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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?

21. Due to

Definition: as observed as part of a natural state

This phrase is often used incorrectly in place of "because of," "owing to" or "through." (We understand electricity due to Benjamin Franklin.) It should only be used when one thing explains something else's natural state. (Grass is green due to a chemical used during photosynthesis.)

22. Duh/doh

Definition: used to express annoyance at stupidity or obviousness

Not only is it inappropriate to express this type of feeling professionally, you end up sounding like the stupid one.

23. Epic

Definition: heroic or majestic, usually pertaining to a long journey fraught with danger

When used too casually, it comes off as slang. It was an epic business trip if it lasted weeks and you came home with double the sales you expected. If you went to Vegas and partied too hard when you should've been working, that's not the right word.

24. Erudite

Definition: scholarly

There is nothing wrong with this word as long as you pronounce it correctly. It's AIR-YOO-DAHYT, not AIR-EE-UH-DAHYT.

25. Excape vs. escape

What is it with Americans and words with the SK sound in them? The word is ES-CAPE.

26. Exetera vs. etcetera

Typically written as "etc." and pronounced without the X sound so commonly heard. Correct pronunciation is ET-SET-UH-RUH

27. Expresso vs. espresso

If you want coffee made in a French press instead of a machine, you want an expresso (with an X). But if you're referring to the strong Italian coffee used to make cappuccino, the word is "espresso."

28. Fabulous

Definition: almost impossible to believe

This word is overused. Is it really fabulous that the customer is ready to buy? Only if there's something you know about your product that we don't.

29. Farther vs. further

Farther measures physical distance. (Lonnie ran farther than Judith.) Further refers to metaphorical or figurative distance. (If I hear any further complaints, I'll pull this car over right now.) It's easy to remember because farther has the word "far" in it and far implies distance.

30. February

Definition: the second month of the year

This word is a bit difficult for people with certain accents to say, and may require some practice, but it can be annoying to those who don't have the same accent. It's pronounced FEB-ROO-AIR-EE.

Up Next: More words that instantly make you sound dumber

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