Stop Sounding Like A Dunce

“Are certain words creeping into his conversation?

Words like ‘swell’? And ‘so’s your old man’? 

Well, if so my friends, ya got Trouble!”

So Professor Harold Hill warned the good people of River City in The Music Man. And as he counseled, words can be an indicator of character.

As it was then, there today exist words and phrases that can immediately make you sound dunce-like. Beware of the following, and avoid at all costs:

  • “Literally”  Correctly used to describe something without exaggeration, when used to add emphasis or drama it usually only serves to indicate one’s duncitude.
  • “Obviously”  If something is really obvious, you don’t need to add this word. If you use it when something isn’t obvious, you simply sound dunceatious.
  • “Like”  Using this word to compare something to something else or express a fondness is fine. But if you use it as verbal filler, you risk entering the duncehood.
  • “I could care less”  Really? Non-dunces would say “I couldn’t care less.”
  • “Trust me”  When I hear this, I reflexively don’t. If your trustworthiness is so suspect that you have to let people know when to trust something you say, you’re on the road to Dunceville.

I literally hit the ceiling when I hear these phrases, and obviously they indicate laziness at best and idiocy at worst. And like, I could care less if people make excuses for their poor language choices.

Trust me, I know what I know.

Today’s Fact-Cetera

The average American only knows about 10% of the words in the English language.

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