“Whatever” has been voted the
most annoying word in American English.
The comment, popularised by sullen
teens, was judged more grating than “anyway” and less tolerable than
phrases including “it is what it is” and “you know”.
“The impetus of this poll was
a casual conversation where we started discussing those words that get on your
nerves. You hear them over and over again,” explained Mary Azzoli,
director of media for Marist, a US college which conducted the research among
Nearly 50 per cent of people
questioned said “whatever” was the word that bothered them the most.
It was the most irritating word in all regions of the country, and among both
sexes, all age groups, educational levels and income brackets.
“It is used so often in terms
of casual conversation. Also, when you think of the meaning behind it, it is
often a way to dismiss someone. It is irritating in that regard. It is much
more off-putting compared to any of the other statement we asked,” she
A quarter of people selected
“you know” as the phrase they would like to ban most from the English
language. Eleven per cent simply could not tolerate “it is what it
is,” while seven per cent found “anyway” irksome.
“At the end of the day”,
notorious in Britain as a cliché employed by footballers also made an appearance
in the list, although it attracted just two per cent of the vote.
“In order to be a good
conversationalist, the key is to always be aware of what you are saying and
maybe to do a little research about which words are overused,” Miss Azzoli