There are a few things that make me wince when I find them in people's writing. Overuse of adverbs in speech tags is one. For myself, in dialogue, I'm happiest with the almost invisible 'said'. I can accept that sometimes a judicious adverb is useful for emphasis or characterisation, but I prefer them kept to a minimum.
I'm reading a thriller whose author can't write a line of dialogue without an adverb, and it makes me want to scream. Nobody ever simply says anything. They interrupt disdainfully, ask drowsily, interpose haughtily (yes, honestly, I'm not making this up), and murmur uneasily, but they rarely just talk to each other. So there are passages like this (characters' names changed to protect the innocent author):
'Filth,' said Liz blankly.
'Muck,' elaborated Beauchamp helpfully. 'Dirt. Sewage. You know.'
'I know,' replied Liz distantly.
I think it's lazy writing, because - used in this quantity - adverbs don't really enable us to see, feel or understand the characters. I find actions are often more helpful here. Try this:
'Filth.' Liz looked blank.
'Muck.' Beauchamp touched Liz's elbow to try to gain her attention. 'Dirt. Sewage. You know.'
'I know.' Liz gazed into the middle distance, her eyes unfocused.
I'm not trying to pass that off as Grate Litrachur (after all, it was written by Moi) but I think characters develop more depth and are more engaging if we 'see' what they're doing, rather than being fed shorthand adverb codes. It's harder to write but more rewarding (for me at least) to read.
(Another one from this thriller (and I haven't changed the character's name in this one; you'll see why) was: 'Thank you very much,' said Michael flatly. That made me giggle. The thriller was published in 2004, by which time Mr F had been well known for at least 10 years. Even if the author hadn't thought of it - and I know how easy it is to miss such things - surely her agent, or her publisher, or her editor, or her mum or someone could have spotted it?)
So that's one of my betes noire. Another is the use of the word 'indescribable,' as in 'her expression was indescribable.' Nooooooo, you're a writer, for goodness' sake, it's your job to describe her expression, or his injuries, or the view! And, in fiction, 'it was impossible to imagine...', or its equivalent(s), also has me gnashing my teeth. There can be a place for this one in non-fiction, mostly in direct reporting of experience, as in 'It was impossible for me to imagine the tribespeople's lives before I visited their island.' It would also work in fiction if applied to a character who has a lack of imagination. But, generally, published writers of fiction hope or expect to earn their living by describing things they imagine. So it seems to me that they should be able to imagine and describe those things. For sure it's difficult - but simply saying something can't be described, or imagined, is a monumental cop-out.
Your turn - what enrages you when you see it on a page? (Answers such as 'squashed fly', 'dried bogey' etc will not be accepted.)