This is a plea for abandonment of an irritant that infests the English language. The phrase is “if you will.” Just now on a news program, an economic spokesman for one of the US presidential candidates (which one doesn’t matter; this is not a political comment) said, “if you will” nine times in the course of a ten-minute interview. In not one of those instances did “if you will” clarify, explain or inform. It only muddied understanding and interrupted thought. I think that I’ll adopt the practice of a friend. Whenever someone he’s speaking with says, “if you will,” he interrupts with, “I won’t.”
Two editors of The Daily Telegraph in London have corraled several hundred language misusages and obfuscations into a delightful little volume titled She Literally Exploded: The Daily Telegraph Infuriating Phrasebook. Sample entries:
They, them, their Instead of he, him, his/she, her. A failure of pronouns to agree with verbs is a glaring grammatical error, but is embraced to avoid specifying sex: The caller withheld their number.
Basis Used to form a cumbersome adverbial phrase instead of an adverb: on a daily basis, instead of daily; on a voluntary basis, instead of voluntarily.
Concerns After the stabbing, teachers’ representatives voiced concerns over classroom discipline.