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September 12, 2012 2:24 PM   Subscribe

What your crutch word says about you
posted by morganannie (178 comments total) 30 users marked this as a favorite

 
I knew a guy who always said "I aint gonna lie to you". I wondered if he is going to not say that phrase in some conversation and thus I would know he was lying, but he always said it.
posted by idiopath at 2:28 PM on September 12, 2012 [7 favorites]


OMG I'm like totally Valley-Biden (◕‿◕✿)
posted by Foci for Analysis at 2:30 PM on September 12, 2012 [5 favorites]


Well, I think mine reflects my longstanding admiration for Ronald Reagan.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 2:30 PM on September 12, 2012 [6 favorites]


I'm a "basically" user. I still own the Sega Genesis I played after school in the seventh grade. Take that, stereotypes.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 2:31 PM on September 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


I didn't see "fuck" on that list.
posted by facetious at 2:31 PM on September 12, 2012 [41 favorites]


Really?
posted by Kirth Gerson at 2:32 PM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


I knew a guy who always said "I aint gonna lie to you".

When someone says "I'll be honest with you", I worry that they considered it optional.
posted by Egg Shen at 2:33 PM on September 12, 2012 [15 favorites]


Mine is also basically. And, the article's assessment of me is basically true.

So there's that.
posted by crackingdes at 2:33 PM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


I literally had to ask myself why she took the time to compose a list of verbal crutches. At the end of the day, listicles are literally the worst of crutches.
posted by blucevalo at 2:34 PM on September 12, 2012 [7 favorites]


My crutch word is karyogonad. I don't use it all that often.
posted by HuronBob at 2:34 PM on September 12, 2012 [5 favorites]


I worked with a guy who used 'sumbitch' in every sentence. Literally every sentence. When someone asked him why, he denied ever using it.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 2:35 PM on September 12, 2012 [11 favorites]


Why should I care what my crutch word allegedly says about me?
posted by The World Famous at 2:36 PM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


Frankly my crutch word is not on the list.
posted by mazola at 2:36 PM on September 12, 2012 [13 favorites]


Another glaring omission: "Look," meaning "I'm not going to answer that question you just asked, and instead I'm going to subtly imply that I think it's the wrong question by answering a question I wish you had asked."

Just a politician thing? Maybe ...... for now.

"For now" is my crutch phrase. I like to fill my conversation partners with a sense of foreboding.
posted by AugieAugustus at 2:37 PM on September 12, 2012 [9 favorites]


I'm disappointed my crutch phrase didn't make the list. Well, it is what it is.
posted by pecanpies at 2:38 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


shitballs
posted by nathancaswell at 2:41 PM on September 12, 2012 [9 favorites]


Great, another thing I have to watch out for. Just for this, I am going to punch the next person who uses "myriad" as a noun, right in the dick. Metaphorically.
posted by Xoebe at 2:43 PM on September 12, 2012


I'm a basically. And it drives me mad because it hints at utter arrogance on my part.

"here's some info. I'm going to imply I've simplified it just for you. Because basically, you're an idiot that needs talking down to."
posted by zoo at 2:43 PM on September 12, 2012 [7 favorites]


I tell you what, that is a bad article, yes sir.
posted by Cyclopsis Raptor at 2:44 PM on September 12, 2012 [6 favorites]


That's how they get you.
posted by redsparkler at 2:44 PM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


In real life I'm pretty much Foghorn Leghorn.
posted by 2bucksplus at 2:45 PM on September 12, 2012 [7 favorites]


Dude.
posted by teleri025 at 2:45 PM on September 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


Yes, this list is missing my sentence-ending crutch, "I mean, what the fuck."
posted by pineappleheart at 2:46 PM on September 12, 2012 [31 favorites]


The extended implication of "look", to me, is, "Look, my patience is running very thin for you not understanding the obvious truth here, so let me try to break it down real simple-like one more time before I really go off on you."
posted by the jam at 2:46 PM on September 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


Someone who may or may not be my wife says "You know what I mean?" as a crutch phrase.

I attribute it to her being a teacher and not that I'm simply... thick. YMMV.
posted by mazola at 2:47 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


What your crutch word says about you

Absolutely nothing.
posted by Nomyte at 2:47 PM on September 12, 2012 [5 favorites]


I wanna dip my balls in it.
posted by The World Famous at 2:47 PM on September 12, 2012 [23 favorites]


I use "apropos to nothing" a lot.
posted by infinitywaltz at 2:48 PM on September 12, 2012


When I was a girl, there was an epidemic of using "I don't know" as a crutch phrase, like

Teacher: "What is two times two?"
(Usually female) student: "I don't know, 4?"

The student does know! But we have to pretend that we're dumb and just guessing!
posted by muddgirl at 2:50 PM on September 12, 2012 [5 favorites]


I also literally (heh) use the phrase "I guess" even when I'm not guessing. Like "I guess I feel angry because you hit me." I don't actually 'guess' - I know why I'm angry!
posted by muddgirl at 2:51 PM on September 12, 2012 [5 favorites]


Someone who may or may not be my wife says "You know what I mean?" as a crutch phrase.

My girlfriend says "y'know" a lot. I was surprised that one didn't make the list.

I say like and um, like, um, a lot. But I am not a teenage girl, more's the pity.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 2:52 PM on September 12, 2012


They don't mention "per se". Which is a fine phrase, but an overused affectation, in my opinion.

I'm guilty of wanting to overuse actually and basically, though. I have to ruthlessly edit them out of anything I write before I publish it.

My personal pet peeve is "whatnot". You could be the most erudite speaker in the world, but follow up anything you've said with "whatnot" and I'm just going to assume you're parroting someone else. Its use retroactively renders asinine any preceding argument, no matter how persuasive:

"To have and to hold, in sickness and in health, 'til death do us part, and whatnot."

"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and whatnot..."
posted by misha at 2:53 PM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


I have likely used a great many of these, but I can't pinpoint a specific crutch phrase because it changes depending on the day/week/etc. I'm not sure whether it's based on who I'm talking to, or how I'm feeling (with one friend I have a tendency to say "I don't know" a lot, or today's lecture, which featured the most times I have ever said "insofar as" in a three-hour span, for some reason).

