Talk Nerdy to Me — Part I

They’re irritating and overused.  Like the sound of fingernails of a blackboard, I cringe when I hear them.  We’ve all got a few on our personal lists, but there are a handful that are universally accepted as obnoxious.  Annoying phrases are everywhere.


I know I’m not the only one who wishes many of these phrases and words would go away.  I know there are others like me out there who long for a return to a more genteel manner of speaking.  (Now, I don’t want to swing to the opposite extreme.  I don’t need to ask my son “with whom he will be going to the movies.”)  But I would embrace the renaissance of a few polite and well-mannered phrases to replace some of the ones I feel just have to go.

The number one offender: “(I/she/he) was like.”  Attention teenagers: this is not a verb phrase.  If you want to describe what someone says, does, or feels, there are verbs for that purpose.  Please learn how to use them.

Fusion words: combining two words, then dropping a syllable or two because you’re too lazy to say the whole thing.  “ ‘Sup?” is the number one offending word in this category, but there are many, many more. “Dja-eat?” (“Did you eat?”)  If the statement or question requires two words, please speak them both.  Having a conversation reduced to a few grunted syllables is just rude and makes you sound like a cave man.

Overuse of the word, “Whatever.”  This non-committal word usually means the responder disagrees with what you’re saying, but doesn’t have the energy or vocabulary to respond appropriately.  Parents, beware.  It does not imply agreement.  It’s a verbal tool teenagers use to stop a conversation.

Interrogative words: What happened to them?  Questions should begin with words like how, may, why, or did.  Raising the pitch at the end of a phrase and inserting a question mark does not constitute a question. (“You went to the store?”)

The dreaded “No offense, but…”  This phrase should just be stricken.  No good can come of anything said after that phrase.  This disclaimer does not give you license to say rude or ugly things, just because you’ve preceded the insult with a feigned politeness.  Using the Southern cousin, “Bless his/her heart” (as in, “My aunt is crazy, bless her heart.”) after a put-down is just as offensive.  Don’t do it.

Now, I realize that language is an evolving entity.  Today’s vernacular is significantly different from that of just a few decades ago.  Therefore — as with all things – this, too, shall pass.  I just hope I live long enough to hear it happen.

For now, if you see me around and want to chat, avoid these phrases. Speak in complete sentences and leave out some of the slang.  Let your language bear some resemblance to the mother tongue we learned in school.  Please talk nerdy to me.

Which phrases make your head spin?  Please share if I’ve left out the one that makes your head spin!

Coming soon: Part 2 – Nerdy words, and how to use them.


15 thoughts on “Talk Nerdy to Me — Part I

  1. dreacasillas

    Haha, this is great. Too bad I’m one of those teenagers succumbing to the woes of misused language.

  2. Shawn Rome

    The phrase that really gets to me is, “See what had happened was …” I hear this from students. I know that whatever comes out of their mouth next is false. This phrase just gives them a few extra seconds to get their thoughts together.
    Also, another pet peeve of mine is when people write your instead of you’re. Is it really that much trouble to add an apostrophe and an e?

  3. Eugenia

    LOL my parents not being from there used to correct us all the time. Especially since dad had a degree in English. A lot of people then and now still say “You don’t sound like you are from New Orleans” and I reply “My parents weren’t from there and always corrected the accent or slang dawlin” hehe But the phrase that I hate but have given into is. “It is what it is” especially in the work force. It says to me tough crap get over it it’s not going to change.

  4. Kay Thornton Swanson

    You missed the one that makes my blood boil: Sorry ’bout that. Really? Then why does your flippant response convey no regret whatsoever? I actually asked that of a sales clerk once and he looked at me like I had three heads. He didn’t understand the point at all. Imbeciles.

  5. vicki

    “i was just kidding” is an over used phrase when I call my son on being too familiar with me/us. U can’t use this phrase as a distraction to rude behavior.

  6. Anonymous

    You know this one: replying to “thank you” with the phrase “no problem.” I did not imply your action was a problem; I merely wished to offer my appreciation. A simple “you’re welcome” is appropriate. Also, speaking to me in questions is sure to drive me batty: So we went to the mall? and had some ChiFilA? And then we went to the Apple Store? When my teens start speaking like this, I regularly reply, “I don’t know.” Because if all those phrases are questions, I certainly don’t know the answers.

    1. rhondashelley

      “No problem” is also a problem for me. When I train employees for service excellence, this unacceptable phrase is on the Top Ten to eliminate from their work vocabulary.

  7. Barry

    That’s so funny, growing up I would hear my “yat” family members brutally destroy the English language – and as early as eight years old (note that I spelled out “eight” because it is less than/equal to ten) I found myself listening to the “Living Language Series” record set that my mom purchased, to improve my English… My brother and I are the only ones in our family without this accent. It comes out during Saints games, though!

    I have many pet peeves – right now the only one I can remember is when someone says “all of the sudden”. THE sudden?? Really?


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