The results are in. The public has selected the most-spoken phrases of the past millennium--the ones that were used more often than any others in the past 1,000 years. The winner, and the phrase spoken most frequently, was "I love you."
There was a controversy among the judges about whether people who said it and didn't mean it could be counted. A poll was conducted and it revealed that 51 percent of the population were sincere when they uttered it, and only 49 percent said they didn't really mean it. The 49 percent admitted they said it only when they wanted a favor from the other person.
The survey also indicated that some people who said "I love you" on Tuesday felt they were not necessarily committed on Friday.
But what made it the most uttered set of words is that during the past 1,000 years people still wanted to hear it whether they believed it or not.
Another reason it was a winner is that songwriters through the ages found that love songs sold the best, so they kept sticking love into their lyrics, even if they had to rhyme love with glove, dove and above.
The other reason it beat out the competition is that "I love you" was easy to say in any language. Whether you were a native in New Guinea or an Inuit in Alaska, "I love you" was the thing people would die for the most.
While "I love you" was the winner hands down, there were many interesting runners-up.
One that was in the top 10 was "I hate you." This phrase came sometime after the person changed his mind about having said "I love you." One of the reasons it was used so frequently is that children kept saying it to their parents when they could not get what they wanted.
These were the other contenders--not in a class with "I love you," but still heard 'round the world.
"I didn't do it" has been used for 1,000 years, even by a president of the United States. As a matter of fact, every leader during the millennium has uttered it to cover up his mistakes.
Another one that originally was heard in the Dark Ages and continued afterward was "Trust me." It has been used by politicians, lawyers, doctors, clergymen, investigative reporters and commentators on TV.
Other things people said that will go down in history:
"I'm on a diet." This tied in the voting with the expression "It's fat-free."
"I didn't know it was loaded" became popular as soon as guns were introduced to the human race.
"The check is in the mail" didn't make it because this phrase did not come into its own until checking accounts were invented. The same logic goes for "I hope to win the lottery."
I don't know what people will be saying in the upcoming millennium except possibly "My computer is down."
As for me, I'd like to mark the end of the 1,000 years I have been writing this column by saying to all my readers, "I love you."
(C) 1999, Los Angeles Times Syndicate