10/7: “Whatever…” Takes Top Honors as Most Annoying

October 7, 2009 by  
Filed under Featured, Living, Odds and Ends, Odds and Ends Polls

If you’re like, “whatever,” and someone gives you a mean look, just remember it is what it is – certain sayings rub people the wrong way, you know?  Anyway, at the end of the day, who cares?

©istockphoto.com/firebrandphotography

©istockphoto.com/firebrandphotography

If the above paragraph thoroughly irritated you, you’re probably not alone.  The question is, which word or phrase bothered you the most?

Chances are it was “whatever.”  In a recent Marist poll, nearly half of Americans – 47% – said they find “whatever” most annoying.  The other sayings weren’t quite so loathed.  25% say they find “you know” most grating; 11% can’t stand “it is what it is”; 7% would like to ban “anyway” from all verbal exchanges; and 2% reported that they could do without hearing “at the end of the day.”

Interestingly, if you’re traveling to the Midwest, it might be especially wise to leave your store of “whatevers” at home.  55% of residents in that region dislike the term, while only 19% of them disapprove of “you know.”  In contrast, 35% of Northeast residents say “whatever” is most annoying, while 32% are most bothered by “you know.”

Table: Most Annoying Conversational Word or Phrase

Marist Poll Methodology

Related Stories:

10/7:  Offensive Language

Mary Azzoli breaks down the results from the Marist Poll’s survey on annoying words and phrases:

Comments

151 Responses to “10/7: “Whatever…” Takes Top Honors as Most Annoying”

  1. Barbara on October 7th, 2009 11:38 am

    I cannot stand the use of “like” as a conversation filler. It is the verbal equivalent of fingernails on a blackboard.

  2. Chris on October 7th, 2009 5:13 pm

    Great idea for a poll. I agree these are annoying. Next time include “What’s the good word?”. I hate that! What are you supposed to say?

  3. Janice on October 7th, 2009 8:41 pm

    How about when people say axe, when they mean ask.

  4. kim cody on October 7th, 2009 11:41 pm

    what about the word basically . It is over used by so many people out of context and repeated may times in a sentence or conversation. I feel it is used by people to make them sound articulate.

  5. Andrew Murray on October 8th, 2009 12:33 am

    I agree that saying “whatever” is so annoying. This is an interesting poll.

  6. Missy-Susan Pauline Bauer on October 8th, 2009 4:33 am

    I concur with, “whatever,” as most annoying. I believe, that it is, “short-speak,” for, “we agree to disagree on this topic; Let’s talk about something else.”

    Also for myself, “Have A Nice Day,” is over-used. To me, it means, “We’ve finished talking. Go away.” [or: move on].

    Missy-Susan

  7. Chris Beutler on October 8th, 2009 8:03 am

    Did we miss the word “freakin’ “??? Why do we allow our children to say this when we all know it’s a derivitive of the cuss word “fu…..”? I get upset every time I hear this from a small mouth.

  8. whatever on October 8th, 2009 8:08 am

    This poll left out the MOST annoying ‘word’ in the (American) English language in use today: LIKE.

    What is very annoying it that it’s usage has moved from “teens” to “educated” adults.

    “Oh, and I was like ‘I’m not coming over tonight’”

    “That guy was like ‘I don’t care’”

    THAT is fingernails on a chalkboard.

    The ONLY way we get rid of this is to ridicule it’s usage! Don’t stand for it! Join me, people! It can work! We got rid of “ain’t” (for the most part). Power to the People!

  9. George Manoogian on October 8th, 2009 8:20 am

    I find the word LIKE so overused that I feel my skin crawl when I hear it. We’ve all tried so hard to understand teens speaking with LIKE used so many time, I think it replaced AH as a filler word. Now some so-called adults are trying to use the word to ‘fit in’ with the teens….

    Tune them out!