Crutch phrases can be annoying, but I tend to forgive most of them. The only phrase I cannot stand is "I hate to break it to you, but," or "I hate to say it, but" - I know people who use them reflexively, and I feel I've gotten somewhat notorious for cutting them off with "do you really hate to do that?" in an attempt to stop the barrage.
posted by ilana at 2:58 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Neither "Well," nor "So,", my verbal ticks of choice, are listed. All my friends consider them both to be great improvements on my previous favorite paragraph starter, "Anyhoo,".
posted by benito.strauss at 2:58 PM on September 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


Unaccountably omitted:
"Blow me down!"
"Contrariwise"
"Bo hurr"
"Unaccountably"
"Bejaysus"
"By the immemorial customs of the service...!"
"Just between you, me, and the horse..."
"By the time you hear this, it will already be too late."
"[incoherent gibbering]"
"This reminds me of an epigram!"
"Hwæt"
"Savvy?"
posted by Iridic at 2:58 PM on September 12, 2012 [27 favorites]


Fuck, I use "Hwæt" all the fucking time.

Actually, now that I mention it - my crutch word is actually 'fuck.' I fucking say it way to fucking much.

I think it's because I like to do it so much that I like to say it. You know?
posted by illovich at 3:01 PM on September 12, 2012


They don't mention "per se". Which is a fine phrase, but an overused affectation, in my opinion.

The man with whom I share an office, who is otherwise completely likable, ends every sentence with "per se." I'm about three days away from telling him to stop. Can I tell him to stop?
posted by pineappleheart at 3:02 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Fuckin' A.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:03 PM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


I guess this would depend on whether "Norwegian Forest Cat" counts as one word for the purposes of this exercise.
posted by Greg Nog at 3:05 PM on September 12, 2012 [7 favorites]


At the end of the day

Yep, that's me!
posted by SpacemanStix at 3:05 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Someone who may or may not be my wife says "You know what I mean?" as a crutch phrase.

I was going to say I hate crutch phrases (I do) and don’t use them (I try really hard not to), but then I realized I say some variation of "you know what I’m saying" all the time, as well as just repeating myself.

And Fuckin’ A.
posted by bongo_x at 3:08 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Mine is "I'm under the impression that..."
Great bet hedger.
posted by atomicstone at 3:11 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


One that's perniciously crept into my speech over the last few years is "yeah no."
posted by treepour at 3:12 PM on September 12, 2012 [10 favorites]


At the end of the day, this isn't much of an article.
posted by davejay at 3:19 PM on September 12, 2012


I just walked out of a meeting with a higher-up, having used the word "obviously" a lot for no apparent reason. This has never been my crutch word, until an hour ago. I'd really like it to leave.
posted by klausman at 3:19 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


One that's perniciously crept into my speech over the last few years is "yeah no."

Interesting linked article. I think the most common usage of "yeah no" I hear is something like this:

"Can I get out of work a little early today?"

"Yeah, no. We will all be staying until the work is done."


It's a way to acknowledge what was said but dismiss it at the same time. Are other people hearing it used this way?
posted by morganannie at 3:20 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


My husband's is "you want me to be honest with you?" when relating some sage piece of been-there-done-that (since he's a whopping five years older than I) advice. I always reply, "NO," which pisses him off.
posted by timetoevolve at 3:23 PM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


WHAT ABOUT IRREGARDLESS
posted by ninjew at 3:27 PM on September 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


I mean,
posted by grog at 3:28 PM on September 12, 2012


At the end of the day it is what it is. Going forward, try to be proactive.
posted by laconic skeuomorph at 3:28 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


If there's an awkward pause just spit voluminously on the ground.
posted by 2bucksplus at 3:29 PM on September 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


Hey Xoebe:

Myriad myriads of lives teem'd forth...
posted by nushustu at 3:30 PM on September 12, 2012


morganannie, my encounteres with "yeah no" have been much more of the type discussed in the Language Log article -- cases where both words could be independently appropriate. To co-opt an example from the article:

A: Do you like Metafilter?
B: Yeah no, I love it.

There are some other, more nuanced examples in the article, all of which I feel I encounter on a daily basis.
posted by treepour at 3:33 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Whatever happened to, "AS PROPHESIED?"
posted by cmoj at 3:34 PM on September 12, 2012 [13 favorites]


Mine is "I don't know...", usually while shaking my head. I catch myself saying it and I'm wondering why I'm saying it. Today it was funny, I was asking him a rhetorical question about some political issue or something, and concluded with "xyz, you know? I don't know..."
posted by resurrexit at 3:34 PM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


Myriad myriads of lives teem'd forth...

Apparently a 'myriad' is also defined as 10,000. So myriad myriads is "hundreds of millions".
posted by WaylandSmith at 3:36 PM on September 12, 2012


"Got a problem with that?"
posted by mazola at 3:40 PM on September 12, 2012


I'm pretty certain that I use "I'm pretty certain" as a crutch phrase. I'm pretty certain that I do this to divert attention from my crippling self-doubt.
posted by Faint of Butt at 3:41 PM on September 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


misha: "My personal pet peeve is "whatnot". You could be the most erudite speaker in the world, but follow up anything you've said with "whatnot" and I'm just going to assume you're parroting someone else. Its use retroactively renders asinine any preceding argument, no matter how persuasive:"

OMFG YES! I was trying to think what phrase it was that my friend uses that bothers the fuck outta me, and couldn't recall, and here you say it. Thank you. I fucking HATE that term with a fiery passion.
--------

My crutch is "anyways" because I feel like I'm always bothering someone and they really don't want to hear what I have to say, so... anyways...

-------

Growing up, I had a friend whose mom was really thick with the local accent kinda stuff (heavy belgian presence in door county), and her phrase was always "and so?" like "eh?" like the stereotypical Canadian, and I thought I always had to answer it, and I didn't realize that it was an affectation.

Anyways...
posted by symbioid at 3:41 PM on September 12, 2012


My personal pet peeve is "whatnot". You could be the most erudite speaker in the world, but follow up anything you've said with "whatnot" and I'm just going to assume you're parroting someone else.

I used to use that, but I've changed it to "junk."

"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare and junk!"
posted by infinitywaltz at 3:43 PM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


My crutch words are "so anyway..." which I am sad but not surprised didn't make the list.
posted by clavier at 3:45 PM on September 12, 2012


I didn't see "fuck" on that list


I know several fuckin' people for whom fuckin' is their fuckin' crutch word. This one fuckin' guy I fuckin' know fuckin' uses it so fuckin' much, fuckin... like, every other fuckin' word, that everyone fuckin' calls him Fuckin' Tony.

