Earlier this week, a coworker and I had a conversation regarding words, such as proper usage, pronunciation, and existence of certain words. She and I started sharing our list of least liked words. There’s only really a handful of words that I hate, and the rest are actually common misspellings and misuses that I come across that irk me. This list is in no particular order, except for the first one. That first one is fucking terrible. So here goes my list:
- Colonel. First word out the gate. I’ll let you take a guess as to why I hate this word. If you guessed that it isn’t phonetic, then you’re absolutely correct. The word is pronounced kern-el, but as you can see, there’s no r in the damn word. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word originated from coronel, and people would pronounce it as such. Then it came to American mouths, but we kept the Latin-like spelling. Great job, Americans! We stole another word and fucked it up. Not just that, but I was raised in the military, so I encountered the word on a regular basis. For a good portion of my life, I had only ever read the word or heard someone say it. And it was one of the first instances that I did not connect the two until I had seen the word in subtitles for a movie. It was at that moment that it clicked for me. The word I was reading wasn’t colon-el; it was kern-el. It was then that I decided that I absolutely despised the word.
- Credentialize. I first encountered this word during a work meeting where someone was trying to legitimize a partner to a client. A manager had given praise to the person and said that “it was a great way to credentialize someone.” I stopped her and asked what credentialize was. My manager printed off the definition from the internet and handed me the copy because I didn’t believe it was a real word. On my own, I did research for the word: nothing came up in OED or other trusted sources. What I did find was that the word was considered corporate jargon, or a word that’s created by a company to either make people sound smarter or to simplify the conversation. The proper phrase to use instead is actually “to establish credibility.” I’m a big fan of slang and trying to make stuff sound simpler, but creating a long-ass word to make you sound smarter is stupid and a waste of time.
- Caramel pronounced as car-mel. One big pet peeve of mine is when people don’t pronounce words phonetically, hence the reason why I avoid colonel. I get it, some people are raised in different areas of the world and have different pronunciations for different words like tomato and tomahto. And sometimes words aren’t phonetic. But there are some things I can’t budge on, like skipping an entire fucking letter!
- Seen when used in I seen. I may not be the best speaker or have the best word choice, but I do try to do well with grammar where I know what should or should not be used. This is one of those instances where I’m pretty confident that I’m correct when the correct way is I have seen.
- Arnold Palmer. As a disclaimer, I enjoy Arnold Palmer the drink, and I don’t have anything against the golfer. The reason why I dislike this particular phrase is because it’s hard for me to say in regular conversation. I stumble over the pronunciation, so I have to slowly say it whenever I ask for one at Chick-Fil-A. I did some research on this one, and it turns out many people struggle with saying his name because it’s similar to a tongue twister in which your brain and tongue struggle to get the vowels and consonants out.
- K. I hate this letter when it comes to written communication. If you have nothing to say, don’t fucking text or email me back with K. Just don’t respond. If the original correspondence requires a response, write a response. For example, if I say, “I’m going to lunch.” You should say, “Great, have a good lunch,” or “Can you bring me back something?” or even just nothing works, too. Don’t type K. It’s a waste of time and to me it feels like it’s you’re doing me a favor for even responding. No, fuck you and your K.
- They’re, their, there; two, too, to; you’re and your; it’s and its. I come across this most often in reading fan fiction. This isn’t a word I actually hate, but it’s annoying when someone uses the wrong form of the word. I will admit that I’ve guilty of this, but this is just bothersome because it’s an easy check! The one with the apostrophe is a contraction. Easy to check that one.
- Literally. This one I started hating way back in high school when some of those preppy, prissy girls would exclaim that they were literally bored to death in class. Really? You’re actually bored to death? Are you a zombie capable of thought and expression aside from brain consumption and unending hunger? Well, I’m literally annoyed with your misuse of the word.
- Definitely. Again, this isn’t a word that I actually hate, but I am annoyed by the fact that this one is consistently misspelled. The most common misspelling I come across is defiantly. To me, it looks like you’re defiantly using the wrong word to stick it to us grammar Nazis.
- Should of, could of, would of. It’s not should of, it’s should have as in, “I should have used the correct form of the phrase to avoid looking like an idiot.”
There you have it, my list of most hated words and phrases, as well as the reasons why. It was actually hard for me to stay calm as I wrote this because I was getting heated as the list went on. Maybe next time I’ll make a list of words I like or overuse.