  10. Tom on October 8th, 2009 8:45 am

    I’ll bet next year’s #1 annoying word will be “look”. President Obama uses it as a sentence opener far too often. That’s not the worst thing a president could do, but now half the country is doing it. It’s driving me crazy!!!

  11. Eric Oswald on October 8th, 2009 8:45 am

    How could you have missed the word “basically” in this poll? That word has driven me to the brink of insanity with both its misuse and overuse in both the media and everyday conversation. Some of the worst offenders are newscasters, especially radio sportscasters. It has become the new “um” or “you know.” I’ve have heard news reporters use it up to three times in one sentence. I hear it constantly in the workplace.

    It makes me wish I could have a dollar for every time I hear the word used in a day.

  12. Magadini on October 8th, 2009 9:34 am

    Agree about “whatever” – it’s just rude. I’d put “literally” very close to the top. And it’s not a word, but it’s time to stop saying “www” before every web address. It’s just not necessary and sounds awful.

  13. bammer on October 8th, 2009 9:38 am

    The most lazy and loose-thinking phrase I hear is “It is what it is”

    When someone says that as a statement of finality in a discussion, I usually say, “It may not be what is appears to be on the surface”. Lets look a little deeper into the situation.

    “It is what is it” is a lazy way to get cloture when you have nothing else to prove your point.

  14. Ed in Texas on October 8th, 2009 9:43 am

    The #1 most annoying thins I hear is “You know what?” Even worse than “You know”. I constantly hear people in the news media, TV and radio, and other places where they should know better. I am sick of that phrase, and it never makes these lists! I guess everyone else is using it!

  15. Like, Whatever, Dude « Significant Pursuit by Renaissance Guy on October 8th, 2009 10:48 am

    [...]      Find out what other people said in this Marist Poll. [...]

  16. Mark Ryan - Long Island on October 8th, 2009 10:50 am

    The most annoying word is “closure” or bring to closure.” It is one of those Katie Couric type of words. It is a television media word that is rarely heard in common speech.

    On the other hand there is “six of one or half dozen of the other,” a fadish annoyingly cute phrase that has quickly run out of currency.

    “Conversate” is a popular phrase among American blacks that has not made much headway among the general population, unlike “don’t go there,” which I heard from the lips of Dick Cheney. But why would I want to conversate when it is much easier to “talk.”

  17. Eddie on October 8th, 2009 11:01 am

    Am I the only one that finds the adding of “wise” to the end of nouns (i.e. weather-wise, traffic-wise, in order to create an adverb annoying? It seems that the people most guilty of this grammatical infraction are reporters and sports analysts (defense-wise, offense-wise, batting-wise, etc.). Their constant butchering of the English language is now infecting education. I’ve heard a few professors at my university use it. ” Annoyance-wise,” I think this ranks near the top.

  18. Clifford J Lander on October 8th, 2009 12:02 pm

    How about “no problem.” Whatever happened to you’re welcome? George Carlin…”Thanks for helping me bring the dead babies up from the cellar.” “No problem.”

  19. tommyt on October 8th, 2009 1:45 pm

    For me, working at a college, the most annoying phrases would be:

    #1 – Awesome
    #2 – Best or worst (something) EVER!
    #3 – “Back in the day…”

    That last one really gets me b/c I hear college students, most of whom are only about 20 yrs old, saying it. They haven’t LIVED long enough & hearing my friends use it makes me feel old!

  20. Danno on October 8th, 2009 2:13 pm

    I find it hard to believe “like” was not part of the poll.
    It’s not just teens — I hear everyone from six year olds to people in the 50s use it as a substitute for “said” or “went” “as if” and other words and phrases that are more accurate. Argh.

  21. Roy W on October 8th, 2009 2:30 pm

    “Having said that” and “That being said” need to be taken out and shot. Also “very unique” is idiotic. It is the same as saying someone is very dead.
    Whatever…

  22. sue on October 8th, 2009 2:42 pm

    Two more: “Having said that”, or, “With that being said”. Could someone tell me how these add anything to a sentence? What are these expressions supposed to accomplish? I can draw my own conclusion based on the information you provided.

