Thoughts From A Grammar Nerd On “Whatever,” “Cool” And “Word”

As an avid lover of all things literary, I’m a massive dork when it comes to communicating. If a guy can argue with me about grammar, discuss Oscar Wilde, and quote Hemingway, it’s basically all I can do to stay in my pants. Words are hot. Use them. Correction: use them correctly. Text-speak has made it virtually impossible to get turned on anymore IRL, yet there are a few words that actually send icy chills of hatred down my spine. Gchat conversations can lead to romance. Think about that the next time you’re typing, and please, do everything in your power to avoid these three words/phrases.

“Whatever”

What? Ever. Do not use this word. Just, don’t. It not only makes you sound like a moron, it also comes off as the most passive-aggressive word known in virtual conversations. Let’s break it down. When you say the word “what,” you’re inevitably asking a question. Okay, so, the word “ever” means always, or something continuous. So you’re basically stating that you’re in a continuous state of confusion. This is not sexy. This is so not sexy, in fact, that it makes me want to immediately cease communication with you, and make you “never show” on Gchat. However, even if I really like you and try to get past your occasional whatever-bomb, there’s still something holding me back: hello, passive aggressiveness. Whatever implies you’re bored, or indifferent, or have a lack of anything wittier to say. If you’re bored with me or indifferent to my magical musings, you suck. If you have a lack of anything witty to say to me, say anything else but “whatever.” Say “I really have nothing imperative to add here, so I’m going to go take a 5-hour energy, because I can feel the drain-suck my brain is having on this conversation and I realize I’m dangerously toeing the line of being permanently blocked from further communication.”

“Cool.”

Cool with a period is also super passive-aggressive. Again, you have no paramount ponderings to throw into our conversation, so you cop-out and say “cool.” No, you’re not cool. You’re being lame and you’re making me irrationally irritable. I want to like you, but you make it oh so impossible when you litter such frustrating phrases into our chats. Do you actually want to be talking to me, because it doesn’t seem like it. Also, what’s up with the period?? The word “cool,” when used casually, clearly indicates that whatever I just said was indeed super uncool and that I’m boring you. Throwing in the period is just an extra “fuck you.” Really? We’re there? Punctuation is awesome, but not here. Don’t use it unless you want me to think you hate me, and therefore suck. Because I will.

“Word”

Really, brah? The ennui that exists from too much screen-time has depleted all of your creative energy so now you can’t even pick an actual word to say to me. Not only does saying “word” make you sound illiterate, it also makes you sound like a bored, egotistical prick. Congratulations, we’re no longer friends and you’ve officially been blocked.

Cool. TC mark

image – Brett Jordan

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  • http://fwp.me Calvin Camus

    Cool story, bro!

    • Liz

      can you tell it again, do you have time?

  • P4k

    2.8/10

  • heehee

    word, this article is mad cool- so WHATEVER, haters.

  • permafried

    all i learnt from this is that the writer is irritable and petty and someone i would never like to meet ever

  • Sippycup

    “Makes you sound ‘bored’, ‘passive-agressive’ ‘like an egotistical prick’.” Stop being so sensitive. Sometimes cool just means cool.

  • Anni

    so you identify as a grammar nerd in the title of the post, then include a grammatical error in sentence one. nice

  • Stefan

    “When you say the word “what,” you’re inevitably asking a question.”

    I don’t know what to wear. I know what to do! I know what it feels like to have icy chills of hatred sent down my spine when someone trying to assert his or her personal linguistic vision makes up some absurd, false absolute.

  • tori

    HAHA, thank you for writing this. I literally am explaining my annoyance with these same three passive-aggressive phrases to my friends on a daily basis. At least I know I’m not alone. 

    • Jack

      Do you *mean* literally? Everyday? The same three?

    • Anonymous

      Should be “I am literally explaining” because the adverb “literally” is used to modify “explaining” not “am.” 

    • http://staugustinian.wordpress.com/ STaugustine

      Grammar Nazis who err, grammatically, while correcting others (or bragging about the practise) are a valuable comedy-resource.

      “At least I know I’m not alone.”

      Yes, there are many like you.

      • tori

        What part of my post qualifies me as a “Grammar Nazi” might I ask? I was not commending the authors use of grammar, so why criticize mine? Trust me, I know it’s far from perfect.

  • Guest

    I think you have a valid point. Noncommittal
    conversation fillers are annoying to wade through; however; you come off as
    petty—automatically assuming passive-aggressiveness to be the other person’s motive—and also as constantly entitled to interesting, thought provoking conversation from
    everyone graced by your presence. The world unfortunately doesn’t live up to
    your standards, and one emotionally charged article isn’t going to change that. 

    I apologize if this is not properly grammatically formatted, but perfection isn’t my strong suit—or anyone’s for that matter. 

  • Jvanor2

    “What” can be used in reference to a specific idea or object such as “What a house” or “What a hashtag.”

    “Ever” can mean “in any possible way or manner.”

    So you’re expressing apathetic decision. Take off those pants, sweetheart.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1363230138 Michael Koh

    cool.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1415031788 Sharif Youssef

    TMI is also pretty bad because not only is it dumb and practically illiterate, it’s a shame phrase. The worst is that dumb-ass faux-existential expression, “It is what it is.”

  • Whatever

    You know who really sounds like a “bored, egotistical prick”?
    Ding ding ding

  • ryan chang

    not sure why a dude saying ‘word’ makes him sound ‘bored’ and ‘egotistical.’ it’s just internet speak. i don’t know. whatever. cool.

  • douchegirl

    This article makes you sound a little entitled but I do agree with the one word and period hatred. 

    The worst of the worst? “K.” 

  • http://twitter.com/laputanwmachine Thomas Johnson

    “Congratulations, we’re no longer friends and you’ve officially been blocked.”

    and nothing of value was lost

  • damo

    WORD.

  • Total Betty

    Oh dear. It’s obvious that some of you are embarrassed that Hannah called you out on your douchey ways.

  • Adolf Hipster

    Meh.

  • margaret

    using “cool.” or “whatever.” in an argument situation is the lamest thing ever, WORD!!!!!!!!!!

  • TCarticlesinonesentence

    If you aren’t the same as me, I can’t be bothered talking to you. 

  • Michael Lynch

    I use ‘Cool.’ to convey what you’ve described but to a lesser degree. It isn’t meant to be as harsh as you’ve described. To me it means ‘Yeah, what you just said is pretty cool but I’m not familiar with it or I don’t particularly take an interest in it and therefore I have no meaningful commentary on the subject.’ I sometimes say it to the best of friends because although we share a lot of similar interests, we’re also all very different people.

  • Michael Lynch

    I use ‘Cool.’ to convey what you’ve described but to a lesser degree. It isn’t meant to be as harsh as you’ve described. To me it means ‘Yeah, what you just said is pretty cool but I’m not familiar with it or I don’t particularly take an interest in it and therefore I have no meaningful commentary on the subject.’ I sometimes say it to the best of friends because although we share a lot of similar interests, we’re also all very different people.

  • xra

    i agree with the first two, but saying  “word” is a great way to agree w/ someone

  • guest

    girl get over yourself

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