Though I haven't fuckin' seen him in a long fuckin' time, since now he's a fuckin' dad with fuckin' little kids and shit. So maybe now he's Regular Tony.
posted by louche mustachio at 3:46 PM on September 12, 2012 [6 favorites]


If you take away my crutch phrases, I'll be rendered mute. SILENCED ALL MY...
posted by arcticseal at 3:46 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


I had a professor who used "and such like that" as a crutch.

It was a class about Renaissance art and it was excruciating.
posted by bilabial at 3:48 PM on September 12, 2012


oh well whatever nevermind
posted by entropicamericana at 3:49 PM on September 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


I don't think I'm the best source for my own crutch word. I'll have to ask people I talk to (which is a short list, embarrassingly).

In writing, however, I tend to use parentheses a lot (I know, it's sometimes hard to see parens, but they're there). Sometimes I think those do bleed into my everyday speech, perhaps in the form of asides or tangents (again, gotta ask someone else).

One crutch-phrase I've heard many many times, particularly from sports athletes, is "you know." In almost every interview, these athletes say "you know" in almost every sentence, sometimes more than once.

"Well you know, the coaches put in a lot of work, and, you know, we just have to go out there and execute. You know, when everybody puts in their 110%, you know good things will happen, you know?"
posted by CancerMan at 3:51 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Fuggeddaboutit!
posted by TwoWordReview at 3:51 PM on September 12, 2012


I had a word count generated during the last survey, and it looks like really is my worst offender, followed by probably and actually.


I also use awesome a lot, but that is no so much a crutch word as it is an indicator that I am easily impressed/ frequently sarcastic.


I also say shit a LOT. I had no idea that was my swear of choice.
posted by louche mustachio at 3:52 PM on September 12, 2012


I had a moment of 'oh no' when my three year old broke out her first "yeah, no" when I asked her if she was going to finish her lunch.

WHAT HATH I WROUGHT?

A friend was once abused by a panhandler for saying 'yeah, no' about giving him 2 bucks.

I say whatnot all the time. I feel like it adds whimsy. Now I'm ashamed.
posted by geek anachronism at 3:55 PM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


I use y'know a lot, but it's more as a way of making sure someone's still there when their eyes are glazing over through one of my monologues... *cough*

Actually, I'd really like to know what my crutch word is, if it's something other than y'know. I don't notice myself over-using words, but then I wouldn't. I know depending ont he context I have very different typing styles; there are a lot more tildes and little hearts and overuse of exclamaition points when I'm talking casually. On Mefi I tend to be more formal, at a blogpost level; it's only my nearest and dearest who get the deliberate mispellings of 'really' and 'what are you'. (My Mefi frequency tables say the word I use most after all of the parts of speech is "people". I am a peopler. A peoplephile. A peoplephiliac.)

(Also, dude, parens gotta parens, y'know?)
posted by Deoridhe at 3:57 PM on September 12, 2012


Mine is 'anyway' which tends to be short for "well, what you are saying is so completely wrong that I don't even know how you can breathe and if I say much more on this topic to you I'll punch you in the throat".
posted by kanata at 4:03 PM on September 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


For a while I've been noticing default words - the word that one says when one's not sure what to say, but it's time to start talking anyway or else there'll be a spreading, reeking, embarrassing pause. For most of my life, mine's been "but"; I'm trying to switch to "and" as I think it leads to more interesting conversations.
posted by Grangousier at 4:03 PM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


Like Papa Smurf always says...
posted by klausman at 4:04 PM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


Evidently, that list is not complete.
posted by skyscraper at 4:06 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


What if, crutch, your crutch word is crutch?
posted by Splunge at 4:14 PM on September 12, 2012


Had a boss that used Handsome for every pronoun.

Same guy would end conversations where he wasn't happy with the outcome, saying; We aren't going to the moon.. Handsome.
posted by Exad at 4:20 PM on September 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


My crutch words are like, dude, and anyway, which I guess makes me really obviously a Californian. Dude is an especially versatile word, and I refuse to apologize for sprinkling it liberally throughout my vernacular. When it comes to like though, I'm afraid I'm past the point of help there. I only even notice it if I'm in the company of non-Californians who almost never use it, and then it is too late, I have probably already used like way more than is reasonable.

In my defense, I have different crutch words in professional contexts! At work I use so and well.
posted by yasaman at 4:22 PM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


I over-use actually, actually, and I fear after reading this article my cover as a reasonable, not at all passive-agressive person with nary the hint of a chip on either shoulder has been transparent all along. Sad face.
is there a pathology attached to over-using hyphens?
posted by stagewhisper at 4:22 PM on September 12, 2012


My crutch is.....

Ahh, so that.
posted by Mblue at 4:25 PM on September 12, 2012


When I'm teaching Tae Kwon Do to kids, my crutch phrase is usually "Dude!" Usually used when I find a kid doing something right after I tell the kids not to do that (usually talk in line).

My current theory is that it's a substitute for saying "fuck" or "motherfucker", which I use a lot when I'm not in front of kids.
posted by luckynerd at 4:29 PM on September 12, 2012


When you get right down to it (in the end-of-the-day, bottom-line sense), ALL words are crutch words. If we were really evolved, we wouldn't need any of them.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:33 PM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


What if your crutch word changes? ("Basically" is in vogue with me now, but that's a recent development.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:36 PM on September 12, 2012


I use "apropos to nothing" a lot.

Agh. Don't say that. It's apropos of nothing.

But yeah, as a copy editor, it's my job to notice what the other editors' tics are and try to correct for them. My coworkers are all very talented people, don't get me wrong (heh—another for the list), but it's always interesting to discover people's blind spots. One coworker adds "that" to everything, even where it isn't strictly needed. Another adds "with a twist" to a description in almost every story and "s/he explains" after most quotes (as opposed to the invisible "s/he says"). Another adds a comma at the end of every set of quotation marks, even when it's incorrect, and awkwardly spells out a lot of contractions. Another just likes "breath commas" a little much for my taste.

I add way too many em-dashes and semicolons, though I'm working on it; I'm also working on my habit of ending sentences in email with ellipses, after getting mocked by my editor pretty early on...

