These words should be banished from our speech forever (are you guilty of using them?)

these words should be banished from our speech forever by Halelly Azulay TalentGrow blog

Have you ever uttered these words?



“To be frank…”

“To tell you the truth…”

“To be candid…”

“Ain’t gonna lie…”

If these words ever come out of your mouth in conversation, this blog post is for you:

I’d like to ask you to STOP using these words and phrases, immediately. Please.

Why? What’s wrong with them, Halelly?

I’ll explain.

First, let me make a couple of qualifier statements:

  • These are extremely common.
  • Most users use them without any malice or bad intentions.

So, I know you didn’t mean anything by them.

I know “everyone does it” (so what?).

I hope you will give it some thought, and agree with my case against their further use.

It’s not personal, it’s grammar.

By definition, when you flag whatever you’re about to say (i.e., the rest of the sentence after those words) with these kinds of prepositional words or phrases, you are essentially saying that what is being said AFTER the phrase is the honest truth.

It’s just grammar.

So, by that logic, it should stand to reason that anything BEFORE that sentence (and possibly after it) is NOT the truth. Otherwise, why would you flag it in a special way with that word or phrase?

Now, I know you didn’t mean this, likely. I’m pretty sure no one in their right mind flags themselves as dishonest (out loud).

But you did. It’s just grammar.

Stop it. Just stop it.

So, for goodness’ sake, do these things for me:

Be honest all the time. I hope this is a moot point. Please and thank you.

Stop saying “honestly” and all its derivatives and cousins. It’s not only useless, it’s wrong (I hope). It’s just a filler – it isn’t purposeful UNLESS you really are signifying that you’ve been dishonest heretofore. But further, it’s potentially damaging your perceived integrity in your relationships and communication interactions. And even if your conversation partner isn’t CONSCIOUSLY aware of this, I think that their subconscious mind picks this out and notes it.

So, since I assume you have been using it without conscious awareness of these implications to this point, let’s let bygones be bygones. But please, now that you’re consciously aware, be more mindful going forward and completely drop this language from your speech, forever, starting now.

Bonus points: Pass it on. My dear father, Sol Barsever, taught me this lesson throughout my life (he was an amazing father). He also harped on it with all of his employees (he was an amazing leader). I think he was right, and I’m honoring his memory by passing his wisdom along to you. I’d love it if you spread the message, too, far and wide: to your children, employees, and friends.

Your turn:

What do you think? Will you take me up on my request? I’d love to hear your thoughts, please comment below!

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