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Grammar Experts Say, If You Want To Sound More Intelligent And Less Annoying, Try Avoiding These 15 Words

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I fell into this rut where I used bad grammar and catch phrases to be ironic, but then I caught myself actually falling into the trap of using them in real-life conversations. Not a good thing.

Want to sound less annoying and a little smarter –more age appropriate? There are a few key phrases and words that you should probably avoid.

Now, I’m definitely NOT a grammar expert. Yes, I have some pet peeves on the list. But, I had a lot of input from other managers, employers, and just everyday people.

Avoid These Words And Phrases If At All Possible To Sound Less Annoying

1) ‘It Is What It Is’

This was okay a couple years ago — they even used it every single week on Grey’s Anatomy. But, the phrase is tired and worn out.

Try to say something else — like maybe ‘Oh Well’ or ‘That’s Life’ or maybe even just shrug your shoulders.

Or, here’s a novel idea. Just don’t say anything. Let ‘what it is’ be ‘what it is’ without repeating the phrase.

2) ‘Influencer’

This used to actually mean something, back in the day. But now, anyone who has a couple followers can be considered an ‘Influencer.’ Companies may even throw them a few bucks to give their product some screen time.

I guess there isn’t really a word to replace ‘Influencer.’ But, be aware that people just throw the term around — it doesn’t necessarily mean much.

3) ‘New Normal’

This one grates on my nerves. We have all experienced a ‘new normal’ since the whole COVID thing. We don’t have to rehash it. Now, it’s just ‘normal.’

4) ‘I Did A Thing’

This term is WAY overdone. Anytime that someone does something a bit out of the ordinary — something unexpected — they say ‘I did a thing.’

Sure. You immediately know what it means. But, that doesn’t make it any less annoying and overused.

How about trying ‘Look what I decided to do’ or ‘What do you think?’

5) ‘At The Moment’

I’ll admit. This is one of the phrases I slip into casual conversation ALL THE TIME. That doesn’t make it okay. It’s still a tad bit annoying.

The phrase is like a crutch. It’s not needed, and can be completely left out of conversation.

6) ‘Shut Your Face’

I mean, this doesn’t even really make sense, does it? It’s semi rude and extremely annoying.

Try something like ‘No Way’ or ‘Really?’

7) ‘Mic Drop’

This phrase is WAY overdone and outdated. We all know what it means, but that doesn’t mean that we have to use it — constantly.

8) ‘Been There, Done That’

Condescending much? We get it. You’re experienced. You’re not being empathetic.

Just delete this phrase from your memory banks, and don’t use it.

Try not saying anything. Just let the other person talk. If you have to respond, try a plain ol’ nod of the head.

9) ‘Let’s Circle Back’

Oy. I’m having PTSD right now to every bad work meeting I’ve ever attended.

This phrase doesn’t make you sound smart and sophisticated. It’s just annoying.

Try ‘Let’s Come Back To That.’

10) ‘Let’s Connect’

We’ve all probably used this phrase, but it’s so impersonal. It really feels like you don’t really mean it.

Try not saying anything. Or, if you REALLY want to ‘connect’ with someone, how about something like ‘Let’s get together for coffee on Monday.’ Something SPECIFIC with a MEASURABLE time frame.

If you’re wanting to use it in a working environment, how about asking for a specific meeting. Don’t just say something ambiguous like ‘Let’s Connect.’

11) ‘Cautiously Optimistic’

On the surface, this phrase seems okay.

But, think about it. OF COURSE you are going to be cautious with what you do.

The phrase is used WAY too much. Think of something more creative.

12) ‘Zoom Meeting’

I have been confused by this phrase too MANY times. People use ‘Zoom Meeting’ interchangeably with other online meeting platforms.

Please! Don’t use ‘Zoom’ unless you are actually talking about the ZOOM platform.

13) ‘Let’s Unpack That’

I wish you could see me rolling my eyes right now. This is another overused work term that those corporate types love to throw around.

How about using ‘Let’s talk about that.’

This is by NO means a complete list. What phrases grate on your nerves and need to be added to the list?

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