(Cross the T’s and Dot the I’s is an annoying business term and is just one of the 212 Most Annoying Business Phrases Managers Effuse, Confuse, and Overuse detailed in the hilarious must-have guide for every workplace: The 30,000-Pound Gorilla in the Room. Available right now on Amazon.)
Cross the T’s and Dot the I’s
First, if you ever hear someone explaining how they need to cross the t’s and dot the i’s, you should snicker on the inside, as this overused, annoying saying was originally “dot the i’s and cross the t’s.”
No less annoying when uttered correctly, just interesting so many people screw it up. The origin of this saying is in doubt, though we subscribe to the school of thought that this originated in school.
That is, it was advice provided by teachers of grammar school students to be certain the kids remembered to dot their i’s and cross their t’s when writing in cursive. (For the Millennials and Gen Zs enjoying this tome, cursive writing is something we did in the olden days.)
Of course, when writing in cursive, the i’s and t’s are written without their respective dots and crosses until the writer reaches the end of a word. The writer must then pick up his or her pen or pencil from the paper and go back to dot their i’s and/or cross their t’s. Without doing so, the reader wouldn’t know if a vertical line in a word was supposed to be an i, an l, a t, or something else.
Since cursive is no longer taught in America’s schools – and since those who overuse this phrase are no longer in school – let’s agree to stop saying it altogether. With virtually every document of any importance having been created on a computer for more than three decades, there is no need to remind anyone to cross the t’s and dot the i’s ever again. Doing so just makes you sound silly.
Replacement phrases: Complete the paperwork; Verify everything; Ensure the details are correct; Be precise
See also: How the Sausage is Made
The 30,000-Pound Gorilla in the Room is available on Amazon