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other people say:

"at the end of the day"
"ballpark figure"
"very very" (not just "very", but repeated- very common among Radio 4 presenters)
"in the final analysis"

Obviously, I never ever overuse any word. Obviously.


(Well that and I apparently exude frigid bitch when it is directed to my husband....)


You do use Fuck an awful lot, but I'm not complaining. It's a very handy word.

No fucking way, I never say fuck. Ever.


That is funny Tertia. This is the first time im commenting on your blog!

Anyway, im in London and the phrase ppl use a lot here is 'to be honest'...its like you ask a question and the answer will always start with 'TBH'. And now i also do it!!

It is weird. Lots of others i suppose but that one stands out.
Another one ppl use a lot is starting of with ' Basically.....'


Love your blog and how you write. Dying to read your book soon.

my kids have started calling friends, family, etc, "kitten" and "darling".

there's no word that you overuse, but i don't like it when you are overly negative about yourself. if only you knew the difference you have made in people's lives! xo

I hear all my speech coming back to me from my daughter. I overuse "actually" (Especially at the start of a sentence), and "for some reason" (I just can't help it, for some reason). Oh and I have a very annoying habit of saying "Oh yeah, no..." As in when someone says "Don't you hate it when your daughter does this?" and I say "Oh yeah...no, it's really annoying".

And when I'm writing I tend to overuse "Anyway,"...I think it's usually to bring me back to some sort of point when I've gone off the track.

Can't think of anything you overuse!

I suck!

Apparently, I use the word "Well" to start a sentence quite often because both of my boys will start with an overdramatic "WELL..." before they say whatever it is they have to say. I thought it was kind of funny until I heard myself doing it!

My mom and I are REALLY bad about the exclamation marks in our emails to each other (and, well - see there's that word - to others, too). I think we like to shout at each other!

"literally" is also one of my pet peeves, because usually people don't actually mean it.

other pet peeves: people who say "irregardless" (not a word, they mean "regardless"); and using the nominative case as the object of a preposition: "he gave the information to jane and i."

a few choice explitives have been coming out of my son's mouth these days, so i guess i'm overusing them! i used to have a real potty mouth, but since kids, i *thought* i was getting better.

in writing, things i overuse inculde the following: the colon, parenthases and the semi-colon; i also use pompous words such as "moreover" (which is a good variation on "in addition").

pet peeve in writing: putting periods and commas outside of quotation marks; for example, in the above sentence, if i had not (over) used the parenthases in the last sentence, the period would go inside the quotations around "in addition." like that.

see how good i am at these bad habits??

I second everything Mama Marta said about pet peeves, etc. One of my pet peeves is when people say "Additionally" instead of "In addition," so your "bad" habit of "In addition" actually sounds pretty good to me. There is nothing wrong with "additionally," by the way; I just don't like it. I don't know why.

But what I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, is being around toddlers as they acquire language. To your kiddos, "now" is just a suffix and it will be awhile before they figure out that it's a separate word. I love how they do things like call a box a "bock" because it's 1 sock, 2 socks, and somehow they transfer that the word that sounds like "bocks" is therefore plural. One time, my daughter said "let's rockaminute for a minute" (in the rocking chair) and I realized that I always said, "Let's rock a minute" and she thought it was all one word, and continued thinking so even after she learned the oncept of doing something FOR a minute!!!

Okay, and then the stuff they repeat back to us--or the way they reprimand their dolls sounds just like us reprimanding them. Oh, I love it.

Anyway. It's fun!

My BFF starts everything with "from my perspective" - no shit, it's coming out of your mouth. She says it so much that we started to tease her and now we laugh anytime she accidently says it.

and whatnot.

I HATE with a purple passion this phrase.

Also not a fan of "like" and "you know".

Bad grammar is one of my pet peeves. (Now thinking this post will be full of bad grammar just for "saying" that.)

For instance, "Look at them chairs." Or, "My toe hurts worser than yours."

Oh, one I REALLY REALLY HATE is when someone says "ax" instead of "ask." You know, "Can I ax you a question?" "No, but you can ask me one." HATE THAT!