Re: "Dude," when I was training to be a camp counselor in high school, my actual camp name was Koi, but all the regulars at my table ended up calling me Dude, 'cause when it was 6:30 a.m. and I had to head a table at breakfast and actually talk to campers, what came out was a lot of "Dude..."

At work now, on the other hand, the relaxed resignation of that word has mostly been replaced with a quickly exhaled, intense "Fuck!" So that's fun. (Another one for the list!)
posted by limeonaire at 4:38 PM on September 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


'pretty sure', for when you want certitude but not responsibility

"Dude, that rocket blew up and killed about fifty people! You're going to prison for this!"
"I wasn't the one who was pretty sure."
"Y-- fucking-- Who was, then!?"
"There was just a general feeling of adequate sureness."

also, abbreviating 'pretty' as 'p', for when you want everything you say to convey the texture and scent of urine
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 4:38 PM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


The crutch words of my boss are "well, the whole thing is..." If there was a drinking game I'd be dead.
posted by Lucinda at 4:39 PM on September 12, 2012


I used "actually" pretty heavily in junior high. In fact it became a source of ( friendly) ridicule in my Boy Scout troop. Now I prefer obscenities because they are less likely to be repeated.

Frankly, I think someone's safe word would tell you even more about them.
posted by TedW at 4:42 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


My biggest pet peeve at the moment is "...right." at the end of a statement -- e.g., "We need to rebuild that server, right." or "Our meeting is Tuesday, right." It's impossible to tell whether the speaker is making a statement or asking a question. It ends up being a weasel-y way of getting somebody to confirm or agree to something they never meant to, simply by answering "Right." or "Sure." or "Okay." to keep the conversation flowing.
posted by LordSludge at 4:42 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh, and using "...right." probably means you're Canadian. It seems to have replaced "eh?".
posted by LordSludge at 4:50 PM on September 12, 2012


I am ashamed to say that I am an "actually" user, which my S.O. has pointed out often makes me seem pedantic and condescending. I'm trying to train myself out of it, but old habits die hard.
posted by Scientist at 5:14 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah? Well... I dunno. It's like, you know, whatever, the fuck, right? And um, it's kind of a thing, if you will. On the other hand, it's all "you think?" Eh? From my perspective, it's sorta more or less a matter of things. For reasons.

I know I have more of those I use basically whenever. Because, ah, how you say... (sad trombone sound).

I still use one I picked up from a character on the Rockford Files when I was a kid- "the thing of it is, is...". 'cos, hey, why not?
posted by hap_hazard at 5:15 PM on September 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


Like. You are a teenaged girl who smacks her gum a lot while talking and, like, OMG, can you believe you said that? Like, yes, you did. See also, "She was all...and I was all....and he was all..."

I am so tired of girls being dismissed in this way. Young women are nuanced, skilled communicators.

I am aware that this fluffy Atlantic piece was written by a woman. It's still shitty.
posted by purpleclover at 5:18 PM on September 12, 2012 [16 favorites]


I do transcription work for end of quarter earnings calls, and the popular crutches among the companies I've typed for include "sort of", "obviously", and "going forward". By the end of peak transcription period, I'm ready to douse anyone who uses those phrases in gasoline, and set them on fire.
posted by MissySedai at 5:20 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Mine is "indeed."

GF: " I was going to make X decision but after consideration Y seemed a better choice."

Me: "indeed."

Probably annoying. Oh well.
posted by MarvinTheCat at 5:22 PM on September 12, 2012


A former boss had the weirdest crutch phrase: "motherhood and apple pie," which he used to mean "et cetera" or "...blah blah blah." He would end half his sentences with it.
posted by chickenmagazine at 5:28 PM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


I've had some different explanations for a couple of those words explained to me.

Actually: Used to contradict the person you're talking to when they hold a different opinion or observation that you consider to be incorrect. It implies that they don't know what they're talking about.

Basically: Used to reduce what you're talking about to simpler terms. It gives the perception that you're talking down to the recipient to simplify things so that they can understand it. It's condescending, especially if you're trying to explain something in detail. The alternate interpretation, if they're knowledgeable about the subject, is that you don't know what you're talking about and you're BSing them.

Speak plainly. Don't use crutch words.
posted by Revvy at 5:32 PM on September 12, 2012


I never use that word.
posted by unliteral at 5:37 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm guilty of apparently and the unlisted exactly. I've been trying to train my brain to stop, but brains are contrary beasts. Rather than stopping cold turkey, I think I might start substituting "By Grabthar's hammer" and "Lords of Light!" in their place.
posted by Drastic at 5:45 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


My crutch phrase is "The point IS..." I am aware it's highly annoying. But I have a lot of people to whom I have to point out the point.
posted by buzzkillington at 6:00 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


You are a teenaged girl who smacks her gum a lot while talking and, like, OMG, can you believe you said that? Like, yes, you did. See also, "She was all...and I was all....and he was all..."

Man, I have never in my life been so embarrassed to have learned to speak in Southern California, except that I totally do "She was all..." too!
posted by mchorn at 6:03 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


"On the ground" makes my teeth curl.

"The fact remains" is my favorite crutch, but I don't use it that much.
posted by caryatid at 6:10 PM on September 12, 2012


Mefi's Own Lore uses "How do you say in your language?" as filler when he's trying to think of a word, like, all the time. A bit verbose maybe, but it shows a healthy curiosity for foreign cultures.
posted by Freyja at 6:10 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Boy howdy! Basically, I actually have no crutch words. Seriously, in a weird way, I literally Do. Not. Have. Any. Honestly, it's the best thing about me. Would I lie to you?
posted by BlueHorse at 6:15 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


My crutch phrase is "But I digress", which I don't just use when I realize I have drifted from what I was originally trying to say, but also anytime I realize I've gone on too long and need to wrap it up.
posted by oneswellfoop at 6:18 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


My boyfriend will sometimes say "mrow mrow mrow kittens" if he's thinkin' real hard about something, I'm not sure what says about him.

I also cursed at autocorrect laboriously typing this out and he texted me to "calm down" from where he's sitting maybe 36" away from me.

=|
posted by kavasa at 6:19 PM on September 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


Speak plainly. Don't use crutch words.

