The One Word That Makes You Sound Stupid

Posted August 8, 2013 by Marcy Twete in On the Ladder

‘There’s a Yoplait commercial playing right now with Lisa Kudrow’s voice in the background. It goes something like this. “You were like, hey Yoplait, we don’t want high fructose corn syrup in our yogurt. And then we were like, you’re right, we’ll remove it. And then we were like, but what about Yoplait lights? And you were like, yeah, that too.” And the commercial goes on and on.

And while this very funny Yoplait commercial is making fun of the use of the word “like” in our current vernacular, the truth of the matter is, it’s not something to laugh at. In fact, somehow our society has entirely forgotten how to describe the act of having a conversation. I’m not going to berate you for using the word “like” in every instance. It’s become such a strong part of our vocabulary, I can’t expect you to stop it all together. But today, I’m asking you eliminate it in a very specific area of your life – describing a conversation.

The words “I was like,” and then “he was like,” and then “we were like.” Makes any conversation sound banal and unintelligent. Instead, I’d like to give you a list of words to replace “like” with in just this one instance:

  • Said (the easiest really. Why would you use “I was like” instead of saying “I said” at all?)
  • Exlaimed
  • Cursed
  • Proclaimed
  • Conveyed
  • Spoke
  • Yelled
  • Whispered
  • Laughed
  • Joked
  • Sobbed
  • Responded
  • Replied

The list goes on. Again, I’m not asking you to remove the word “like” from your entire vocabulary. That would be, like, impossible. But if you do one great thing for your grammar and vocabulary this week, let it be this. Reinstate some of the words above when describing a conversation. You won’t be sorry!

About the Author

Marcy Twete

Marcy Twete is a career fundraiser turned corporate responsibility executive, a career and networking expert and the author of the book "You Know Everybody! A Career Girl’s Guide to Building a Network That Works."