12 words and phrases you should never use

Some of these are verbal fillers, and others can be downright rude. Cut them from your vocabulary.

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Last year I published an article containing some of my least favorite words and phrases. Dozens of readers commented and added entries to the list, so I’ve compiled the words and phrases people said they detest the most, and added a few of my own:

1. “Happy Memorial Day”: In the United States, Memorial Day is the day we honor the men and women who died while serving in the military. It’s a somber day of remembrance and appreciation for many, but for others it’s little more than a reason to enjoy a long weekend. “Happy Memorial Day” is not only contradictory (it’s like saying “Happy Funeral!”), but disrespectful to anyone mourning a loss.

2. “Utilize”: This is one of those rarely necessary, pompous-sounding words. As reader John Barnett wrote, “I really hate ‘utilize’ … for some reason government and academic writers love [that word] in order to make something sound very official and important … So I ask: What’s wrong with ‘use?'”

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