10 words you need to stop using

Sometimes we type faster than we can think, and find ourselves using expressions without considering their worth.

But the words we use and the way we write reflect our brand and our communication exchanges.  So we need to make sure that what we say adds value to our brand name and doesn’t resort to meaningless clichés.

Here are the top 10 words that you should stop using (out of their appropriate context).

[10] Exclusive

Often used to make something sound expensive or unmissable.  If something is exclusive, it means it is available to a select and restricted few.  An offer that is available for days on end and that doesn’t pose evident barriers to entry is not exclusive.

[9] Epic

Epic may have a number of definitions, pertaining to poetry or to achievements of impressive proportions.  But irrespective of how much fun you had, last night can hardly have been epic.  Food is also never epic – not unless you’re older than 10 anyway.

[8] Unfortunately

Attributing circumstances to misfortune is dismissive, unprofessional and possibly highly irresponsible.  Advising customers that ‘Due to high demand you will unfortunately have to wait for longer’ is misleading.  There is nothing unfortunate about high demand.  If you’re a sensible shop owner you shall quite like high demand, and you’ll employ more people to deal with it.  And then customers won’t have to wait longer.  If you don’t, it is not down to misfortune, so please stop conveniently hiding behind it.

[7] Massive

Massive means very big.  It denotes size of an almost immeasurable and unquantifiable dimension.  It does not mean something is very good.  So your curry cooking skills cannot be massive, sorry.

[6] Awesome

Another word that has stuck in many people’s heads and cannot now get unstuck.  Repeat after me: Everything cannot be awesome.  The Great Barrier Reef is awesome.  Your brand new shoes are not, and I don’t care what a bargain they were.  Calling everything awesome robs away the magic from what is truly awesome, and nothing ends up being awesome after all.  If you want to be taken seriously, please stop using this word right now and grab a thesaurus to find an appropriate substitute.

[5] Amazing

One of those buzzwords the X Factor judges constantly prize their contestants with, perhaps because they are not aware of many other adjectives.  Something that leaves you gobsmacked in awe can be said to be amazing, because it causes amazement and disbelief in those who witness it.  In a world where everything is amazing, you’ll find the word you’re looking for is, most often, ‘remarkable’.

[4] Absolutely

There is very little need for this word and yet it is used and abused so much that it has been rendered almost completely meaningless.  Particularly cringe-worthy when placed just before ‘amazing’, X Factor judges please note.

[3] Actually

Another of those terms that some think they can nonchalantly drop into conversation thinking it adds value.  If you say you ‘actually went to the bank’ when there was no previous indication that you were going to do otherwise, then ‘actually’ is redundant.  It rarely adds value, so you’re better off leaving it out.

[2] Honestly/To be honest

Particular favourites of contestants on The Apprentice.  An over use of either of these may make you sound like you’re being honest in exclusively this instance.  Try being honest throughout and you can lose these once and for all.

[1] Literally

Possibly the most overused and most misunderstood word in English, and one of the most irritating.  Please listen carefully: Saying something literally happened means it did happen in actual fact.  It is not a word you can casually pepper your conversations with to accentuate or emphasise your discourse.  When you say you ‘literally died’ when your puppy got sick, you sound very silly – because here you are, fully alive and telling us all about it.  If you’re one to say that, don’t be upset if people ask you about reincarnation.

10 Words to Stop Using



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