Words That Make You Sound…Not So Smart
Chances are, you care about how you look. You should also care just as much about how you sound because you will be judged by others far more on that than on your fashion sense. Listen carefully to yourself when you’re speaking. Do you use lazy words, such as “actually” or “like”? If so, it’s time to stop. Overusing some words can make you sound stupid. Dictionary.com has identified five words that make you sound dumb. Use them at your own peril.
This is a “crutch word” that we use either to give us more time to think or to emphasize a statement. It’s a verbal tic because it does not add meaning to the sentence. Example: “Actually, I would like to see that movie tonight.”
You are only using this adverb correctly if it describes an action that occurs in a strict sense. But far too frequently, we use it to emphasize an exaggeration or a figurative statement. Example: “I literally watched a million hours of TV today.”
This word is used to signal truth, simplicity or confidence–something that is fundamental or elementary. Example: “Basically, he made a bad decision.” However, all too often it is used instead to signal a sense of authority and finality. “Basically, I’m the boss here so you will do what I say.”
We use this crutch word to express our authority or incredulity. Example: “Honestly, I don’t know what she was thinking!” The problem is that it rarely adds honesty to a statement.
Like, this is our favorite lazy word. We use it, like, all the time, like, so it gives us time to think about, like, what we want to say next. “Like” shouldn’t be banned from your vocabulary. You can use it correctly to describe something of the same form, appearance, kind, character or amount. Example: “The colors in that fabric are like a summer sunset.” But don’t use it as a synonym for “um.”