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100 Words that instantly make you sound dumber

Heather Barnett is a freelance writer and foodie whose work has been featured in blogs, websites, magazines, and TV and radio ads. She spends her free time relaxing with her soulmate, Keith; her dog, Mosby "The Fly Slayer;" and Felix th...

Open mouth, insert foot

The way you speak with friends may be inappropriate in a professional situation. Are you sabotaging your career with any of these words that make you sound less than intelligent?

91. Upmost vs. utmost

Most of the time, you mean utmost (with a T), which is to the highest degree; most extreme. (The utmost respect.) However, upmost (also uppermost) is actually a word, though it's not frequently used in the U.S. or in this century. Back in the day, it referred to something situated at the top. (The upmost step of the ladder.)

92. Vehicle

The H is silent. It's VEE-I-CUHL, not VEE-HI-CUHL.

93. Wary vs. weary

Wary means you're suspicious. Weary means you're tired. You can be both wary and weary of spiders, but if they scare you, use wary. It's easy to remember because weary has an E (for exhausted).

94. Whatever

Definition: an exclamation used to indicate the listener's annoyance with the speaker's point or that they have no opinion or preference (slang)

It's OK to use whatever as an appropriate adjective or pronoun (whatever the reason, whatever you do), but it's best to avoid the slang version, especially as an expression of annoyance.

95. Whom

Definition: the objective case of the personal pronoun who

Many people think tossing whom into a sentence makes them sound smarter. But "whom" has a specific use in the English language.

96. Ya'll/you all/yous

Definition: bastardization of the second person plural

Instead, just say "you." Even if you mean a group of people.

97. You know

Definition: a phrase often tacked onto a statement soliciting the listeners agreement

It can be difficult for some people to converse with others who constantly solicit input. It's best to make your statement. If they don't know, they'll ask questions.

98. Yummy

Definition: delicious, tasty

Perfectly acceptable in informal speaking or writing, but can come off as childish in a professional setting.

99. Zoned out

Definition: not paying attention, usually inadvertently allowing the mind to wander

Fine in informal speech, but stick with inattentive in a less formal situation.

100. Slang words of address

Definition: words that apply generically to an individual in place of his or her name

Avoid Dude, Bro, Dawg, Friend, Chica, etc.

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