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alabare's avatar

How might one go about removing a word or a phrase from their vocabulary?

Asked by alabare (282points) September 5th, 2007

I have to talk to a lot of people throughout the day. Recently, I’ve noticed that I have a tendency to repeat certain words or phrases where it becomes noticeable to others. For example, when I’m trying to summarize a point, I’ll repeat the word “basically” several times to express the simplicity of my point. I want to remove these annoying/repetitious statements altogether. Any thoughts?

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8 Answers

gailcalled's avatar

I wonder whether your own awareness has you halfway to eliminating the problem. There is an odd need in many of us to launch a sentence sometimes by starting w., “Well,” “Um, ” Basically, ” Actually.” I think that it is a way of preparing one’s more cogent thoughts. There is also a fear of a little silence that might allow for prep or organization.

I am very aware of speakers who DON’T do this; usually on NPR. I used to do a lot of public speaking and Q & A, and I wanted to be the grand pooh-bah of extemp. remarks. I remember that I was able to listen to myself while I was talking. W. practice, it got easier. If you are secure w. your subject matter, and I am sure that you are, let your inner ear help. Your instincts about this are accurate.

Hawaiiguy's avatar

I was in the habit of saying yep or yeah instead of yes, I asked my friends to get on my case about it and after 2 or 3 weeks I had corrected the problem:)

hossman's avatar

A great tool I found for working on this probably won’t be available to you. As a trial lawyer, I frequently had to review verbatim court reporter transcripts of my questioning during trials. I quickly discovered I began about 3/4 of my questions with the word “And.” Not using it in any functional manner, but really as a verbal hiccup.

The best way I have found to counter this is a simple acting and public speaking technique. Many people begin speaking with a small release of breath or sigh. This results in a dispersal of energy, making their statement less energized, less interesting and dynamic, and more boring. Begin each sentence or long phrase with a firm, half second or so, strong intake breath. Not only will your delivery be energized, but that moment gives you an opportunity to think ahead of your mouth so you won’t need “basically” which you are unconsciously using to permit your brain to catch up with your mouth.

GD_Kimble's avatar

This may sound silly, but it totally works. As you’re speaking, imagine the words rolling by as if on a teletype, or as if your life is close-captioned. Actually, “seeing” the words as you’re speaking them will make you more aware of the specific language you’re using, and you’ll take more control of it, eliminating repetitive or throw-away phrases. Also, it will encourage you to slow down a bit, which will also make you more aware.

omfgTALIjustIMDu's avatar

My mom is a language arts teacher and my brother and I uesd to (and still do, as teenagers tend to) use the word “like” all the time and it drove/drives her crazzyyy. To correct it, she had us replace the word “bird” for every time we were going to say “like” and after a couple of weeks you will notice how silly it sounds to continuosly say “bird” throughout your sentences. It helps to raise awareness of when you are more prone to saying the silly things.
Also, whenever we do still use the word “like” when talking to her, she counts on her fingers as we talk how many times we say it and shoves her hands in our faces exclaiming how many times we have said it.
It can get pretty annoying, but it works pretty well.

gailcalled's avatar

I really bird that answer, omfgetc.

alabare's avatar

Great feedback everyone. Many, many thanks!

gailcalled's avatar

Um ,let us know when you become ike the Demosthenes of yr workplace. The myth is that he basically used to practice his oration w. marbles in his mouth – actually not a good idea, you know.

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