Verbal Tick

Daily Prompt

Is there a word or a phrase you use (or overuse) all the time, and are seemingly unable to get rid of? If not, what’s the one that drives you crazy when others use it?

Maybe yeah. When I say it, it makes me cringe. I either hyper-correct or apologize for having used it.

I don’t say like, either. I write like or inflect it in my speech to tease or sound silly, because it is one of the silliest, most obnoxious forms of the old-fashioned and just as annoying uh, or um.

Being a linguist, I can’t help myself. I listen in, eavesdrop, and dwell on strange, new utterances the way a food critic dines on something overpriced and portioned for a sparrow.

The British pants (I don’t want to know. I really don’t want to know) and naked are two of the stupidest it words to come along, and even though I don’t live on that side of the pond, I still hear them and see them in print online. They’re both creepy and highly irritating to hear or have to read.

Remember when really was fashionable? The sarcastic, you’re an idiot, and this is more effective at conveying my disdain than just rolling my eyes really. It used to make me giggle to hear that one, and like LIKE, I only said it to be sarcastic or funny.

But then came the first day of an up-scale, high-brow, above 400-level Medieval Lit class. The Prof read to us in Olde English format, pronunciation/accent and all. I’m in complete awe of this woman and looking forward to the rest of the semester when I start hearing random really in as droll, exaggerated a tone as you can imagine.


My ultimate favorite in the can’t stand it anymore, and this nonsense needs to stop category, though, would have to be the incongruous yeah-no. (anything in bold are included in the list of don’t want to hear uttered anymore, please)

“Did you have lunch yet?”

“Yeah, no. Not yet.”


“Yeah, no. Well, kinda.”

“Is that an orangutan lurking about in the parking lot?”

(turns to see) “Yeah, no. Um, wow.” (laughs) “Yeah, no. WaitWhat? That is an orangutan in the parking lot! What the f*ck! It’s a f*cking orangutan! OMG!”

“Should we run?” (holding up a smart phone, terrified and yet more concerned about being the first to post this amazing situation online).

“Yeah, no. We should run, right? Like, it’s an orangutan, right? He’s, like, dangerous, right?”

“Yeah, no. He’s, like, way over there, and, we’re, like so way over here, right? Yeah, no, I think we’re, like, safe.”

Then there are the f-bombs, which I courteously dropped into that last bit of dialogue for the sake of convenience.

I don’t speak this way in public! A lot of my public speaking consists of smiling and head nodding, a yes or no once every ten minutes or so. A thank you if someone refreshes my drink, and the Hi, how are you? have already been dispensed with at the door when I arrived.

Way this and way that cracks me up, too. I write it and even say it to be funny, because like all these other nonsense words and phrases that trend, I can’t help being a smart-aleck with them.

Back in the day words, though, now those were some chill (cool, sweet, awesome) words and phrases. Fox meant hot, hip meant hipster, and gay actually meant dumb because it was an opposite interpretation of happy, joyful and fun. Us cool 80’s kids coined the word gay not to be derogatory or mean but to poke fun at the archaic form of the word, and it trended into something derogatory. I still say that’s gay, and I like watching old clips from That’s Gay on YouTube.

Then there were the stupid things like bomb (no THE, and to mean great), and Boge (shortened Bogart) to mean not nice. I never got that one and didn’t use it. I associated Humphrey with every utterance and never thought he was a bad guy, so . . .

Sweet was trending at the time, and so was radical (later shortened to just rad). We partied hearty, got the munchies after getting high, and my beer usually got skunked because I’m more of a teetotaler. Lame was just coming onto the scene (the place to be), and Dream On (yeah, right) filled everyone’s ears. We didn’t flee or run or leave, we booked, and we got down (danced) at the discos (clubs). Bad (awesome) in every conceivable form used to be uttered in my day, too. Bitchin’ (way cool, sweet) more often than not referred to hot-rods and great music.

😀 way, too funny LOL 😀

About RaineBalkera

Aspiring Author of Romance
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3 Responses to Verbal Tick

  1. wscottling says:

    I’m guilty of using a lot of these, but I don’t apologize for It. I like using them and think some of them are way cool. BTW, I studied linguistics in college too. 🙂


    • RaiBal says:

      I’m just guilty of always making fun of them 😀 That’s neat that you’re into LInguistics, too! Thanks for stopping by and commenting, too.


      • wscottling says:

        I’m more of a dabbler than anything — mostly because my university didn’t have an actual degree for Linguistics. I had to get my MA in shudder Literature. Blah. But I took every linguistics course they offered, and I got TESOL certified in the process. You know, in case I have to teach or sumthin’. It’s a cool subject.


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