Great idea then I can only exactly communicate my precise without any social nuance. Because we live in a world where clarity is way better than nuance. No, I'm not being sarcastic, what is that? The ending of the paragraph is number 1 4 5 6 3 6 7 7 4 2 1 6 7 88 3 0.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 6:19 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Okay, so, if you have a crippled vocabulary you need a crutch.

You know what I'm sane?
posted by mule98J at 6:19 PM on September 12, 2012


Great idea then I can only exactly communicate my precise thoughts without any social nuance. Because we live in a world where clarity is way better than subtlety. No, I'm not being sarcastic, what is that? The ending of the paragraph is numbers 1 4 5 6 3 6 7 7 4 2 1 6 7 88 3 0. Repeat until joke is successful.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 6:20 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


I use crutch words all the time for different reasons, mostly to relate to others on some specific level or to shade my meaning to have a direct impact on the listener. Fortunately I never ever have conversations with people like the author, because I avoid pedantic nits both personally and professionally.

'Literally' is one of my favorite words because it's so meta. It has a regular meaning, an exaggerated meaning, and sometimes it functions more like an exclamation: "I waited for literally AN HOUR" - translated: "I waited for an hour, CAN YOU BELIEVE IT OMG?"
posted by Potomac Avenue at 6:24 PM on September 12, 2012


Finally, Biden knew just what he was doing. He was bonding with "folks", using language they use, to emphasize his commonality and to sound honest. He did a fine job of that.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 6:31 PM on September 12, 2012


All I can hear when many people speak is their crutch words. Do people realize sound how uneducated they come across when every third word out of their mouth is like? That combined with the default lilt of a California valley girl circa 1984, the overall affect is resoundingly stupid.

Two that seem to be big faves are "having said that/that said" and "thank you so much," with the emphasis on "so."

What are my crutchy words? You'd have to ask my BF.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 6:33 PM on September 12, 2012


So to determine my crutch word in a more sciencey 1, 21.1496975593249 (count, ppm) fashion, I betook myself to the handydandy personalized Metafilter word frequency table I received as a prize for filling out the MeFi survey last month.
If we accept that the words I use here are an accurate reflection of my speech, I must admit I was actually 20, 422.993951186498 surprised how well the table confirmed my instinctive guess 13, 274.946068271224. Basically, 8, 169.197580474599 I surmised that I don't abuse the words listed in the linked article very much, as I prefer my utterances to be taken entirely literally 4, 84.5987902372996. I did, however, suspect that I seriously 13, 274.946068271224 have a problem with one word, which did not show up in that listicle. A real, totally, completely real problem word: really 107, 2263.01763884776 really!
I suppose I should be comforted that it's not a completely canonical crutch word, and not inherently irritating to others, but honestly, 1, 21.1496975593249 it bothers me, really.
posted by Cold Lurkey at 6:43 PM on September 12, 2012


Do people realize sound how uneducated they come across when every third word out of their mouth is like?

As I responded to an old friend and mentor who liked to rant about that same issue, we understand how we come across to some people, but we don't value the opinions of those people on that particular topic, given the way they come across when they insult us over it.
posted by The World Famous at 6:43 PM on September 12, 2012 [7 favorites]


the overall affect is resoundingly stupid

Like, I dunno, too funny, amirite?
posted by muddgirl at 6:47 PM on September 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


Maybe it's, like, an affectation.
posted by The World Famous at 6:49 PM on September 12, 2012


What does my compulsive avoidance of crutch words tell of me as a person?
posted by Anything at 6:58 PM on September 12, 2012


That's what she said! (God, when I was 20 or so I think I said that approximately 50 times per day.)
posted by maxwelton at 7:07 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


What does my compulsive avoidance of crutch words tell of me as a person?

I'm not sure it says Anything, per se.
posted by Cold Lurkey at 7:07 PM on September 12, 2012


That'll be the day.
posted by asuprenant at 7:21 PM on September 12, 2012


I use 'jawn' when I don't know or can't remember the name of that mother-lovin' jawn!
posted by Mister_A at 7:42 PM on September 12, 2012


TedW: Frankly, I think someone's safe word would tell you even more about them.

Ooh! I knew someone whose safeword was "banana slug". What does that say, do you think?

Like. You are a teenaged girl who smacks her gum a lot while talking and, like, OMG, can you believe you said that? Like, yes, you did. See also, "She was all...and I was all....and he was all..."

I am so tired of girls being dismissed in this way. Young women are nuanced, skilled communicators.


Sure they are, but you have to be a part of their social circle to appreciate the nuances.

When you hear someone you don't know well speaking that way, most likely your first thought is, "Valley Girl." That's not a misogynist thing, that's an "I'm old enough to remember Frank Zappa" thing.
posted by misha at 7:56 PM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


Actually, I'm very rarely angry. But I totally have other words and phrases to fall back on, you know?

I think my main crutch (outside of actually and the sadly (ooh, there's another one!) missing totally) is "does that make sense"? I kind of hate it, because it reeks of insecurity, but I think my subconscious sees it as a less obnoxious way of asking "you know what I mean"?

Which I totally have to do all the time, so softening the implied arrogance is important to avoid alienating people, like students. And in general conversation, I think I use it to check in to make sure I haven't gone overboard with the geektasticness or thoughts that don't translate we'll outside my head. Does that make sense?
posted by Superplin at 7:59 PM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


But this actually stings a bit, this assessment. So I confess that I am actually a pedantic bore, but let me point out that sometimes I use 'actually' at the end of a sentence, something that I think I picked up from English TV shows of the '70s and that seems to connote a certain tone of mild self-deprecation – I rather like this blancmange, actually!
posted by Mister_A at 8:00 PM on September 12, 2012


How many of you start most of your conversations with, '"So, I saw this thread on Metafilter..." ? Is it just me?
posted by misha at 8:02 PM on September 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


How many of you start most of your conversations with, '"So, I saw this thread on Metafilter..." ? Is it just me?
Nope. Not just you.
posted by Superplin at 8:08 PM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


I worked with a guy who used 'sumbitch' in every sentence. Literally every sentence. When someone asked him why, he denied ever using it.

Yes! I have a friend who makes a high-pitched hum after every time he says something he thinks is the mildest bit funny, and when I brought it up in passing he claimed to have no idea what I was talking about. Even when validated by other people's assurances.

