The worst words ever

Grumpy, bored woman with her head in her hands looking at a computer screen.
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on

So, in complete contrast from my blog on the best words ever, this is going to focus its attention on my opinion of the worst words ever.  As much as I love words, there are just those that, well, take up space and don’t often give you anything for it.  Whether those words cause frustration, give you a case of the sleepies, or simply cause you to wonder what’s going on in the sentence, they’re ineffective.  Unlike the previous post, it took me precisely 30 seconds to think of some of my least favourite words.  Why?  I love most words, so my hatred list is pretty short.

The worst words ever

I know that professional writers are supposed to love all words, but that’s overrated.  The simple fact is that some words are just completely useless and leave good writers open to ridicule when used in conversation or writing.  Here are some of the worst offenders:

  • Thing: I abhor this word.  That being said, I have to admit that I do use it in conversation whenever my mind goes blank in the middle of the sentence (which happens a lot).  For example: “And then I went and got the…oh, what’s it called?  You know, the-the thing!”.  It always makes me feel like I’m flailing because it’s such a useless word.  I strive to avoid it wherever possible in my writing because if I am using it, it leads me to believe that I’m just too lazy to look up the word I’m searching for. 
  • Stuff: I can’t be the only one who hates this word!  Sure, it’s frustrating when it’s used in conversation, but it’s even more frustrating when used in writing.  Especially if it’s writing that you’ve paid for, or you’re getting paid to write for a customer!  One way I hate it most is: “You can use it to help you in the kitchen and stuff like that.”.  Much like with “thing”, this is what I call a lazy word.  In conversation, it can be used to imply you don’t want to fill in more detail (for whatever valid reason), but in writing it just gives off the vibe “I don’t know and I don’t care.  Figure it out yourself.”.  Not a good sentiment for a writer to give, that’s for sure!
  • Very/Really: When either one of these is used (or both!) in a phrase, it makes me roll my eyes.  Conversationally it doesn’t bother me because most people use it with emphasis so you an understand the importance of the word.  In writing, though, I don’t see a use for it: “The steel is very strong”, for example, just makes me roll my eyes and itch to-rewrite the description using stronger, active descriptors instead.  If you used both of these in the same line, such as “It was really, very good”, you can bet it’ll earn you a double eye roll!

Not all words are good words

Can you guess a common theme?  That’s right, the ones I hate the most are lazy words.  Writers and readers, this is a safe place. Feel free to share any of your own hated words and explain why they are your top choices for the worst words ever.  Whether you agree or disagree, please be supportive.  Do you see any way in which my picks could be useful contributors to a sentence?  If so, please share!

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Kelterss View All →

Kelterss is an experienced freelance content writer and a published author based in New Brunswick, Canada. She writes website content, blog posts, and product descriptions for customers worldwide. Kelterss specializes in writing about mental health, fitness, and dog behaviour. Freelancing since 2014, Kelterss has earned over 3,200 reviews and has a 4.9/5-star rating.

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