5 Lazy Words We Have To Stop Using

The world is a busy place, and it can be hard to get people’s attention. In response, we’ve started to overstate reality to compensate. Few people want to look at “21 pleasant photographs that will make you feel slightly better for 30 seconds.” Instead, we need “21 pictures that will restore your faith in humanity.” That’s silly. So much is so overstated these days it’s hard to take anyone — or anything — seriously. Here, a list of some hyperbolical words and phrases worth reconsidering and less exaggerated ways to stay the same thing.

Nothing

From a philosophical perspective, nothingness is pretty profound. Imagine our complex, vibrant, dynamic universe originating from… nothing. Does nothingness really exist? I’m hardly qualified to give you an opinion either way. If it does though, it probably deserves more consideration than casually using it in conversations like, “Nothing is better than Wendy’s chicken nuggets.” Sure, they are good. But, “nothing” is better? Stop it. Perhaps we should get in the habit of using the phrase “game-changer.” Game-changer is, well, a game-changer in the way we express admiration for something. Had someone told me, “Friend, these chicken nuggets are a game-changer,” I’d be intrigued. To verify the validity of this statement, I’d need to do a quick Wiki search on the history of chicken nuggets, analyze the current state of the chicken nugget industry, and predict how Wendy’s chicken nuggets will dictate the course of the future of chicken nuggets. This takes time. But, by using the word “gamechanger,” I’ll have to take your word for it that you know all of these variables. I’ll leave our conversation respecting both your intellect and preference of mechanically separated chicken. Listen, whenever the universe gives you a chance to drop “game-changer” into a conversation, grab it. Just like I have in this paragraph.

Millions (or Billions or Zillions)

Interested in describing all the ways your significant other sucks? Fire away. But if you’re really going to convince me there are one million ways why they suck, at least let me get a drink first. Now, had you said “There are 22 reasons my girlfriend sucks,” I would still have little interest in hearing them. But, I’d be more inclined to believe that you actually took the time to count out the ways, and that they totaled 22. Of course, after reaching about 17, you probably should have figured you aren’t dating Mr. or Mrs. Wonderful.

Only

Why do we have such a need to be different? Let’s be honest. In a world of a few billion, you probably aren’t the only person who imagines having sex with Alex Trebek. Especially in the Western world, people really aren’t that different. We all grew up watching the same shows, idolizing the same celebrities and longing for the same snacks in our lunch boxes. Being different is admirable. But don’t be so fast to give yourself that much credit.

Thankfully, the Matrix of 21st century life has given us a window to view just how connected we truly are. It’s called Twitter. The beautiful thing about the social networking site is that whatever thought you have or thing you’ve seen, someone else has tweeted about it. Regardless of whether you search “Girl Jeopardy lisp” or “Lebron Hairline sucks” or “Chris Bachelorette weird,” there are already tweets from dozens of others who’ve noticed the same thing you did. In this way, Twitter is an oracle of mundane observations that are shared by the masses. The next time you think you are the only person seeing what you’re seeing or feeling what you’re feeling, log onto Twitter and reconnect to the hive. You’re not going anywhere.

Always

One of the fastest ways someone can annoy me is by using the phrase “always.” As a decent-to-good but situationally sucky boyfriend, this word is lobbed at me way more than I’d like to admit. Here’s a common complaint. “Robert, why do you ALWAYS ignore me?” I usally first turn down the volume on my iPod and ask said accuser to repeat her question. Then I’ll instantly protest. First, dropping “always” makes everyone instantly defensive. That’s unproductive. But the mind-boggling part of the word is that it’s almost always unnecessary. I don’t have to do something wrong all the time for it to be a problem. Eighteen percent of the time is plenty bad. So just say that. Or simply ask, “Should I give you and Fiona Apple some time alone?” I’d say “Actually, that’d be great.” If they decide to stick around after said admission, that’d be great too.