    Great: Now you have me going…how about “move forward” … FWIW (for what it’s worth) … “don’t go there” … “Hel-o-oooo” … “Don’tcha think (or Ya think)?…it is SO (fill in the blank) … I am TOTALLY (fill in the blank) … and the newest overused word … ABSOLUTELY.

  23. Want To Annoy Someone? Give ‘Em A ‘Whatever’ | World News At Its Hottest on October 8th, 2009 3:01 pm

    [...] there were only five choices, you know? But “whatever” totally kicked butt when the dudes from the Marist Poll dialed up folks across the nation to get the 411 on which sayings really make them [...]

  24. Jasmine on October 8th, 2009 3:16 pm

    I have noticed that with great frequency these days, people start their thoughts with “I mean”. When it makes sense to say that is when you are clarifying a previous statement. However, way too often – especially in interviews – an interviewer will ask a question and the respondent starts off by saying “I mean . . . . ” How in the world can you state you “mean” something that you haven’t yet verbalized? It is extremely annoying.

  25. jstephens on October 8th, 2009 3:23 pm

    What about “Welcome to my world!”?
    If that’s not fingernails to the chalkboard I don’t know what is!

  26. MC Gurnemanz on October 8th, 2009 3:58 pm

    So like what about: the bottom line; awesome; I’m ok with that; cool

  27. Eddie on October 8th, 2009 4:14 pm

    It’s nice to know I’m not alone. Is there a support group for people like us whose ears bleed whenever someone butchers the English language?

  28. MC Gurnemanz on October 8th, 2009 4:36 pm

    how about: awesome; cool

  29. Jasmine on October 8th, 2009 4:42 pm

    Around here, “robust” was big for a long time but recently disappeared off the screen. Anyone else still hearing that one?

  30. Roger on October 8th, 2009 5:09 pm

    It boils down to people that are unable to use the English language as it was meant to be used. The popularization of certain phrases uses up time as “uhhh” and “uhmm” used to do. I think the point of the article is really to make you think about what you say, before you say it – so that what you say is exactly what you mean and not verbal white noise.

  31. Most Annoying Phrase: "Whatever" Reigns Supreme | AnnoyingStuff.com on October 8th, 2009 5:46 pm

    [...] In the latest Marist Poll, the phrase “Whatever” easily won as the most annoying thing that people say. Almost [...]

  32. Tom Moorer on October 8th, 2009 6:26 pm

    In the Northwest, maybe moving your way, is a turn of phrase that is so repellant it makes me shudder – “you guys’es” as in “you guyses luggage is over there.” or, How is you guys’es food tasting?” It was tasting fine until you made me throw up!

  33. CCCreations on October 8th, 2009 7:54 pm

    I do not like hearing ‘Trust Me’ ~ an immediate alert NOT to trust this person OR ‘My Friend’ spoken casually.

  34. don47200 on October 8th, 2009 7:58 pm

    Whatever, I’m, like, so uncertain about, like, the outcome of this, like, survey, and, agree with those above who, like, find “like” use has totally, like, spun out of control. Watch any, like, talk show (even Oprah, who I thought was, like, a literate woman) or, like, reality show, and, now, like, commercials, if you can, like, stand to, like, have your brain, like, implode with, like, agony, at the, like, freefall our language is in. Where is the like outcry!?!

  35. Kathleen McCormack on October 8th, 2009 8:09 pm

    Yes, Clifford, I agree. The proper response to “thank you” is “you’re welcome.” How did “no problem” replace “you’re welcome”??

    Also dislike: closure, ramp up, it’s all good.

    Eddie, let me know when you start up that support group. Hope it’s soon.

    And am I the only one who can’t stand being told to “have a nice day”?

