Lazy Speaking

Posted by Nancy Mueller on Monday, February 7th, 2011
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In his book Damp Squid: The English Language Laid Bare, author Jeremy Butterfield cites ten of our most over-used expressions:

  1. “At the end of the day”
  2. “Fairly unique”
  3. “I personally think”
  4. “At this moment in time”
  5. “With all due respect”
  6. “Absolutely”
  7. “It’s a nightmare”
  8. “Shouldn’t of”
  9. “24/7”
  10. “It’s not rocket science.”

While we’re on the topic, may I add my own bug-a-boos to the list?

  • “stuff”
  • “interesting”
  • “Enjoy!”
  • “like, whatever” (individually and/or together)
  • “You know” (Sorry, Caroline)
  • “Look, . . . “ (at the start of a sentence)
  • “So”
  • “wanna”
  • “gonna”
  • “dunno”
  • “hafta”
  • “gotta”
  • “right?” (often tagged onto the end of a phrase to assume the listener’s buy-in)

What’s on your list of over-used words and phrases to avoid? Send me an e-mail with your own pet-peeve word choices.

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2 responses to “Lazy Speaking”

  1. Linda Keith says:

    The one I have to constantly be aware of is ‘sort of’. I find that if I am searching for the right word I slip ‘sort of’ in the pause.

    It comes across as sloppy thinking, at least when I do it.

    • nancymueller says:

      Thanks for sharing the words that trip you up, Linda! We all have words that we fall back on, especially under stress. The first step is awareness, and I’ll bet you find you’re using ‘sort of’ less often now that you’re conscious of doing so.

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