Best

In our politically correct world where everything lives in a shade of grey and everyone looks for ways in which everyone else will agree with them, I don’t mind people making definite statements. For example, I believe Lea Michele is the best singer of our generation. While I think it’s accurate, it’s a statement that really means nothing. I’ve taken her subjective art and evaluated it on a subjective standard no one can ever truly disprove. The standard by which you disagree is equally as subjective and thus equally impossible to refute, keeping us at square one. Some people enjoy this kind of endless squabbling with no conceptual end. I don’t. It’s silly. Embrace your ability to have a preference without needing to justify it to others while putting something else down. Feel free to like Jennifer Hudson. Feel free to like Adam Lambert. Are they the best singers? Maybe. Maybe not. That label is relatively worthless. Unless, you agree with me. In that case, you’ve got great taste. TC mark

image – Rick Hanzelin

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  • lefty

    You lost me at “nothing.”

  • Sam

    i would argue that there is a pretty substantial difference between “nothingness” and “nothing.”
    Additionally, from aspects both technical and artistic, Lea Michele is FAR from
    the best singer of our generation…

  • http://www.behance.net/mruiz Mari

    You forgot “Literally” but other than than, I totally agree.

    • Claire

      like, literally

  • http://gravatar.com/hfirkser Haley

    “So much is so overstated these days it’s hard to take anyone — or anything — seriously.”

    Why not “5 Lazy Words We Should Stop Using?”

  • tmreturns

    It must be a new trend for people nitpick phrases and words of the people around them. I have a friend who can’t stand for someone to say “I hate…” another who can’t tolerate the word “um” or “like”. My mother dislikes the word “swear” and now here’s a list of 5 more I’m apparently annoying someone with.
    I refuse to restructure my vocabulary every month. Kindly get over it.

    • http://www.facebook.com/oliveramiller Oliver Miller

      My friend Tiffany freaks out when someone says “as well,” which I say all the time, and I find her hate to be a little mystifying. I guess she thinks it’s pretentious to say that when you could just say “also,” but I can’t stop saying “as well,” so. I don’t know why I felt the need to share this story, but there it is.

  • Rishtopher

    I actually don’t understand why people get so annoyed with hyperbole. I mean, these are so common that I actually can’t understand why it would bother people.

    I think the one that people need to look out for is “literally”. I find it annoying because it just gives me the impression that they don’t know what it means when they say it.

  • nightshaye

    Where is “like”???

  • http://twitter.com/heronkady10 Kady Heron (@heronkady10)

    I’d love to say “millions” a million times…LOL!
    Saving Thousands of People Hundreds of Dollars a month. Join the club today. Just click -> http://www.saversclub.us

  • claire

    The weird awesome should be on this list.

  • http://gravatar.com/paintthinnr Rachel

    Interesting. From this list it seems you require very specific data in conversations. What if I do really like the chicken nuggets, but don’t want to be bothered to gather the necessary data to know that we have indeed come across a game changer? I still want to express to you that you should try these wonderful new meat blobs, but just saying I really enjoy them is rather dull, and you aren’t likely to remember. It just seems like a rather pointless expressed opinion.

    But if I say they are the BEST, well that’s clearly still an opinion, but now we’ve got some passion behind it! So long as I don’t say they’re “literally” the best, I think it should be taken with a grain of salt. But again, not literally, as chicken nuggets are already very high in sodium.

  • assssss

    Or, as a bonus, the phrase “I can’t…”

  • queenbatsheba

    You missed, ‘stuff’.

  • Isabel

    Beyoncé is the greatest singer of our generation.

  • Boolio

    You forgot Kissper, where you softly kiss someone’s neck while whispering nothings into their ear. If you’re going to get rid of “nothing” then you might as well lose kisspering as well.

  • Madelyn

    This is great – as a frequent conversationalist who gets in a rut of using the same ole same ole in my sentences, I needed this wake-up call and analysis of these over-used phrases.
    Also, shout out to Robert: go Elon!

  • hi

    if i could kill a word it would be “awkward” it is so overused and annoying

  • Ashley Oliver

    I absolutely love your argument for the word “best.” It articulates very well how the word should be viewed as an adjective conveying opinion rather than fact when used to describe subjective matters.

  • A. Hood

    Only a sith deals in absolutes.

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