According to my 3-year-old mynah bird, I use introductory adverbs and interjections constantly. ("Well...," "Certainly...," "Let's see...," etc.) Because so does he, and indiscriminately at that. Any expression is fair game to start off a sentence for him. Hopefully I'm using them a little more judiciously.

tessy, "ax" for "ask" is actually part of black english vernacular, which is a dialect of english spoken by some african americans. (ignore the rest of this comment if you already know that and hate it anyway; bev is just something i'm really interested in.) it is a dialect that has complete grammatical integrity and is rule-driven like all other grammars. here's an example: if you ask a speaker of bev where joe is, and the speaker responds "he be hanging out on the corner with his friends," the speaker is not trying to say "joe is on the corner with his friends," but doing it grammatically incorrectly. in bev, the construction "he be doing x, y or z" is not bad grammar for "he is doing x, y or z"; rather it means "he is routinely doing x, y or z." if the speaker wanted to let you know joe was hanging out on the corner with his friends this one time, he would say "he is on the corner with his friends." that's just one example of how something that sounds grammatically incorrect from the perspective of standard english is actually grammatical and rule driven in the dialect of black english vernacular. so, if an african american uses "ax" instead of "ask," you can be sure that they are simply speaking their dialect, and doing it grammatcially correctly.

now, if what you have a problem with is people speaking their dialect when you think they should be speaking standard english, that's another matter completely!

What Mamamarta said. Literally, in particular, bugs me. It literally makes me want to scream.

One that makes me laugh is "supposably" instead of supposedly. (Or "asposably," as my 4.5-year-old says.)

I say "apparently" way too much.

My word abuse target is "clearly" and I hate it - as in "Clearly you are mistaken. I do not think about sex all the time. In fact dear, I NEVER think about it, now leave me alone" Oh...did I share too much?

I am guilty of overusing every single friggin' one of the above-mentioned words, phrases and then some! I also frequently overuse grammatically incorrect language when i write *IN ADDITION TO* using my punctuation in an abhorrent manner!

My personal favorites to overuse:

At the end of the day
Very, very

My kids have not yet started to mimic me, but, at the first sign i plan to contact all my friends and family to organize an intervention for my potty mouth!

P.S. I love to use the lower case "i" to refer to myself when writing. I know it goes against all the rules of proper grammar, but, i think it better describes how i feel about myself as a person than using a capital "I". I do not feel that i am that important to command a capital letter to describe myself, and, it is quicker to do when typing.
I will, however, use a capital for the letter "i" when i begin a sentence to stick to the rules somewhat.
Crazy, i know! I just feel better being less noticeable!

Not you, but a lot of bloggers overuse "...I digress."
I don't know why this bugs me, but it just does.

One thing that gets me is when people use 3 or 4 exclamation points when writing an email. Or, when they use ... for the end of a sentence, or even in the middle of the sentence where it makes no sense.

Also, when someone answers the phone and says "this is him/her."

But, the kicker is putting "you know" into every sentence. No, I don't know, tell me!

A dear friend of mine recently said something about her head literally blowing up. She wouldn't have said "literally" if she weren't under a lot of stress, so I didn't razz her for it. But so many people misuse "literally"—I like to mock them for it.

To hear my kid talk, apparently I mutter "Jesus Christ!" in irritation an awful lot. He's got my intonation down cold.

"Uber". I am so sick of that word I could just puke. "Uber" everything. Yuck.

I'm sure as she talks more I'll find out about even more words I overuse. Currently the two big ones seem to be "Hmmmm" and "Yeah."

"Hmmm" I can live with, but I'm not as happy about "Yeah."

you, your, you've

I try to explain things in a non-blaming way. I need to correct the action/behavior more and not use a you-form word. It doesn't always work, and the I hear phrases that my mother used, for negative/bad actions/behavior.

Look at what YOU'VE done. Should have been, look at what happened

YOU were a bad boy. Should have been, Your behavior was unacceptable. (Because children are always good)

etc. etc.

LMAO over here.

As for me, in writing I overuse "anyway" - for some reason I struggle to think of how else to start a new paragraph. In speech, I overuse "actually" (v pompous). In fact hearing my 2-yr-old use the word is quite hilarious. People always look at her like 'did she really just say that?'

As for you, I don't notice any overusage of anything on your part.

p.s. Just read through the comments and was shocked that Jodie wrote almost the exact same thing. I guess 'actually' and 'anyway' must be kindred sisters somehow.

On the flip side of your question, there are things that I've picked UP from you (and Julie) that I adore.

