5 Everyday Words That Are Making You Look Stupid

By Amanda Meadows on 13 January 2015 14 comments

We use so many words to get us through basic conversation, and we often think very little about how they make us look (like these 10 words corrupting the smartest of us). Let's make correcting our speech an easy New Year's resolution! Let's start with five everyday words that are making you look stupid.

1. "Seriously"

Let's cut to the chase here. If you're really serious about something, just use earnest language. Starting a thought with "seriously" will totally undercut your meaning. In other words, using "seriously" now signals the opposite — that you are not serious about yourself or what you say.

2. "Unique" or "Creative"

Your parents are most likely to fall into this trap, so don't do this to yourself! People tend to say something is "really unique" or "very creative" when they don't understand what they're looking at but want to sound nice. These are phrases that somehow manage to make you look both ignorant and condescending, without providing any useful feedback. The worst part is that all of this is wholly obvious to the recipient.

3. "Actually"

Mansplainers, please find a new word. "Actually" is a great way to tell someone that you think what you are saying is a fact, when it's usually an opinion, speculation, or interpretation of someone else's findings. If you want to correct someone, try talking to them like a person, not like an armchair professor without the credentials. "Actually" is not only a crutch, but a signal to others to stop listening.

4. "Awesome"

It's time to cut all those excessive superlatives from our vocabularies. Describing things, people, and places as "awesome" or "totally rad" or "way cool" all the time betrays a lack of adjectives in your arsenal. With too much use, you could also appear immature and lacking in perspective. If everything is awesome or it sucks, are you capable of observing nuance in the world? Your friends certainly won't think so.

5. "Random"

Our everyday lives are mostly a sequence of cause and effect, right? Calling something or someone "random" on its face is a meaningless comment. Is what you witnessed absurd, surreal, or otherwise strange? Attempt to describe it without calling it "random," which makes you sound like a teenager. There's nothing worse than discussing a topic with someone who displays zero points of reference or bases for comparison.

Any other words to add to this list? Please share in comments!

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Guest's picture
Ellie

I like the list, but this article would have been worthwhile to read had there been suggestions of alternative words to use. Perhaps a follow-up article would be helpful.

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Guest

and definitely don't forget "definitely"!

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Guest

According to whom?

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Guest

My DW watches HGTV sometimes to help her sleep. The Bozo househunters have a minimal working vocabulary, as I counted three "awesome" and five "oh wow" exclamations in ten minutes during one segment (I was trying to read a book). Heaven save us from the vocabulary-challenged.

Guest's picture
Guest

Seriously, can't you think of anything else to write about?!

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That one girl

Seriously? I totally thought this unique article was gonna be awesome, but actually, it's just so random.

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AndrewCCM

"LIKE"

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Nanofish

Anybody that says "of course" when not knowing anything about the subject.....is not awesome.

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Sharon O'Connor

Absolutely also has to go.

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Guest

Cool, dude, like, ya know, hey

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Guest

"Ya-know"

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Guest

Cool! Way too cool.

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Guest

Perfect is another word very overused today. Right alongside of awesome!

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Guest

No menoon of literally?

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Thea

Thanks for these tips. I learned something new :) I sometimes use "seriously" when I am being sarcastic with a very close friend or family member.