Today I’d like to share 10 words & phrases that you will NEVER, EVER catch me using in my copy or content.
Read on to discover what they are — and why THESE words are on my “NEVER TO BE USED” list, while other, more shocking words HAVE made it into my copy (and will most likely rear their naughty heads again in the future).
1. ON FLEEK
Whaaaat the what? I’ve seen this term floating around Twitter and I understand it has something to do with looking stylish or having your “whatever” game on point.
(Something tells me that there is a very small percentage of people who can use this term without looking like a total a-hole, and that Rihanna is probably one of them.)
I’ve seen an increasing number of writers online use this word to describe celebrities or other individuals who demonstrate a blatant desire to get attention and be famous at any cost.
(See also: the nanny that supposedly broke up Ben Affleck & Jennifer Garner’s marriage, anybody who has ever been on any reality show EVER.)
Thanks, but no. I think I’ll stick with the old “I am dehydrated and would like a drink of some cold and/or tasty beverage” definition of the word.
Um, I guess “the kids” are using this word on social media as a short form of “baby” these days?
You keep on being you, kids of the Internet.
(Put this down as yet another word that probably only Rihanna can use without deserving a generous serving of side eye.)
Remember when “shipping” meant to send a package to someone far away?
Now it apparently means having a swoony sort of crush on someone else’s relationship. So if you think a celebrity couple is especially cute together (looking at you, Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone), you might say that “you’re shipping them hard.”
Or, you know, you might not.
Awww, don’t be jelly because you’re not hip enough to know the new meaning of jelly. ‘Ts all cool.
… I had to read roughly a gazillion posts like that before I figured out that “jelly” is short for JEALOUS. Which is not an emotion I feel with regards to the people who regularly use the word “jelly” in this way.
Apparently this is, like, the ultimate insult these days. I *think* it means boring, unoriginal, or ordinary to the point of being pathetic, but I’m not sure. I’m probably too basic to understand it.
As in, “Ciao bae!!! Love you for evs!!!”
– or –
“Best girls’ night evs!!!!”
Nope-ity nope nope. If this is how YOU talk, go for it. But if I wrote this, it would sound like I was trying way too hard to be someone I’m not.
This one comes courtesy of my 7-year-old son, who uses it to refer to everything from his favourite video game, to his favourite YouTuber, to the awesome lentil curry his dad whipped up last night.
If you have a gamer in the family – or a kid who is addicted to watching gaming how-to videos on YouTube, (ahem, MORRIS) – you probably know it stands for “Major League Gamer.”
My kids thought I was a Major League Goober for not knowing this.
Here’s another one I learned from my kids, who constantly use it to refer to the weapons and characters they unlock from their favourite video games.
I thought it must be related to “OG” (Original Gangster) somehow, and spent way more time than I should have trying to puzzle it out. Original playa? Old Pizza-Face? Olfactory Pinocchio?
Turns out it stands for “over-powered,” which makes way more sense than any of my guesses.
10. FO SHIZZLE
Because seriously — why would I ever????
“Wait just a second there, Erin,” you might be thinking. “All of these words are slang! Of course you wouldn’t include them in your copy or content. That would be so UNPROFESSIONAL!”
Au contraire, my lovely friend. I have no qualms against using slang or even nonsense words in my business writing.
(In fact, in recent social media and blog posts I’ve used the words “welp,” “patootie,” “freaking super duper,” “fancy-pants,” “aw hell,” and “bet your booties.”
I’ve even been known to, ahem, drop the rare F-bomb into my content.
So why would I use these words but not the ones above?
Simple: because the slang and nonsense I use in my writing are words that I actually use in REAL LIFE in conversation with my friends, family, colleagues, and clients. They reflect my real voice and how I naturally communicate.
(Whereas the words “on fleek” have never escaped my lips and most likely never will.)
So please don’t think that you must always write in a professional tone and only use language you’d expect to see in a Master’s thesis.
Using slang, colloquialisms, and uber-casual language is absolutely fine, so long as it reflects your natural voice and how you speak to your target audience in the real world.
But if you try to use language of ANY sort that doesn’t come naturally to you, it will make your content and copy sound unnatural.
And your readers will notice, believe me.