It is a mark of my good breeding, I hope, that I did not laugh in his face when he claimed--against much evidence--that one of his proudest features was being "highly self-aware."
posted by psoas at 8:13 PM on September 12, 2012


I have a small stable of three-syllable adverbs that I use as crutch words: "ostensibly," "honestly," "completely," "particularly," when I want to sound professional. Actually, I'm getting the sense that my efforts are backfiring.

My crutch words when I'm driving (not professionally) are "motherfucker," "jackass," and "you people are killing me."

Also, I hung out with Peter Sokolowski a few times when I lived in western Mass. He is smart as hell and an awesome trumpet player.
posted by bendy at 8:21 PM on September 12, 2012


My crutch words when I'm driving (not professionally) are "motherfucker," "jackass," and "you people are killing me."

How dare you call us "you people"?!?!?!?!
posted by The World Famous at 8:27 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


I have consciously worked to remove "at the end of the day" from my conversation. I blame Les Miserables.

My remaining issues: overuse of semi-colons; it persists despite my attempt to write in simple sentences.

And, in writing, I still tend to Uppercase Things in a way weirdly reminiscent of Eighteenth Century Prose. I blame a lifetime of working with database designs, in which an Object is a Container for certain Data Elements that Publish certain Properties to their Subscribers. (I expect that, one day, I'll suffer a mild stroke and only communicate via Loglan. If this happens, please, gentlefolk, unplug me.)
posted by SPrintF at 8:48 PM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


(Although, Microsoft guys are the worst. Hey, let's create Content to enhance our Solution to this Business Intelligence End User Experience. Gah!)
posted by SPrintF at 8:54 PM on September 12, 2012


Apparently, I use fuck a lot. Apparently, a fuckton (not sure if thats metric or imperial).
posted by evilDoug at 8:57 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


apparently thats should be that's...
posted by evilDoug at 8:58 PM on September 12, 2012


How dare you call us "you people"?!?!?!?!

What would you suggest? I've only come up with jackass and motherfucker so far.
posted by bendy at 9:14 PM on September 12, 2012


When I first read the post I thought it said 'crotch word' and wondered if 'crotch word' is like 'safe word' because my safe word is wheeeeee! and I already know what that says about me.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:21 PM on September 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


What would you suggest? I've only come up with jackass and motherfucker so far.

"You bastards are killing me!" has a better ring to it than "You people are killing me." Maybe just start with "you bastards" and then add others as moved upon by the spirit.
posted by The World Famous at 9:35 PM on September 12, 2012


I'm an actually.

Actually, no. I'm really, really a really, really. And, um, so's the author of that listicle by the looks of things. Nine times! With two double-ups!
posted by Sys Rq at 9:45 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


"For all intents and purposes" needs to be on this list.
posted by flomo at 10:33 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


"SO MOTE IT BE".
posted by Jofus at 10:58 PM on September 12, 2012


...in accordance with the prophecy.
posted by pompomtom at 11:39 PM on September 12, 2012


"I add way too many em-dashes and semicolons,"

Oh God, that's my ongoing gremlin — I'm an inveterate em-dash abuser. I've tried to cut down so many times, but I succumb to the seductive staccato that em-dashes and semicolons give.

As far as my verbal tic, the one that gets me mocked the most at work is the, "Oh yeah," said in a way that makes it clear that I grew up in the Upper Midwest.

(My favorite facetious fillers are: "To be fair," to introduce a joke, and "Time makes fools of us all," when prompted to say something inane and vacuous.)
posted by klangklangston at 12:28 AM on September 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


My word count from the MeFi survey shows that I overuse 'really' and 'just'. Not sure what it says about me, but 'actually' used to be my crutch word so I guess this is an improvement.
posted by harriet vane at 1:02 AM on September 13, 2012


If you check out the 100 most common words in english, you can compare this to your metafilter word frequency table. Mine clearly reveals what I have long known, that I use the word 'just' far too much. (it's the 57th most common english word, but appears 24th on my metafilter table-above words like 'so' and 'at'.

The word 'just' most certainly expresses an attitude- "If you would only give me this much" or "get on with it..." It's impatient, imperative, wheedling. I have to consciously limit myself to only one or two uses whenever I write something. But I can't remove it completely otherwise I would boil over with... "but I just mean...!"
posted by leibniz at 1:15 AM on September 13, 2012


not even sure what thread to post this to, 'cos RomRom provoked it but,
-opotamus
dude is a doucheapotamus. Aiight?
opotamus is your new bicycle. Dude?
posted by hap_hazard at 1:55 AM on September 13, 2012


Apparently, a fuckton (not sure if thats metric or imperial).

It could be either, depending on where your specialized furniture was made.


Among engineers, "it depends" is a popular phrase, but there are actual reasons for that.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:57 AM on September 13, 2012


No "whatever, Twizzletits"?
posted by stormpooper at 6:26 AM on September 13, 2012


Dude, man. Dude!
posted by otherthings_ at 6:40 AM on September 13, 2012


A director I've worked with will preface most of his critiques with "I just wonder if", a crutch phrase that turns out to mean "Do exactly what I'm suggesting, or I'll be upset with you later."

Same guy ends most of his sentences with a trailing "in a way."

I actually really enjoy working with him, because once you learn to translate his idiosyncratic language, his intentions are always very clear.
posted by otherthings_ at 6:49 AM on September 13, 2012


Yeah, stopped reading at the absolutely gratuitous dis on teenage girls. Come ON. I am a grown adult and I have a grandmother who uses quotative "like."
posted by clavicle at 6:50 AM on September 13, 2012


I always wondered why "like" was shallow in speech, but "um" or "un" or "ah" was acceptable. This article really clarified it for me - because teenage girls said 'like', therefore like is shallow.

Gosh, not offensive at all!
posted by muddgirl at 6:59 AM on September 13, 2012


I seem to have trouble explaining things in a linear or clear fashion, so I find myself saying "It's one of those things where..." to the point I've actually caught myself "it's one of those things where it's one of those things where..." which, in context, made sense, but still sounded awkward.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 7:02 AM on September 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Why do you keep saying that? Idonothink that means whatyouthinkthat means."

Inigo Montoya
posted by No Shmoobles at 8:53 AM on September 13, 2012


I pretty much use all of these. This article literally just ruined my day, actually. Now I'm going to be even more self-conscious when I speak.
posted by jefbla at 9:32 AM on September 13, 2012


In speech, my crutch word is the trailing "but...", which annoys me, but I seem unable to break the habit.

