Words I’ve Erased From My Vocabulary

[ originally posted Oct 31, 2009 @ 6:51, as “10 Words YOU MUST Erase from your Vocabulary” ]

Almost a year ago I received an email about article writing, which itself was presented an example of good article writing. (Most of these American “gurus” are known for blowing their own trumpets.)

As a result of this email, I was inspired to find out whether other people, as well as myself, had elected to remove certain words from their vocabulary. I came across one such article by a woman named Barbara Henry, who explains which ten words she’s “removed”.

For those who’d prefer not to read her article, these are the words she suggests we stop using:

  • can’t
  • but
  • should
  • maybe
  • soon/later
  • someday
  • never
  • won’t
  • if
  • try

For the most part I agree with those choices: if you think about them (and most people really don’t) they are potentially harmful if used habitually.

I’ve also found that the uses of these words are often dishonest and manipulative. Joseph Matthews (aka the PUA “Thundercat”) mentions in his book, The Art of Approaching, that “can’t” actually means won’t.
Thinking about an incident with one particular recruitment agent who refused to put me forward for a role, that statement rings true.

I have four words that I’ve personally erased from my vocabulary. I challenge you – dare you, even – to avoid saying any of these words for just one day.

need
I’ve issued a challenge to potential clients to figure out why I’ve erased this ugly word from my vocabulary, and why I think they ought to as well. I also challenge you to figure out why I have an issue with the word “need”.
Bearing in mind that there was previously a weblog entry on DREWspective about the word “need”: if you can’t figure it out, I can conclude three things:

  • you use the word “need” a lot;
  • there’s really no hope for you;
  • you’ll find yourself on my list of people who have to go.

sorry
I don’t know about you, but I’ve never come across anyone who has said “sorry” and meant it. For me, it’s become a weasel word; the proof being it’s often accompanied by a “lol”.
And it’s because I’ve never seen anyone actually mean it – coupled with never having received a genuine apology – that I’m reluctant to apologise for anything myself.

stop
Whenever I’ve heard the word “stop”, it’s been in a manipulative context: someone trying to “get” someone else to do – or not do – something, as if they know better. I can’t remember the last time I’ve ever used the word.

why
For the most part, “why” is a useless question. Whereas “how”, “where”, “what”, “who” and “when” are questions used to find out more about something, “why” is accusatory. Someone who asks “why” isn’t interested in the answer, but more about “why” something doesn’t conform to what they already think.
Anyone who throws “why” in my direction is now met with their favourite medicine, silent treatment. Think about the last time someone challenged you with a “why”, and how you felt.

Again, I challenge you to avoid using these words for just one day, and see what a difference it makes.

Which words have you – or could you – removed from your vocabulary?

2 comments in response...

  1. VenomFroggy says:

    “sorry
    I don’t know about you, but I’ve never come across anyone who has said “sorry” and meant it. For me, it’s become a weasel word; the proof being it’s often accompanied by a “lol”.
    And it’s because I’ve never seen anyone actually mean it – coupled with never having received a genuine apology – that I’m reluctant to apologise for anything myself.”
    ================

    No, the word “sorry” has been CHEAPENED, but don’t blame it on the word. Blame it on the people who have cheapened it.

    I think “sorry” is a word that should be used sparingly, not taken out into the backyard and shot like a diseased animal.

    You want the word “sorry” to mean something? Then act like it means something to you and act accordingly. Use it only when you mean it and NEVER accept an apology from someone unless they are willing to illustrate to you what they are sorry for with true sincerity.

    One of the best ways to get the ball rolling is to demand what someone is sorry for when they throw the word “sorry” at you like throwing a penny in a fountain.

    “Sorry.”

    “Sorry for what? Don’t give me this two syllable babosadas, what are you sorry for?”

    “Okay, okay. I’m sorry for…..you know…..this-and-that and that-and-this.”

    It’s the not the fix-all, it’s not the ultimate goal scoring kick but at least it gets the soccer ball at your feet so you start kicking it towards the goal, you know?

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