9 Annoying Phrases And What To Say Instead

We’ve all dealt with that kid in class or adult at work who always has something annoying to say. You know, the type who backfires with “It is what it is” when something doesn’t go right, or the person who constantly yells out,“YOLO!” even when it’s not appropriate.

Want to make sure you’re not that person? Stop answering questions with these infuriating responses.

my bad

Oh no, did you just make an uh-oh? Well, if you use the phrase my bad after a mistake, it sure sounds like it. You know what it also sounds like? You not taking full responsibility for your major blunder. Instead of being sincere in your apology, you prefer to make it a joke—you know, to soften the blow. But, it’s not working, it’s just aggravating your classmates/coworkers even more than your original blunder.

If you made a mistake and need to apologize for your actions, it’s best to leave the silliness at the door. There are so many ways to discuss errors that give a better description about what’s gone wrong: was it a miscalculation, an omission, a false move, or a misapprehension? Use those words instead.

You know what else can come off as insincere? Something like nice.

WATCH: What's So Wrong With "Nice"?

I, personally, think ...

Yes, we know, it’s your own thought, and therefore personal. Which means you don’t have to add in the word personally to make this expression work. It doesn’t make what you’re about to say any stronger, it only makes you sound like you’re trying too hard.

Your confidence in what you’re saying will give your words merit. If you have an opinion, you could say you’re offering your: assessment, impression, judgment, hypothesis, theory, or speculation. Doesn’t that sound better?

in a minute

Doesn’t it drive you mad when you ask someone to do something, and they put it off by responding, “In a minute”? The worst is when they aren’t even doing anything at the time you ask them for help—except maybe reading memes or texting.

If you catch yourself saying, “In a minute,” rethink your words wisely. Instead, say something with a little more compassion and respect: “Sure, I can do that. Let me finish up what I’m doing here, and I’ll help.” Even if you’re just reading memes, at least you’re now acknowledging the person asking the question. And if you’re in the middle of something important, try describing that: use finalizing, wrapping up, settling, carrying through, or another synonym for finish


No matter what age group, this question is irritating to hear. Especially, when it’s repeated 5, 10, 15 times in a row (picture every sibling conversation you’ve had on a drive home from school). The other person is obviously not paying attention to what you’re saying because if they were, they wouldn’t be asking you what you just said. Or, they’re trying to push your buttons.  

Don’t immediately respond with this to your friends or coworkers. If you didn’t hear what they originally said, be polite about it: “I’m sorry, can you repeat that?” We already feel less annoyed. 

I can’t do it

Many kids (let’s face it, adults too) are caught saying this phrase when they think they can’t do something because it sounds too difficult or they just don’t want to do it. The next time that happens to you, simply take the word can’t out of the sentence and replace it with can. Channeling Rosie the Riveter.

Or, you might consider offering more specifics about why you can’t. Do you need help? When something is difficult, it’s complicated, demanding, wearisome, perplexing, or troublesome. Specifics will get you the help you need.


Look, we know you’re super energetic and upbeat if you use the expression high-five with the accompanying hand-slamming action. But, all that enthusiasm is downright exhausting.

Take it down a level by saying, “Nice job” if your co-worker aced a recent project and “Enjoy your date” if your best friend is going out with his crush. Your kind words are much appreciated … no hand-slapping necessary.


You can also opt to swap the nice in Nice job for one of these choices instead. 

no I in team

When you’re stuck working with someone who uses this phrase, you may wish there was an I in team so you could do the project solo. This is the person who needs everyone to come together to think and act alike. But more often, they need everyone to think and act like them.

Instead of spouting this phrase during your next group project, try embracing new ideas (there is a in ideas). They oftentimes make something better than one stagnant thought alone. If you must talk about the group, try words like the au courant squad, troop, or crew, and ask that they join forces or pool resources.

What the ... ?

Kids use this phrase all the time. They think it’s funny because they are on the brink of saying a curse word without actually saying it. Adults use this expression too and probably with the same intention as a kid: to get noticed or be playful.

However, it’s not that cute. If you’re questioning something serious that happened in the office or in a relationship, just ask for more information: “Can you tell me what happened exactly?”

Or, if something is shocking, it’s also a bombshell, jarring, a double-whammy, or an eye-opener. It could rock you, paralyze you, or hit you like a ton of bricks.

Leave the “What the?” for the playground (or maybe bury it in the graveyard). 


We totally get having excitement about something (right now, we’re pumped about offbeat literary genres). And, we understand that sometimes saying, “I’m excited” is not enough. But, the next time you want to meld the words awesome and sauce together for a winning result, refrain. This silly phrase doesn’t show your excitement, it only emphasizes your lack of vocabulary.

Win everyone over with words that they don’t always hear, such as illustrious, majestic, formidable, or wondrous. They’re similar to awesome, but add a little pizazz (and refinement) to the sentence. 


Continue your journey of self-improvement and personal growth by doing away with this collection of insincere compliments and replacing them with better alternatives.


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