Why You Should Stop Using Words Like Absolutely, Actually, Literally & Alright. Ten Words & Phrases That Bring Down Business Communication
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By Priyadarshini Mahendran
From using words incorrectly to overusing certain phrases, here’s a list of 10 words and phrases you should stop using this year, or use correctly.
Boss: “Do you think the solution to our sales problems is increasing advertising?”
Customer: “I spoke to Mr Arvind three times today, and he was very rude. I was shocked.”
Ram: “Absolutely! He shouldn’t be speaking that way. I apologize on behalf of the company.”
When you speak this way, it means that you “absolutely” do not mean a word that you’re saying.
Stick to simple language. Use a yes or a no instead. You can also use phrases like I agree with you or You’re right.
Replace absolutely in the conversations above with the suggested words or phrases. It makes you sound sincerer, doesn’t it?
2. Having said that
This is a phrase used to contrast or disagree with something that was said a moment ago. Most people use this incorrectly.
Incorrect usage: “Our budget has to be cut down drastically. Having said that, you’ll realize why we have to cut on costs.
Correct usage: “Prashant’s work has been fairly good. Having said that, I still think there’s room for improvement.”
So, either use it correctly, or don’t use it all.
3. Please find attached
This is an overly used phrase in business emails. It’s used to explain that there is an attachment in the email with additional information. The phrase sounds like you’re stating that you’ve lost something in your email, and want the reader to find it for you.
The enclosed document shows …
Please review the attached file …
I have attached …
4. For your information
This phrase is used to state that the sender has some information for the reader. But it sounds rude and has an almost arrogant ring to it; like “For your information, I know better than you!”
It would be best if you’d drop this phrase from your vocabulary. Instead, you can say:
I would like to inform you …
I wish to inform you …
I’d like to inform you …
5. Do the needful
What is the needful that needs to be done? It is better to simply explain what needs to be done instead of assuming the reader knows what you mean by the “needful”.
Other phrases you can use are:
Please do (what is required) …
Could you please do ….
Request you to …
Meant to be used to explain the meaning of something in its exact sense, literally is used nowadays as an intensifier for things that aren’t completely true. This leads to confusion.
For example: “I literally want you to explain the process of production to Deepa.”
I need you to explain the process of production to Deepa.
You are required to share the process of production with Deepa.
Literally doesn’t add any value to your statement literally. You might as well do without it …
There is no word such as alright. It is a common misspelling of two words – all right.
We will deal with the union problems tomorrow, all right?
All right, I’ve got to go for my meeting now …
8. Reach out
To reach out to someone means you want to help them. Do not say “I tried to reach out to you, but your phone was not reachable.”
It’s the worst way to tell someone that you tried to contact them. Just tell them that you tried to call, email or text them.
I tried to contact you …
The minute you use this word, your credibility drops, drastically. It clearly indicates that whatever you want to say has to be researched further. It also confuses communication.
10. Due to the fact that
Avoid wordy phrases like this one and instead use words like because, since or why.
Priyadarshini is a CELTA Cambridge graduate and a passionate English language trainer. She enjoys reading, writing and listening to music.