14 words and phrases you're using at work that make you sound dumb

Earlier this year We published a list of 12 words and phrases you’re using at work that make you sound dumb. It included words like “literally,” “totally,” and “legit.”

At the time, Lynn Taylor, a national workplace expert and the author of “Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant: How to Manage Childish Boss Behaviour and Thrive in Your Job,” said that how you communicate with others at work plays a big role in how you’re perceived, your ability to move projects forward and generate trust, and how quickly you advance in your career.

She said your verbal communications can also make or break your relationship with your boss, team, clients, business partners, and your industry network — and explained that if you use language that dumbs you down, you may be misunderstood by those around you at work, which can significantly hurt your chances of advancing and succeeding.

Shortly after publishing the list, Taylor shared 14 more words and phrases that make you sound dumb. Keep scrolling to see if they’re ones you’re using on a regular basis.

'OMG, shut up!' or 'No, stop it!'

You never want to use this to tell someone to be quiet at work -- but that's not even what we're talking about here.

If you're genuinely surprised or excited by something at work, there are better ways to express your those feelings than saying something dumb like, 'Shut up?!?!'

Instead try, 'Wow, that's great!' or 'I'm so thrilled about this opportunity!'

'For sure'

How about, 'yes?' The phrase 'for sure' will make you sound immature and, well, kind of dumb.


It's great to be happy at work. But when you're particularly excited or proud of something, don't yell out 'booyah!' It's annoying for so many reasons.

'Dude,' 'man,' or 'bro'

No, no, no.

Don't refer to your male colleagues as 'dude' or 'man' or worst of all, 'bro.' Just ... don't.

'Chicks' or 'girls'

The same goes for 'chicks.' It's highly offensive and inappropriate, even if you're a woman referring to other women this way.

'Whattup?' or 'sup?'

Stop with the slang. You're not a teenager instant messaging your BFF on AIM.

'Um' or 'uh'

We understand that you sometimes use these as filler words when you're nervous, and you may feel like you can't control the number of 'ums' and 'uhs' you use on a daily basis, but you can!

Overusing these words will make you sound less competent and can kill your credibility, so you'll want to pay attention to how frequently you use them, and take the right steps to stop saying them forever.


Chances are, you're not using it currently, and you'll just sound dumb when you say it.

'Spoiler alert'

This phrase can sometimes be funny or cute, but it often comes off as cheesy, which can make you seem a little less intelligent.


If you're trying to say, 'me, too' then say, 'me, too.'


This is, like, another filler word you'll want to stop using, like, immediately.


Do we really need to explain this one?

'Yup,' 'yah,' 'nope,' and 'nah'

It's 'yes' and 'no.' That's all.

'My bad' or 'oopsies'

These are two of the worst ways to own up to or acknowledge a mistake at work.

Go with the most straight-forward and professional version: 'That was my mistake. I'm sorry.'

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