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We all have them—those words that feel like fingernails scraping down a chalkboard every time we hear them. According to a survey conducted by Marist Poll, the top four are “Whatever,” “You know,” “Like,” and “Just sayin’.” But honestly, that’s not really fair because some people use “like” or “you know” as the equivalent of “umm.” It’s just filler when they can’t think of what they want to say fast enough, and we all have those moments, so it’s kind of hard to fault them for it. You know? There are, however, a lot of annoying phrases that we can control.

5 Just Sayin’

OK, I have to be honest here. I don’t really mind this one. Just sayin’. You know? But other people can’t stand it, almost as much as other people can’t stand hearing “you know,” so I pretty much had to include it here. I can’t really put “just sayin’” in the safe “just like ummm” category anyhow. But it has a really valid use: How else can you utter something that might be devastating or life-changing to another person, like “Your boyfriend is acting really crazy,” and then completely soften the blow with one phrase? Again…just sayin’.

4 Stat

It seems like this one just came out of nowhere, and suddenly it was everywhere. “Do it, stat!” “Call me, stat!” “I need your help, stat!” It really makes me want to scream. There’s disagreement on its origin: that it’s a medical term, that it’s short for the Latin phrase “statim” (meaning “immediately”), that it’s short for “photostat,” and that it’s an acronym for “sooner than already there.” You know, here’s the thing …if it’s useful in the ER, that’s cool. Let’s just leave it there instead of trying to resuscitate it into the real world.

3 LOL

I get how this is useful in texting. But it can reach overkill, especially when people use it as a response for almost everything. Since it means “laugh out loud,” I think it should only be used when you are actually laughing out loud—or when you would laugh out loud if not sitting in a crowded coffee shop surrounded by people, and worried that they’ll think you’re cray-cray if you just start cackling to yourself. In person, “LOL” should never be used…if it’s funny, just laugh.

2 My Bad

“My bad” is my personal fingernail scraper. I want to finish the sentence: “My bad what?” It was again popularized in “Clueless,” after being used in the NBA in the 1980s to indicate a bad pass. Whatever the origin, I just don’t like it. “My mistake” is much more heartfelt, and “Sorry” is way more effective. Sorry if you don’t agree!

1 Whatever

Gotta agree with this one. It got thrown into the spotlight in the ’90s with movies like “Clueless.” But that was, like, almost 20 years ago, you know? (Uh huh, I am using these annoying phrases on purpose.) The thing is, “whatever” is way overplayed, and usually indicates that somebody has nothing to say in response to an accusation or criticism. And it comes across kind of juvenile and unintelligent. So instead of “whatever,” let’s just say what we really feel.
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