12 words and phrases you're using at work that make you sound dumb

Commonly Mispronounced Words
Commonly Mispronounced Words

How you communicate with others at work plays a big role in how you're perceived, your capacity to move projects forward, your ability to generate trust, and how quickly you advance in your career.

That's according to Lynn Taylor, a national workplace expert and the author of "Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant: How to Manage Childish Boss Behavior and Thrive in Your Job."

"Your ability to articulate your thoughts and ideas well have a direct correlation to how well you garner cooperation and persuade others to support your efforts and projects," she says.

"The words you choose also convey your emotional intelligence."

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Your verbal communications can make or break your relationship with your boss, team, clients, business partners, and your industry network. And if you use language that dumbs you down, you may be misunderstood by those around you at work, which can significantly hurt your ability to advance.

"A well-spoken person never goes out of style," says Taylor. "While it can be tempting to use shortcuts when speaking, go into slang mode, or just follow the crowd, you should try not to."

Using the following words and terms can chip away at your professional image, she says. "We're all capable of falling into of these traps, but the trick is to catch yourself and avoid making them a habit."

Here are 12 words and phrases we all use at work from time to time that may be dumbing us down:


"This is part of a 'set' or family that goes with 'Totally,' 'Like' and 'Um.' A family that no one wants to visit," says Taylor.


Avoid vulgar language and profanities at work. They're unprofessional and dumb you down.

"Having a trash mouth never got anyone promoted, and can get you into trouble at work. Save it for your ride home (unless you take mass transit)," Taylor writes.


"This makes you wonder how much productivity time in corporate America could be gained if this useless word could be 'literally' banished," she says.


"No one really needs to shout if they're congratulating you," Taylor says. "So let's put this phrase to rest."

'Oh my God!'

There are many better, smarter ways to express your shock or excitement.


"Another classic that hasn't parted from today's jargon, but can be reminiscent of walking through a mall bursting with teen drama," says Taylor.


"It just doesn't convey a high degree of intelligence," she says. "You'll be seen as far more credible when you're direct and speak professionally."

'I know, riiight?!'

"This phrase seems to have lost some of its allure from a couple years ago, thankfully," she says. "Well-meaning people use it and are they're trying to be very agreeable. But when it's virtually in every other sentence, it can seem hollow and irritating."

'No worries'

"I have fallen prey to this, and it's not a big offender," Taylor admits. "But when it's used to replace 'thank you,' versus 'no problem at all,' I fear that 'thank you' will fade into old English oblivion."


"Granted, it could be a lot worse," she says. "But this is one of those words that has gotten so overused, that when you say, 'That's awesome,' it's almost like saying, 'Nice ... what else?'"

Misused words

If you're not sure, don't use it.

"It can be fun to use a great, descriptive word you recently heard, but check with dictionary.com first," Taylor advises.

Made-up words

Just ... don't.

Click through for the most misspelled words in each state:

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SEE ALSO: 32 things you should never say to your boss