A Really, Really Awesome List

We wish to thank newsletter reader Dorothy Rosby for permission to use the clever article she developed after reading our recent posts Worn-Out Words and Phrases: 2017 and its Follow-up post. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did.


It’s come to my attention that I use the words awesome and amazing far more often than my circumstances merit. Recently, GrammarBook.com’s editors published a newsletter containing a list of words and phrases its contributors think are overused. At first, I scoffed at the list. I’ve never used the latest “in” words and phrases—my badchill pillcool beans—because they very quickly become clichés and, as a professional columnist, I avoid clichés at all costs—like the plague.

But then I noticed amazing and awesome at the top of the list. I use them interchangeably to describe everything from the Grand Canyon to a quick nap.

Also on the list were really and pretty, two modifiers I also use far too often, as in “seeing the total eclipse would be pretty awesome” and “this tapioca pudding is really, really amazing.” Absolutely, was on the list and I use it almost as often, even though I seldom feel as certain as it makes me sound. And seriously? I absolutely say “seriously” at least once a day. I say “sounds good” almost every time I agree to anything, even when it doesn’t sound good at all. And I have not only said “drop the ball,” I have done it.

Still, I’m proud to say that there were many words/phrases on GrammarBook’s overused word/phrase list that I rarely use. I don’t say “think outside the box,” and I probably don’t do it much either.

Nor do I say “paradigm shift.” Over the years, I’ve had a lot of things shift, but I’m not sure my paradigm is one of them.

And, honestly, I hardly ever say “honestly.” I always figure it’s implied. Besides it brings to mind that Ralph Waldo Emerson quote: “The louder he talked of his honor, the faster we counted our spoons.”

I never say “It’s all good,” because nothing is ever all good. I think people only say, “It’s all good” because “it’s mostly good” isn’t as catchy.

And I don’t say “my bad,” either, mainly because it means “I was wrong,” and I seldom am—honestly.

Like made the list, and it does, like, baffle me why some people, like, sprinkle the word like, as if it were salt and pepper throughout, like, every conversation.

I was happy to see just saying on the list, because I’ve never understood it. Someone says something dramatic, and then they add “just saying,” or, more precisely “just sayin’.” Do they mean, “I’m just saying it because I can’t keep quiet another minute”? Or “I’m just saying it, but I don’t really mean it”? Or “I’m just saying it because I don’t feel like singing it”?

There were many other overused words and phrases on the list that I rarely use including high impactlow key, cutting edgeit’s not rocket science, and alrighty then. But there were a few that didn’t make the list that I think should have, for example, but wait, you also get … and its numerous variations. And it is what it is, always sounds far more profound than it is … and what it is.

And sweet is the new tubular, which replaced gnarly, which came after groovy, which replaced keen, which came after gas, which was once the bee’s knees and the cat’s pajamas.

But I was happy my favorite overused phrases weren’t on the list because I don’t want to stop saying them. I say “you know” or “you know what I mean” as often as teenagers say “like” and motivational speakers say “paradigm shift.” But I have a good reason. I say something important—really, really important, then I say, “You know what I mean,” because I’m not sure anyone does. I’m just sayin’.

Dorothy Rosby is a syndicated humor columnist. You can read her work at www.dorothyrosby.com.

Posted on Tuesday, August 29, 2017, at 8:16 pm

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3 Comments on A Really, Really Awesome List

3 responses to “A Really, Really Awesome List”

  1. Cheryl J. says:

    I have to say I REALLY enjoyed this article. I realized that too many of the words mentioned were part of my daily vocabulary. Thank you so much for sharing it with all of us.

  2. Bob G. says:

    Dorothy Rosby’s delightful extension on GrammarBook’s previous treatment of overused words was really, really, peachy keen!

  3. Sharon M. says:

    I really enjoy your newsletters. One expression that seems very popular these days, especially with younger adults, is “no problem.” I have gotten this as a response from wait persons when they bring something to the table and I’ve thanked them for it. Also, I hear this at the grocery store when I have thanked the person checking out my groceries. What ever happened to a simple “you’re welcome”?
    Thanks for letting me get this off my chest because it really bothers me that people doing their job think I may consider it a problem for them to just do their job. I feel like responding to them by saying something like, “I hope it’s no problem for you to do your job.” I’d much rather hear “you’re welcome.”

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