One example is when you are making a very strong point about something, and put hard stops in the middle of the sentence.

Just. like. this.

It strikes me as very funny, and strangely appropriate for the message you are trying to convey.

As to things I say/type out of habit that are probably annoying... I learned a few years ago that I (apparently) personify animals by referring to them as "little fella." For instance, "Aw, look at that sweet little fella! HI, little fella! I sure wish I could hug that Little Fella."

My husband pointed it out to me, as it was seeping over into my conversations to/about humans (males, thank goodness!). What was meant as affection was being perceived as a derogatory remark, especially when directed at my cousin (who is short, and has issues with his height). I felt so awful, because I truly didn't realize I was even SAYING "that phrase." So I try to be MUCH more careful with its use now (though probably still overuse it terribly).

People usse the word "literally" to mean "really," or, "I am speaking emphatically." As a result, folks tend to forget that it properly means only "in fact, and not metaphorically." So sometimes people will utter gibberish such as, "He literally bit my head off." Oh, really? How then do you continue to speak, headless as you are?

Oops. Obviously I didn't read Woody's Girl's comment or I wouldn't have essentially repeated it. Heh.

Tertia, on a different topic, my husband and I would like to contribute to an African AIDS orphans' charity. I think you posted about one on your blog. Could you post a link to that entry? Thank you. -V.

I must use "actually" on a pretty regular basis, as my 2 year old starts nearly every sentence with it!

my co-worker says "in a nutshell" and "basically" a LOT....drives me crazy, esp when he says "Basically, in a nutshell..." TOGETHER and then goes into a lengthy explanation of whatever it is he's trying to say. GRRR!

My 3 yr old is saying "actually" all the time recently...as in when I ask if she has poops (nope, not potty trained yet but that's another story) she says "no... actually, yes I do mommy". Her 'Actually's are cracking me up (except when it comes to diaper issues, lol!)

"very unique"

Several other folks have hit my highlights ("irregardless" sets my teeth on edge, especially since it usually is used by someone trying to sound smart). There does appear to be one word I overuse, particularly while driving. This was brought home to me when I allowed my twin girls to "drive" in the two-seater shopping cart car thingie, whereupon they both commenced with little horn beeps and shouts of "IDIOT!", to the delight of fellow shoppers. Ummm... yeah, girls, I guess Mom needs to chill out just a bit behind the wheel, eh?

And you, Tertia? Unless you count "Fuck", which has so many marvelous and nuanced applications so doesn't count, not really ... I can't think of a word you overuse. Like Mary Poppins, you are practically perfect in every way. :) (Can you tell we've watched a certain video a few times in my household recently?)

Hi Tertia,
This is funny because the one phrase my girl picked up and now uses against me is "Calm down!" I will be looking for the remote(or whatever else is gone missing) and grumbling about how the husband just can't put things back where they belong and this little toddler looks at me and pushes her hands down, palms flat and says " Calm down Mama, calm down. I'm here. Don't worry". It is so sweet. One other funny thing; when she was a baby she would not say thank you or you're welcome. She covered both bases with one phrase "Thank-Um". Nice. I like a multitasker.
Keep your head up girl, the view is better :)

"Anywoo" Written or spoken, hate it.

Oh I am practically wetting myself laughing thinking about Woody's Girl greeting her short and self-conscious cousin with the cheery cry of 'Well hello, little fella!'

Also, what mammamarta said. My reaction to 'irregardless' is particularly savage: use either 'regardless' or 'irrespective', dammit.

Moi? I dread to think.

I've read your blog for a long time but never posted, and the God of Mother-in-Laws will strike me down for this one, but I particularly loathe people who say "Well, I'm sorry but..." before slagging off someone else's actions, family etc. You're very obviously NOT sorry, so don't pretend to excuse your opinions with that preface.... grrrr.

When I'm writing mine are definitely 'actually' and 'really', I don't know if I overuse them quite so much when I'm talking. I use 'basically' and 'still' quite a bit too.

Alchemilla - I nearly choked on a peanut just now, reading your comment. Looking back, I'm amazed that my cousin didn't kill me in that moment.

Helen - your comment reminded me of one "Southern" expression that puts me on edge. I have learned to duck for cover whenever someone says, "Bless her heart..." because it is usually followed by an unsavory remark about somebody. For instance, "Bless her heart. She probably just doesn't KNOW how to do laundry!"

