9 Words I Wish People Would Stop Saying ...

There are hundreds of thousands of words in the English language, so why does it seem like we’re all using the same handful of words over and over again? You’d think as a writer my vocabulary would be much richer and more varied, but sadly, I find myself falling into the same few-words trap as everyone else… it has to stop! Here are 9 words I wish people (including me!) would stop saying…

1. Whatever

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Say this word to signal the end of a fight and see what happens — the fight takes on a whole new ferocity. I loathe this word. It’s used passive-aggressively to mean “I really do care, but I’m going to tell you I don’t just so we can fight some more” and it’s just oh-so-rude! I actually fired someone once because she said this while I was trying to reprimand her (very gently and kindly). Don’t “whatever” me!

2. Dude

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This is a word I hear constantly, being bandied about by guys in my college classes the way girls use the word “like.” Used occasionally, it’s not bad… but it can be over-used very easily, and rapidly become more than a minor annoyance. Not sure what I mean? Go to the mall, find a group of guys aged 13 to 30, follow them around, and just listen… see how many times, and how many ways, they use this word, and you’ll add it to your list of banished words too.

3. Like

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Though this word does have relevance in describing a number (as in, “he has, like, ten brothers), it’s terribly over-used. Like, a lot. Like, all the time. Like, it’s the only word the teen girls in my college classes can, like, use, like, you know? The art of conversation is, like, dead and stuff… and “like” might be, like, the reason why.

4. Fierce

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Fierce? Really? When did this come to mean anything other than a lion, tiger, or bear (oh my)? I admit I kind of liked hearing it at the X Games to describe a well-landed snowboarding trick, but… fierce? To describe a guy’s shoes or a paper you handed in? No. Stop it.

5. Hey

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This is no way to greet someone, but for some reason, that’s exactly how most of the e-mails and text messages and Facebook wall postings begin: HEY! Whatever happened to “hi” or, dare I ask, “hello”? Greeting someone with “hey” is fine in person, but I’m tired of hearing it shouted at me in written form. I’m starting a “hi” revolution… who’s with me?

6. Douche-bag

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I actually really liked the use of this word as a slur, until it became over-used. It was effective, implying both ignorance and general annoyance with humor. I’ve used it on several occasions to describe my ex-husband to my friends — it was very fitting — but now I’m just tired of it. We need to come up with a new insult. Any ideas?

7. The F-word

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There are actually two F-words I wish people would stop using. The first is the classic F-word, the one that rhymes with “duck” and is used as a verb, noun, and adjective. It’s used with such frequency you’d think our English language was lacking any other verbs, nouns, and adjectives… and it’s foul, anyway! The second F-word is just plain hateful, used as a slur… to me it’s almost as offensive as the N-word, which people should also stop using.

8. Gay

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This bothers me like no other word. Whenever I heard young people (especially guys, for some reason), using this word, I want to pull a Wanda Sikes and tell them they’re being so “boy.” It makes even the hottest, most intelligent guy sound like a hateful, ignorant drunken frat boy… I really, really wish people would stop using this as a slur!

9. Awesome

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You know what? Not everything is “awesome” … but you’d certainly think it was with as often as people use this word. They use it to describe everything, from the F they got on an English paper to their dad’s open heart surgery to the steak they had at dinner last night. No! The F in English was awful, dad’s open heart surgery went well, and… maybe the steak was tasty, but did it inspire awe? Probably not.

Once I started writing this list, I wanted to keep going and going… it was hard to stop after just nine! Which of these words do you hate most, or is there another word you, like, totally don’t think is awesome? Please, like, share!

Top image source: celebrity-oz.com

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