If you want to be a classy person, stop using these 15 common words

by Lachlan Brown | July 17, 2024, 10:05 pm

The words we use matter.

They can make us sound smart or silly, kind or mean, classy or rude.

If you want to be seen as a classy person, there are some words you should think twice about using.

In this article, I’ll look at 15 words you might want to skip.

These words are often overused or can make you seem less polite or refined.

By swapping them out for better choices, you can sound more elegant and thoughtful.

Let’s dive in!

1. “Literally”

This word has been overused to the point where its original meaning has been diluted.

People often use “literally” to emphasize something that isn’t actually literal.

For example, saying “I’m literally dying of laughter” when you’re just finding something very funny.

Overuse of this word can make you sound less thoughtful and precise in your language.

Instead, try to find more accurate and creative ways to express yourself.

2. “Like”

When used as a filler word, “like” can become a verbal crutch that detracts from your speech.

Saying “I was, like, so shocked” or “It’s, like, really hot today” can make you sound less confident and articulate.

Instead, try to pause and think before you speak, eliminating the need for filler words.

This will help you come across as more composed and eloquent.

3. “Whatever”

This word can easily come off as dismissive and indifferent, especially when used in response to someone’s opinion or statement.

I remember when a close friend shared some exciting news with me, and instead of showing enthusiasm, I casually responded with a “whatever.”

I could immediately see the disappointment on my friend’s face.

The word diminished the importance of what they were saying and made me seem uncaring.

Instead of “whatever,” try responding with more engagement and interest.

A simple “That’s interesting!” or “Tell me more about it” can go a long way in making you seem more classy and attentive.

4. “Swag”

The term “swag” originated in the hip-hop community and is often used to describe a person’s style or confidence in a rather flamboyant manner.

While it might be a popular term in some circles, using it too often can make you seem like you’re trying too hard to be trendy or cool.

I recall once attending a formal event where a guest described their outfit as having “so much swag.”

It stood out as inappropriately casual and took away from the otherwise elegant atmosphere.

Instead of “swag,” try using words like “elegant,” “stylish,” or “graceful” to describe someone’s appearance or demeanor in a more refined way.

5. “Sorry”

It may seem strange to suggest that you should avoid using the word “sorry,” but there’s a good reason.

Over-apologizing, or saying “sorry” when it’s not necessary, can make you appear less confident and self-assured.

For example, if you’re constantly apologizing for things that aren’t your fault, it can make you seem unsure of yourself.

There’s a time and place for apologies, but it’s also important to stand your ground when you haven’t done anything wrong.

I once found myself saying “sorry” after someone else bumped into me, only to realize that I had no reason to apologize.

Instead of reflexively saying “sorry,” consider alternatives like “excuse me” or “pardon me” when appropriate.

Remember, being classy is also about carrying yourself with confidence.

6. “Hate”

“Hate” is a strong word that can come off as extreme and harsh, especially when used casually.

Instead of saying “I hate broccoli,” you could say “I prefer not to eat broccoli” or “Broccoli isn’t my favorite.”

Being more mindful and nuanced in your language not only makes you seem more elegant and classy but also shows that you have a greater depth of understanding and appreciation for the world around you.

7. “Gossip”

The word “gossip” often brings to mind unnecessary and negative conversations about others.

While it may seem like harmless chatter, gossiping can make you appear untrustworthy and disrespectful.

If you find yourself in a conversation where others are gossiping, you could say something like “I’d rather not talk about others when they’re not here” or simply steer the conversation in a different direction.

Classy individuals show respect for others by not engaging in or promoting gossip.

8. “Please”

Now, it might be surprising to see “please” on this list, but hear me out. While politeness is a cornerstone of classiness, overusing words like “please” can sometimes have the opposite effect.

It can come off as overly submissive or even insincere.

For instance, if you’re asking for something simple like passing the salt, a simple “Could you pass the salt?” is sufficient without adding a “please” at the end. It’s all about balance.

Of course, there are times when “please” is appropriate and conveys genuine respect.

The key is to use it judiciously, so that when you do say it, it carries the proper weight.

9. “Cheap”

Referring to something as “cheap” can often come off as disrespectful or dismissive.

It implies a lack of value or worth, and it’s not a word that conveys a sense of class.

I once had a friend who would often comment on the “cheap” decor at various places we visited.

I noticed that it made others feel uncomfortable and even embarrassed.

Instead of “cheap,” try using more neutral words like “inexpensive” or “affordable.”

These alternatives express the same idea without the negative connotation, and it can make a world of difference in how you’re perceived by others.

10. “Trendy”

While being aware of the latest trends can be fun, overusing the word “trendy” can make you seem shallow or superficial.

It implies that you’re only interested in things because they’re popular right now, rather than appreciating them for their inherent value.

Instead of saying something is “trendy,” try describing what you actually like about it.

For example, “I love the bold colors in this painting” or “This song has such a catchy melody.”

This way, you’re expressing a genuine appreciation for something, rather than just following the crowd.

11. “Honestly”

It may seem counterintuitive to avoid the word “honestly,” since it implies that you’re being truthful.

However, overusing it can actually have the opposite effect, making people question whether you’re always being honest.

If you frequently start sentences with “Honestly, …,” it might unintentionally imply that other times you’re not being honest.

I once had a colleague who used “honestly” so much that it started to feel like he was trying to convince us of his sincerity rather than simply being sincere. Instead of using “honestly,” just state your opinion or facts plainly.

People will trust you more if you’re straightforward rather than constantly emphasizing your honesty.

12. “OMG”

While “OMG” (short for “Oh My God”) has become a popular expression of surprise or excitement, especially in text messages and online conversations, it can come across as immature or unprofessional in more formal or in-person settings.

Using the full phrase or simply finding other ways to express your emotions, like “That’s incredible!” or “I can’t believe it!” can make you sound more articulate and mature.

13. “Yolo”

“Yolo” is an acronym for “You Only Live Once,” and it’s often used to justify doing something risky or impulsive.

While it’s true that we should seize the day and make the most of our lives, using “yolo” can come across as thoughtless or reckless.

Instead of using “yolo” as an excuse for rash decisions, try to express yourself more thoughtfully.

For example, “I’ve decided to take this opportunity because I believe it’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience” shows that you’re making a considered choice rather than acting on a whim.

14. “No Offense”

Starting or ending a statement with “no offense” often signals that what you’re about to say could be offensive or hurtful.

In fact, it can draw more attention to the negative aspect of what you’re saying.

If you feel the need to preface your words with “no offense,” you might want to reconsider whether you should say it at all.

Instead, aim for open and respectful communication that doesn’t require a disclaimer.

15. “Irregardless”

“Irregardless” is often used in place of “regardless,” but it’s not actually a standard English word.

In fact, it’s a double negative, combining “irrespective” and “regardless.”

Using “irregardless” can make you seem less educated or attentive to details.

Instead, stick to using “regardless” to convey the same meaning without the linguistic confusion.

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