The Popcorn Stand: You don’t like these words, Whatever
I always find it reassuring when a lot of people agree with me and for the ninth straight year, Americans have decided “whatever” is the most annoying word there is according to the annual Marist College poll. I concur.
There are times whatever is OK to use like “whatever you want” or “whatever it takes” which was actually something Porterville College men’s basketball coach George Nessman would tell his players when I covered his team for the Porterville (Calif.) Recorder.
But when somebody responds with “whatever” to “whatever” you say, well, “whatever.” And of course the spaced out “what — EVER” with the emphasis on “EVER” is incredibly annoying.
A third of Americans in the poll stated “whatever” was their most annoying word, still keeping it on the top spot. But “fake news” may someday replace “whatever” as the most annoying word as 23 percent said that term was the most annoying.
“No offense, but” came it at 20 percent and this is the type of phrase I find annoying that’s right up there “with all due respect.” I’ve written about this before but when somebody says “with all due respect,” they actually don’t have any respect for your view at all.
Of course “with all due respect” could be considered a contronym, which I’ve also written about. A contronym is when it’s OK for a word to be used for its opposite meaning. Like “literally” which I’ve also written about. Now when people say “literally” most of the time they actually mean “figuratively,” which apparently now is OK. But not according to 10 percent in the poll who “literally” said “literally” as the most annoying word. “Literally.”
Two phrases that didn’t make the top five that I still don’t like are “just sayin’” and “just kidding.” “Generally speaking” (another phrase I’m not too fond of) if you have to end a phrase with “just saying” you probably should not have said it in the first place and if you end a phrase with “just kidding” that means you don’t know how to kid.
Just sayin’. OK, whatever.
— Charles Whisnand