In writing, I think I may have several. "Particularly" is definitely one. They make no mention of it here. Bah.
posted by Decani at 9:47 AM on September 13, 2012


I've caught myself using the trailing "or..." enought to recognise it as a crutch word.

I was just in a company townhall where the facilitator, a senior manager, used "basically" a lot. So I have MeFi to thank for giving me a thought rabbithole to distract me while in the meeting.
posted by arcticseal at 10:04 AM on September 13, 2012


I always wondered why "like" was shallow in speech, but "um" or "un" or "ah" was acceptable. This article really clarified it for me - because teenage girls said 'like', therefore like is shallow.

"like" is an actual word that means something else, the others are not.

The issue is not "teenage girls say it, so so we decide it sounds stupid"; it’s that teenage girls, for reasons I’m not knowledgable enough to speak to, purposely talk in ways to make themselves sound less intelligent than they are.

The use of "like" in this way is not cutting edge fashion, it’s been that way for decades.
posted by bongo_x at 10:34 AM on September 13, 2012


"like" is an actual word that means something else, the others are not.

So? Why does using it as a thought break (rather than some made-up syllable) make girls sound less intelligent than they are? It's a strange assumption.
posted by muddgirl at 10:37 AM on September 13, 2012


The use of "like" in this way is not cutting edge fashion, it’s been that way for decades.

Which is why more than just teenage girls speak this way nowadays. Which was the point of the article linked above.
posted by muddgirl at 10:38 AM on September 13, 2012


So? Why does using it as a thought break (rather than some made-up syllable) make girls sound less intelligent than they are? It's a strange assumption.

Substitute another word, "love" for instance, and see if it sounds weird to you. "Um" etc. sounds like someone starting another word, that’s the intent.

It sounds stupid when everyone says it, not just girls. The point is that teenage girls choose to say it more, knowing how it sounds, along with the up-talking etc. That’s the problem. If "like" were totally acceptable speech then teenage girls wouldn’t use it so much. I think you have the cause and effect backwards. That’s just my opinion, of course. Teenage boys have their own versions of this. I wish teenagers, girls and boys, didn’t feel like they had to make themselves appear less intelligent than they are. I know I did it at that age.

I’ve been known to throw a stray "like" around, but I’m not proud of it.
posted by bongo_x at 10:49 AM on September 13, 2012


The point is that teenage girls choose to say it more, knowing how it sounds

That's not how speech works. I was a teenage girl who said "like" a lot. I am a grown-up woman who uses 'like' as a thought break from time to time. There was nothing "knowing" about it. I was not consciously saying "like" instead of "um."

but I’m not proud of it.

Why would you be either proud or ashamed of it? It's verbal communication - if you get your point across, you get a gold star.
posted by muddgirl at 10:52 AM on September 13, 2012 [4 favorites]


Frankly my crutch word is not on the list.

Quite frankly, there is a second page of them now.
posted by lily_bart at 10:54 AM on September 13, 2012


Senator Clay Davis has an awesome crutch word.
posted by klausman at 3:48 PM on September 13, 2012


The one that I've noticed coming up a ton recently is people starting a comment in a group discussion with

"I just want to say, that..."

Well, of COURSE you must have fucking wanted to say it, or you wouldn't be saying it! It's so pointless and yet ubiquitous that I've started keeping count of it during meetings, along with individual sidebar tallies for people I notice saying "like" multiple times in a single sentence. It makes me feel like an angrier person than I really am.

Another one that kills me during meetings is when people, almost always women, begin every comment with "I'm sorry, but..." like they need to apologize for having something to share.
posted by otterpop at 7:14 PM on September 13, 2012


So? Why does using it as a thought break (rather than some made-up syllable) make girls sound less intelligent than they are? It's a strange assumption.

It could be that they really aren't very intelligent, that's true. But I think it is kinder to assume they just don't sound as smart as they are, don't you?

Seriously, though, muddgirl, see my earlier comment for the historical context around associating "like" with "Valley Girls", above. Pretty sure that was all before your time, but could be related to why the author of this piece wrote "teenage girls" rather than just "teenagers". As you say, something a lot of teens and adults do, and not just girls.

I'm not so sure what you mean by a thought break. Do you mean that you are searching for the right word and like serves as a placeholder while you do that? I hear people use "you know" and "um" that way.

I'd agree with you that none of them are conscious choices, just bad habits.
posted by misha at 7:15 PM on September 13, 2012


When I wrote speeches for a member of Congress, I had to write in all of his usual crutch phrases. Initially, I would write the speech and then go back and insert the phrases. But I eventually learned to just write the way he talked. Every once in a while, I catch myself using one of his phrases and I'll laugh at myself.
posted by The World Famous at 7:18 PM on September 13, 2012 [4 favorites]


I'm not so sure what you mean by a thought break. Do you mean that you are searching for the right word and like serves as a placeholder while you do that? I hear people use "you know" and "um" that way.

Yes, searching for the right word, or just a verbal tic that your brain inserts. A lot of these "crutch words" tend to be used verbally as thought breaks (or whatever the linguistic term is). Have you ever met someone who doesn't use them? My dad doesn't and the pauses where they should be is very disconcerting. But whether we insert "like" or "um" or "you know" or "I dunno" has no direct relationship with education, but rather with who we are regularly speaking to and what tics you learn from them.

just bad habits.

Again, why is "like" a "bad" habit but "um" is not?
posted by muddgirl at 7:26 PM on September 13, 2012


Concerning "like" as a thought-break: from my observation point as a high school English teacher I think that more many kids it has gone well beyond any sort of a conscious placeholder and has progressed into the realm of a completely subconscious guttural tic.

It must have been a couple of years ago now: I was riding the train near UC Berkeley and overheard a conversation between a couple of female college students who seemed otherwise perfectly intelligent, but they had this bizarre conversation where "like" was essentially used as a space between words and placeholder for any number of other conversational functions:

"And so like I was like at this party and I totally like ran into Marco so like I like asked him if like he liked me?"

"Lik...,"

"... And like he said that he like, liked me but like didn't, like, "like" me, like, you know?"

"Like..."

