Three words I Hate! And they’re ADVERBS!

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(Sparrows enjoying a meal at the driveway’s edge.)

The first word is one that I don’t hear as much as I did years ago. The word CLEARLY.

Back in the day, I used to listen to National Public Radio every morning. I loved it. The one issue was the overuse, I felt, of the word “clearly.” The newscaster, whoever it may be, would be humming along with an interesting interview when sure enough a response would start thus: “Well, clearly, one can see that, blah, blah, blah.” I put up with it. It was annoying but hey, the story was good and informing. But then, some work friends of mine, who also listened to NPR, started using the word. I would make some remark about a work issue. And, the instant response: “Clearly, this is a result of…blah, blah, blah….”

I became sick of the word. Still am. It became CLEAR to me that nothing was “CLEARLY” anything! It was the speaker who felt it was CLEARLY this or that. In short, it became a hinted criticism. What? YOU don’t see the situation. WE do. It’s CLEARLY…”

The next word is one that I hear way too much: ACTUALLY!

I was talking to a relative of mine and had explained that my wife and I abandoned a particular weight loss plan because of the expense. Before I could get out my next word, he came back with, “ACTUALLY, you save money.”

What’s so ACTUALLY about it. Grrrrr. But ACTUALLY seems to be in the smart mouth of each and every “Know-it-all” out there. And like “clearly,” it seems to be a side-winder criticism. But maybe not. What really pisses me off is that I find myself actually using the word…sigh.

Another word that is annoying as hell, but I put up with it—ABSOLUTELY.

I asked an assistant manager in a popular store a few months ago if they accept American Express. “Absolutely,” he blared out.

“Absolutely?” Well, okay. Why should I be such a pedant? If they accept Am X absolutely, then fine. But then I asked the Animal Boarding people whether or not they exercise the animals twice a day, and she immediately responded, “Absolutely!” With eyebrows furrowed and head shaking. She was ringing up my bill at the time. They absolutely walk the dogs? Okay, okay.

I think the word “Absolutely” really means, “shut up!” You know, they want you to stop asking stupid questions. “Absolutely!”

In my writing I use these words to enhance the “annoyance” factor of certain annoying characters.

So what adverbs, or any word or phrase for that matter, do you hate and despise the most? All, none? How do you use them in your writing?

38 thoughts on “Three words I Hate! And they’re ADVERBS!

    1. Paul Post author

      And thank you for reading! I agree and in fact with the word “clearly” I lay a great deal of the blame with NPR. The good news is I don’t hear it as much…yeaaaa! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  1. sara

    Funnily enough, with my tendency towards being a pedant, there are no words I hate. What I can’t stand are words in the wrong place – used inappropriately or spelt wrong. That makes me crazy 😊

    Liked by 3 people

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    1. Paul Post author

      I am in complete agreement! After I read your comment, I thought about what I had written and realized that “hate” is way too strong a word. What I really have a problem with is the attitude of the speaker…or even my assumed attitude. sigh. Thank you so much for reading and commenting!

      Liked by 1 person

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  2. Woebegone but Hopeful

    Very much in agreement.
    Most people giving vent to their opinions through the media annoy me these days so I am very broad-minded in my dislikes.
    Since most of my work tends to to be less than serious, I can get away with it.
    Clearly I have an advantage, so actually this will benefit my next project to no end, and am I confident it will lead to success?….absolutely!!!

    Liked by 3 people

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  3. Jessica M

    “Clearly” reminds me of “literally.” I prefer “evidently.”

    “Actually” reminds me of “honestly, I blah blah” … so I suppose I should take “honestly, I blah blah” to mean that they aren’t being honest the rest of the time? Same for “frankly” and all the other insinuations for being “honest.” When I hear someone prefacing their statement with “honestly,” I like to imagine that they aren’t being honest.

    Is that a bit cynical of me?

    And absolutely… I am quite guilty of using that word. For emphasis, rather than in response to a question. I like that you use your word peeves for annoying characters, that is a great idea! Which is why people ought to be careful around writers… we’re always studying.

    Great post!

    Liked by 2 people

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    1. Paul Post author

      I don’t think you’re being cynical…I think you’re being insightful! I believe our language use goes a long way to reveal certain facets of our character…especially the use of preface words like “honestly.” It reminds me of the person who keeps telling me she’s “blessed.” I start getting the nagging feeling that she’s trying to hide something…something that’s not very blessed at all. :-/
      Thanks for reading!