It's a shame, because that was one of my all-time favorite expressions as a child. My mother used it so sparingly that I knew I had earned real sympathy whenever she said it.

I thought of another phrase I say all too often - "Oh, for CRYING OUT LOUD!" I'm certain I say it on a daily basis (probably multiple times). Oops.

Whenever Miss Pink falls down, she immediately chants, "okay, okay" which we quickly realized was in response to our telling her "You're okay, you're okay" when she was learning to walk. She did manage to say "fucking" the other day when I was having a 36-year-old tantrum, but it hasn't popped out again.

DH pointed out recently that my worst verbal tic is saying, "six of one, half dozen of the other" when comparing situations. In one five minute conversation I managed to use it three times to describe three different instances. Oops.

I HATE "I digress". It gives me the cold shudders.

My daughter says I talk in outline form. I think she's right.

I dislike the overuse of "now" by talking-heads on TV but it's not the way you use it, Tertia. It's more like, "Now, the police say the suspect blah blah. Now, neighbors say blah blah. Now, the suspect is blah blah."

Re: Ax/ask, black English. The black people I know actually have trouble pronouncing "ask". Don't know why. I hear "ax" so much I sometimes say it myself. And I never hear "Joe be hangin' out on the corner" ... around here it's "Joe hangin' out on the corner" because "thass what he do." Agree totally about the internal set of rules. I slip up and use black English from time to time because it sounds right to me, except when it comes out in my white voice. I'm always afraid my black friends and coworkers will think I'm making fun of them.

I don't really listen to myself talk, serisouly, if you've had a conversation with me, you'll understand why i tune out! But in blog entries and IM i tend to say anyways or anyhow quite a bit. I think I use them in RL conversations too.

I once had a friend who prefaced damn near everything with "Bottom line," and it got really old really fast.

My kid gives me the brush-off with "Yeah, yeah" and "Whatever," which my husband tells me he picked up from me. *gasp* No!

In writing I overuse "in addition", "as well as" and "anyway". I also use LOL too much in emails and forum posts (but I don't put a million smilies after it).

I use fuck too much when speaking. Luckily my 2yo hasn't picked that one up yet but he has picked up "come on", "don't", "stop it", "let's go" and "what are you doing?" - with a perfect copy of my intonation.

The word that other people overuse that I have a pet peeve about is "actually".

I like the full stops in the middle of sentences, like Woody's Girl pointed out. Been using that a bit!

Actually, (and I put that in deliberately) I've noticed that friends in the blogging world do tend to pick up words, phrases and writing styles a bit from each other. There are some similarities between the way you, Karen, Julia and Julie write. And I find my writing style is influenced a little by those I read.

My worst sins:

the American "like", as in "I was, like, going to the store..." AARGH! I hate it, but I do it.

Using! Exclamation! Points! Way! WAY!!!!! too often

My own pet peeve:

"very unique" or "really unique"--there are not degrees of uniqueness. Unique means one of a kind. If there is more than one, then you are not unique. You may be unusual, but are not unique.

Oh, yes, "like"! Hate that. Far too many adult American women use the word "like" every fourth word, and it makes them sound far less intelligent than they are.

Also despise "basically." And the use of "which" when it's supposed to be "that."

My husband often says "as well too," as in "I heard that as well, too." I haven't smacked him yet, but I'm close.

People who e-mail or blog using ... instead of actual punctuation.

My son will be 2 in November... His favorite phrase (for the moment) is "Get it." "Where is your cup buddy?" *shrug* "Mommy get it!" "No, you get it." "Oh." :-) Good stuff.

My 19 month old is starting to say "hmm" after I say "hmm" which is making be realize how often I do.
(sorry Sue, I like ... and think it has its place)

Doncha hate it when people use 'arbitrary' in the wrong context - it freaks me out when they are trying to say random, and they say arbitrary!! (Now I don't say arbitrary at all, cos they wouldn't understand me)!

Gosh this is days old, but I must speak my peace! (or is it piece???)

Using "then" instead of "than". DRIVES ME NUTS! "You ate more lunch than I, then we went for a walk..."

My former #1 peeve was "irregardless" oh it just makes me cringe.

Phew, I feel so much better.

I tend to overuse commas when I write. Also I use cliches more often than I should. My dad is guilty of overusing "in any event" when speaking.

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