…if you want to be taken seriously.
The words you choose will determine how others evaluate your intellect. It matters in almost any interaction you have outside of a close personal relationship. This includes your workplace and any interaction with someone you don’t know well. I’m not going to address all of the filler words, “um, like, I mean, you know”, etc. Watch for overuse of slang at all times – but here are 5 words in particular that you should avoid if you want to be taken seriously intellectually.
Unless you’re talking about a vacuum cleaner or a nursing baby, of course. I’m referring to its use as a synonym for “is/are bad”. This word is a favorite of those among the over-30 crowd trying to sound young and hip. 51 year-old Twitter CEO Dick Costolo wrote in a recent internal memo “We suck at dealing with abuse and trolls on the platform and we’ve sucked at it for years.” Um, okay Dick, very eloquent and inspiring. (Perhaps he tweeted the memo and was character-limited.) Even if you’re not mindful of the origins of that particular usage of the word , it’s not very descriptive and does not make you sound intelligent and thoughtful. Better to use a more grown-up word, especially in your professional life. Note this also applies to suck’s counterpart, blow.
Various forms of the word “hate” (e.g. “hate speech”) have become greatly overused and overloaded with meaning, and the usage of “hater” may be the most egregious intellectually. The two most common definitions of “hater” are: “someone who disagrees with me” and “someone who criticizes me”. When you use this word, it sounds like a claim of victimhood, an appeal for sympathy. The office colleague who didn’t like your idea of a holiday underwear gift exchange is probably not deserving of this label.
This is most painful to hear repeatedly as a form of address or interjection, as in “Dude, where’s my thesaurus?” It’s more acceptable when used as a synonym for “man”, as long as it’s not overused, e.g. “That dude knows what he’s doing” “Dude” is less formal than “man” or “guy”, so it should be usually be used in less formal situations. The same rules also apply to dude’s cousins, bro and bruh.
Of course, I mean when used to dismiss or disregard what someone has said. If you have an objection or argument to make, be as specific and as polite as the situation allows. “Whatever!” simply means “I don’t want to hear it!” and is not an intelligent rebuttal.
As in “She was like, I was like” as opposed to “She said, or I said”. A hard habit to break, I know.
Some of you may be howling in protest over this list, but consider the benefits of sounding like the most intelligent and least shallow person in the room. It will be, like, so awesome, bruh!