  36. Rich Henderson on October 8th, 2009 8:12 pm

    “the reality is” makes me want to hurl

  37. Hiker Doc on October 8th, 2009 9:44 pm

    Like, I can’t, like, believe that, like, “like” wasn’t, like, even on the list! Listen to any conversation between people ages 4 to 60, and count how many times you hear “like” used in a meaningless way, as an exclamation or like…whatever!

  38. Bonnie Bass on October 8th, 2009 10:44 pm

    “as of yet” …… ggrrrrrrr ….. William Saphire you are ssoooooo missed.

  39. Rebecca on October 8th, 2009 11:29 pm

    LIKE is the most abused at the moment, so much that it missed the observation of those conducting this poll. Children and adults alike are unable to speak without using this word.

    I couldn’t agree more that it reminds us of nails on a blackboard!

    And ‘freakin’ is uncivil and vulgar; and few people are aware of this.

  40. Like, some words are so annoying, you know? – Sushi Writes About Things on October 8th, 2009 11:45 pm

    [...] Surveytakers at the Marist Institute agree. Some words really are just annoying. Surprisingly, ‘like’ didn’t make the list, possibly because it has become so ingrained in our vocabulary that we don’t notice unless the word is impairing communication. Unfortunately, the word doesn’t impair communication much until the fifth or sixth use in a sentence. Someone should do a study on how much like is too much. This possible future study could also apply to uh, you know, and other filler words. Researchers with funding, are you listening? [...]

  41. swag on October 9th, 2009 12:12 am

    Gee, most people dislike the most popular phrases.

    Maybe most people should speak less.

  42. Terry on October 9th, 2009 12:35 am

    May I nominate “clearly”? A useless filler word, when tacked onto a sentence in an attempt to make the speaker sound oh so knowledgeable. I’ve heard “Clearly, I think” and “Clearly, it seems.” Huh?

  43. Jennifer on October 9th, 2009 3:23 am

    I have to second the word “literally.” It seems it’s the “ironic” of my generation–no one seems to know how to use it correctly! If you ever watch five minutes of QVC, you will hear the word misused fifteen times, no exaggeration. It’s in every other sentence out of host Patti Reilly’s mouth. Rachel Zoe is another one who says stuff like, “I “litrarelly” died.” Uh, you’re still alive. What gets me is that it hearing it constantly used incorrectly breeds more incorrect usage from stupid people who thinks it makes them sound smart. “It is literally raining outside.” “I’m leaving in literally five minutes.” “I am literally brushing my teeth.” “The sky is literally blue.” UGH! Shut up! It is completely unnecessary to use that word to reinforce ideas that couldn’t possibly be taken figuratively. People are such idiots.

  44. DYLAN RIVIS on October 9th, 2009 4:00 am

    Can’t understand why you didn’t suggest the truly annoyingly overused and pompous phrase,” ..if you will” which seems to have slipped across the pond from the UK.

  45. Whatever :: richardholden.info on October 9th, 2009 7:58 am

    [...] preselected by the Marist pollsters. As you can see from the table of results that accompanied the announcement, 938 Americans were asked, “Which one of the following words or phrases do you find most annoying [...]

  46. Marilyn on October 9th, 2009 8:36 am

    The most annoying phrase to me is “you know what I mean?” which implies that you aren’t listening to the speaker or you are too dumb to understand what is being said. I know more than one person who says this phrase three or four times during a three minute conversation. Even when I reply, “yes, I know what you mean” it continues in the next sentence!

  47. Tom on October 9th, 2009 9:15 am

    When people say “could care less” I want to punch them in the groin.

    It’s “COULDN’T care less”

    And most in the US screw this up.

  48. Leveraging Metrics for Sustainable Messaging « eleven bee on October 9th, 2009 10:10 am

    [...] 9, 2009 · Leave a Comment A recent poll showed that the most annoying phrase in conversations is “whatever.”  Poor whatever.  [...]