"And then, like, we like saw a couple of like friends and then, like, we walked like down to the store like to buy some, like, Camels or something..."

"Like..."

The chattier one was using "like" in the typical "wow I should put another word after this one, but i'm not quite sure how to fill the pause" -- much faster than the old valley girl "dude, like, totally" emphatic version, as if it were a comma or a space itself.

But more interestingly, the less talkative girl used the word "like" as an approving interjection in the other girl's narrative, in the way you might expect an "uh huh?" or "...and then what?" But the vowel sound was so abbreviated it was just an L and K with just the hint of a guttural schwa left between them, more like "l'k": it had gone past a placeholder word, or even a word at all, to a sort of stylized grunt, shorter even than a dismissive, inattentive "mm-hmm."

It was awesome. I'm sure linguists have terms for this sort of thing, but it was just mind-boggling to watch in action: the chatty one managed to say 'like" over 120 times between Embarcadero and Downtown Berkeley.

Anyway, I've mostly given up the war, but I'll still skirmish with any kid who regularly says "like" more than five times per sentence, just by repeating it immediately after them every time they utter it.
posted by otterpop at 7:50 PM on September 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


We're neglecting one huge advantage using "like" all the time has for teen-aged girls.

It drives some adults absolutely up the wall.
posted by benito.strauss at 8:27 PM on September 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


If we're going by frequency tables, I'm afraid my crutch is "monkey."

Actually, this is something I've been working on when I lecture. I pepper points with "you know" or "as we've seen" but generally they don't know, and I'm probably the only one who's seen or particularly cares to, and I think it just comes off as pretentious. Lecturing is hard, and as someone who was quite recently a teenage girl and now has to appear authoritative, I've tried very hard to remove like from my verbal tic vocabulary. It apparently undermines the content of whatever has been said. I've been trying to take nice deep breaths instead of sticking in a handy phrase.
posted by ChuraChura at 9:42 PM on September 13, 2012


That second page of crutches is much more irritating than the first. Some of them aren't even crutches, just pet verbal peeves.

Fantastic/incredible/unbelievable - are used as general intensifiers and will fall out of fashion eventually, to be replaced by something equally divorced from it's original definition. Jane Austen had a dig at the word "nice" being used in a similar way back in 1815 (Tilney complaining that it should be kept to it's meaning of 'precise' and not used as general approval), and we've been cycling through different words for that purpose ever since. Get over it.

Definitely/absolutely and Totally and Works for me - it gets boring to always say "yes". What's wrong with a bit of variety and emphasis?

Exponentially - not a crutch, just something people don't fully understand the meaning of and so use inappropriately.

In fairness/To be fair - life isn't fair, so we shouldn't use this phrase? Huh?

It is what it is - that's not a crutch phrase, that's someone saying your complaining is ineffectual. Maybe the submitter complains so much that it's turned into a crutch phrase for his or her companions.

Kind of/Sort of - not a crutch, it's a way of softening a disagreement that the speaker doesn't think is important enough for a contradiction.
posted by harriet vane at 1:47 AM on September 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Not for nothing . . .
posted by Obscure Reference at 6:06 AM on September 14, 2012


I'm an "ostensibly" girl.
Also, "do you know what I mean?" or "does that make sense?"
posted by rmless at 6:46 AM on September 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm surprised no one has mentioned "in my opinion" (which shows up twice in this thread). Although I am sure I have used it before (I am as inconsistent as the next guy), one of my college professors pointed out that it was a completely unnecessary phrase. Of course it is your opinion; you are the one expressing it. Then again, there is always the classic retort.
posted by TedW at 7:23 AM on September 14, 2012


TedW, I use "in my opinion" a lot on Metafilter, mostly because I had a bad habit, when I first started here, of not using qualifiers and of course Mefites will call you out on that.

If you're on the blue and toss out something like, "Men wear brown shoes with black pants and it is an atrocity," you're going to get challenged. "Are you saying ALL men do this?! Citation, please!"

And that's as it should be, because you could just be talking out of your ass.

But if you say, "In my opinion, men who wear brown shoes with black pants are guilty of crimes against humanity," you could STILL be talking out of your ass, but at least you won't be required to cite evidence to support that.

On Metafilter, "in my opinion" serves not as a crutch, but more like a kind of semantic condom, protecting you from spreading your asshatness around, willy nilly.

Wow, that's a sentence I never anticipated writing!
posted by misha at 8:09 AM on September 14, 2012 [4 favorites]


Metafilter: a kind of semantic condom, protecting you from spreading your asshatness around, willy nilly.
posted by misha at 8:10 AM on September 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'm surprised no one has mentioned "in my opinion" (which shows up twice in this thread). Although I am sure I have used it before (I am as inconsistent as the next guy), one of my college professors pointed out that it was a completely unnecessary phrase.

I hope one of your classmates was smart enough to point out that this claim was merely the professor's opinion.
posted by benito.strauss at 9:00 AM on September 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


I hope one of your classmates was smart enough to point out that this claim was merely the professor's opinion.

Yeah, it was a guy who always sat in the back of the classroom wearing sunglasses. I don't remember his name, but most people called him El Duderino.
posted by The World Famous at 9:27 AM on September 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


I lived in NZ and Canada in the late 80s, and in both places I would hear proverbial thrown in all the time, as in

I just got a proverbial ass kicking on that math test

I'm pretty sure I've heard people use it several times in one conversation.
posted by waving at 11:58 AM on September 18, 2012


The easiest way to figure out what your crutch words are is to listen to your kids. My four year old says actually at the end of her sentences a lot more than I am comfortable with.
posted by waving at 12:01 PM on September 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Like" and "[pronoun] was all..." both indicate a different level of quoting truthfulness, though.

She said = as close to accurate as possible

She was like = paraphrase

She was all = exaggaration, often for comedic effect

Examples:

She said that it was over, and I was devestated. (Note how clinical it sounds)

She was like, "OMG, I don't want to NEAR you anymore!" (Same information, vastly different emotional content to it; the emotional response of the speaker is left unspoken because it doesn't need to be)

She was all, "Ew, a bug" and I was all, "OMG I luff you *clingz!!!*" and she was all "Ew get it off Get it Off GET IT OFF" and I was all "sadface". (*cough* I'mnotabughonestlyshewasjustmyfriend)
posted by Deoridhe at 6:02 PM on September 27, 2012


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