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  4. Robyn

    Whoops, a can of worms has been opened, methinks! Here is my number one irritant at the moment: Pre-order. I mean, WTF?? Do we pre-die? Do we pre-marry? Do we pre-divorce? You get the picture! Nope, we just, er, die, we just marry etc etc etc. And guess what? We just order. That’s it, folks. We just, quite simply, order something. Also:
    ‘For sure’
    ‘At this moment in time’
    ‘Obviously’

    Now I need a lie down.

    Liked by 1 person

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    1. Paul Post author

      Hah! Yeah, we’re on the same page! “Obviously” really pisses me off. It’s that snide hints that you aren’t as observant as the other person. And Pre-order! Yeah, boy! I mean you either do it or you don’t, right? Sigh.
      Thanks for reading! It’s always good to hear from you.

      Like

      Reply
  5. Grumpy Axolotl

    Smouldering stinkweeds! I really get annoyed when someone uses what they consider a “big” word just to impress me, and they clearly don’t know what it actually means. Honestly. I notice that you got annoyed with ‘clearly’, partly because you heard it overused. Aye-aye. Absolutely. I get pissed off with any word that I hear being over-used, particularly when it serves no real purpose. Fluff-balls! And as Robyn says, pre-order, yeh, totally WTF.

    Liked by 2 people

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  6. Jessica

    Haha I haven’t spent this much time thinking or laughing about adverbs in a while! You clearly hate these words! Actually, maybe I should say you’ve made it absolutely clear how you feel about these words. I agree these are some sort of “filler” word when someone clearly doesn’t know how to express a coherent thought or make a strong argument.

    I hate when people misuse the word “literally” and when people say “I could care less” instead of “I couldn’t care less.” But I think there must be words I misuse that annoy other people as well, so I think it balances out on a grand cosmic scale.

    Liked by 2 people

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  7. Millie Ho

    Paul, this was a relatable post! I’m guilty of saying “absolutely” when I want to emphasize something that should’ve been obvious or want to show that I agree a lot. I probably picked it up from when I worked in retail as a sales associate. I had an English teacher who took 10% off your mark if your essay contained the word “basically”. For some reason, she didn’t mind “essentially”, which, in my opinion, was the same word.

    I try not to use any of the ones you mentioned when writing fiction, though “actually” creeps up here and then. I use them in dialogue mostly, to avoid blame, heh.

    Liked by 2 people

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    1. Paul Post author

      You know, I have to admit. I really don’t “hate” the words. What gets to me is the attitude that in many cases the use of the word reflect, and/or the mindless repetitious use…of which I am guilty!

      I remember telling my composition students, not to overuse a word. Of course then, as now, students used the ubiquitous phrase, “You know” and the word, “like” so much. I didn’t harp but I tried to get students to listen to themselves. One day a student corrected me when I unconsciously used the phrase “you know.” I gave her a class grade A for that!
      Sorry for being so long-winded. :-/

      I am glad to know you smiled! And thank you so much for reading and responding.
      Thank you for responding!

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  8. sepultura13

    The words that I hate can’t be discussed among polite company, so I’ll leave those out!

    The adverb that I use (probably far too much) is “Exactly” – simply because, in any given conversation I have with others, they will tend to say exactly what I was going to say, verbatim! So, instead of saying “you took the words right out of my mouth,” I just say, “exactly!” I should probably use terms like “quite right” or “indubitably” to change it up, no?
    Even the finger aside / on the nose works as a nice, wordless assent!
    😉

    Liked by 2 people

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    1. Paul Post author

      You know, it’s a good point you make. Maybe people simply expect a certain response, and we more or less intuit that expectation…so, hey, “exactly” works fine.

      I have a old prof friend who points his finger at the speaker and says… sometimes a bit too loudly (depending upon the amount of alcohol he’s consumed)…”exactly!” And when he does that it’s very effective. The speaker…sometimes it me…feels as if he’s made a hell of a point! 🙂 So, don’t change a thing!

      Thanks for reading and responding!

      Liked by 2 people

      Reply
  9. Mary Job

    Obviously, when I say that, I’m thinking in my mind the other person is slow for not seeing the obvious. Come to think of it, you just gave me another perspective, obviously if they could see it, I wouldn’t have to restate the obvious now, would I?

    Liked by 1 person

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    1. Paul Post author

      Well thank you so much! I clicked over to check out your blog and hey! l’m hooked. I loved it and of course gawked at the great posters, ha!
      Thanks again for your interest in my blog and I’m glad we’ve met. I look forward to your posts.

      Liked by 1 person

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