The clumsy phrases you basically like, hate

Like some Crufts for ugly mongrels, hundreds of linguistic pet hates were sent in by readers yesterday. It started with a criticism by Noel Pepperall on Thursday's Letters page of draw down applied to withdrawal of troops from Iraq.

Chief among the breeds you loathe are empty speech-markers, equivalent to er, such as, basically, you know and I mean. Tudor Gwilliam-Rees counted Tony Blair saying "Y'know" 40 times during a Today radio interview.

Old clichés like at the end of the day are joined by new clichés, such as no brainer, iconic and inspirational.

Manners were found to enter into language when shop assistants say things like, "No problem", "No worries", "Cheers, mate" or "There you go." A reader called Chrissie complained online about a letter from Marks & Spencer beginning, "Hi, Mrs xxx".

David Llewellyn confessed online to Your View that he was guilty of saying, "Bear with me". "It eventually becomes an involuntary reaction, like yawning when somebody else yawns," he wrote.

Class crept into readers' hatreds, as in Eliza Doolittle's day (1913). Several readers disliked references to the ground outdoors as the floor. Others shivered at the pronunciation of the name of the letter H as "haitch". One pet hate is not verbal at all: a rising intonation at the end of spoken statements, as if they were questions. RW Burchfield, the editor of Fowler's Modern English Usage, some years ago located its origins in antipodean speech. It is now common among the under-thirties.

Also thriving among the young is the hated syntactic device of using like with a quoted exclamation as the equivalent of an adjective, such as, "I was like, 'Wow!' " to mean, "I was surprised."

A reader calling himself Ludovic Muggleton, perhaps a pseudonym, was among many to denigrate chill out. Older people are guilty, wrote another reader, if they now start using cool, never having used it in their youth.

A regular announcement on London Undergound infuriated one traveller: "Trains are not stopping at King's Cross in both directions." Surely, she reasoned, they're not stopping in either direction.

Injury seemed to be added to insult when words were misused by politicians. One that made readers extremely cross was refute, used as if it meant "reject".

Malcolm Hamer wrote from Barnes to ask a less narrowly linguistic question, "Why do politicians say they make things 'absolutely clear', when they don't?"

By the way, Crufts, founded by Charles Cruft, now spells itself without an apostrophe.

Part II

Telegraph readers have been naming and shaming some of the most irritating phrases to have insinuated themselves into the English language.

Mike Reynolds laments that "at this moment in time" has replaced "now", Andrew Hall is irked by "from the get go" and befuddled by "heads up" while Paul Codrington fails to see why "ramp up" should supersede "increase".

John Turner objects to "the workplace" as a substitute for being "at work" and "focused" used instead of "concentrating".

What is your opinion of the matter? Which phrases or expressions frustrate you the most?

Which is the worst culprit in terms of polluting the English language: business jargon, political verbosity, street slang or Americanisms?

Should we just accept irritating phrases as an inevitable part of the English language's evolution and "chill out"? Do you hate the phrase "chill out"?