agreement, when, frankly, a simple 'yes' or 'I agree' would work.

It's annoying enough to me to hear somebody say The Phrase when a simple 'yes' would work.

But the usage of The Phrase that really sends a creepy crawl up my spine is when somebody (again, usually on TV or radio) expresses an opinion, then follows it up with The Phrase, as if to imply 'who are you to disagree with the opinion I have just expressed?'.

Maybe it's a sixties/defying authority thing still lingering inside me, but when I hear somebody tell me I can't question what was just said, my immediate reaction is to question it.

I began to notice this phenomenon relatively recently while watching a football game on TV.

Early in the 2004 college football season, USC's Reggie Bush zigged and zagged his way to a long touchdown run. The color man in the booth, a former USC player named Petros Papadakis, gushed that Bush was 'the most electrifying player in all of college football, there's no question about it'.

I found myself immediately trying to come up with at least one other college player who could be thought of as being equally electrifying as Bush. It took me about two seconds to recall that the previous New Years Day, Texas showcased (in the Rose Bowl Game against Michigan) their QB Vince Young, who ran for SIX touchdowns that day (albeit against the plodding, trudging, lead-foot Wolverines from the Big Ten).

It occurred to me that Vince Young was a pretty damn exciting football player, and still active as a college player (boy howdy, as his team's win over USC in the so-called National Championship Game later that season would attest).

And it occurred to me that Papadakis, our announcer who expressed an opinion that I wasn't supposed to question, was simply a pompous blowhard.

(Papadakis is the same announcer who, several years later, demonstrated his mastery of the language again by telling fans that 'UW quarterback Jake Locker has the unique ability to use his feet and move his legs'.)

To this day, whenever I hear somebody say the words 'there's no question about it', I can't help myself, I say the words aloud, with gusto (even if I'm alone), if only to call attention in my own way to the bluster being spewed over the airwaves.

And I add it as a tagline to the end of each of these blogs, with tongue in cheek, as if to call attention to just how idiotic a phrase it is.

Keep your ears peeled and your antenna up.

Chances are you'll hear the phrase too many times to count in the next week.

Perhaps it will start to drive you crazy.

Because it sure as hell does me.

There's no question about it.


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