  49. Ray McNutt on October 9th, 2009 11:51 am

    I can not believe “What Not” was not included on the list. I cringe when anyone uses this.

  50. Corporate Cacophony – Cine Cynic on October 9th, 2009 12:25 pm

    [...] hope to cut down on at least those patterns that I have identified. Today, the news about the words that Americans find most annoying spurred me into venting my peeves in phraseology, and hence I am making this list [...]

  51. most annoyed…ev-er! « Adventures in Juggling on October 9th, 2009 12:51 pm

    [...] Published October 9, 2009 in the news Leave a Comment According to a recent Marist Poll some of the most annoying words and phrases used in conversation amongst Americans are: Whatever, [...]

  52. Jim on October 9th, 2009 4:00 pm

    ….my pick would have been: “…and that being said…” That little phrase is said so many times a day on the cable news shows…you’d have a hard time counting it.
    Whatever.

  53. How to Weed Out, Um, Whatever – The Blogs at HowStuffWorks on October 9th, 2009 4:11 pm

    [...] the most annoying word that you can think of? I could do without “anyhoo” myself, but a poll from the Marist Institute of Public Opinion found that “whatever” grates on [...]

  54. Elizabeth on October 9th, 2009 4:19 pm

    I agree with Barbara on October 7th “I cannot stand the use of “like” as a conversation filler”. Some people it is like and like this and like…. The word is used sometimes 5 or 6 times within one sentence. Drives me nuts!

  55. Random on October 9th, 2009 4:45 pm

    “Random”, “that’s so random” and other versions of the same are on the rise. We must stop it now before it’s too late!

  56. John_W on October 9th, 2009 8:39 pm

    “Let’s just say” tops my list of loathed phrases. Let’s just say? You are saying it. Get to it. If the matter is important I’m going to ask clarifying questions regardless of whether you instruct me to leave it at this with the petty little “Let’s just say.”

    The current use of “fail” as a noun, and often as an entire sentence, drives me a little batty. Also the widespread misuse of “literally.”

  57. Wait on October 10th, 2009 1:30 am

    i agree with u all but you can’t forget the world wide word of ” RIGHT” dont get me started on that. It ends in conversation with everything.
    Dude like i got this new phone n i was like whatever n some one else butts in and says right

  58. Marist Poll: Most Annoying Word Phrases 2009? Here’s a Few of Our Own | The Cardinal on October 10th, 2009 4:14 am

    [...] Marist Poll: 10/7: “Whatever…” Takes Top Honors as Most Annoying ARLINGTON HEIGHTS BREAKING NEWS –The Cardinal — Arlingtoncardinal.com is a breaking news blog [...]

  59. jimH on October 10th, 2009 6:14 am

    The top of my list is “proactive.” This word was created to fill a non-existent void. “To act before it becomes necessary” was already covered by the word “active.”

  60. JAMES HARRISON on October 10th, 2009 8:39 am

    I clearly agree with bammer on the ” it is what it is ” phrase. it goes straight to the core of my nerves when it is said by anyone. The other one is when someone says
    ” HEY !! ” before they start talking to you. You just want to slap them silly.

  61. Just Sayin' on October 10th, 2009 1:39 pm

    “Just Saying” is my most hated and annoying phrase. What does that mean? A person spouts their opinion, someone else comments or disagrees, and the original person says “I’m just saying.” As if that gives them a free pass, a wall that cannot be penetrated so they can’t be held accountable! Makes my blood boil just thinking about it.

  62. jen on October 10th, 2009 7:13 pm

    “24/7″ drives me nuts!

    “That being said”

    and the wonderful response to any question, “yeah, no”

  63. Larry on October 11th, 2009 1:56 pm

    Worse than “if you will” which was mentioned above is “if you like”, now in common usage among BBC radio reporters.

    Most annoying to me is the constant use “going forward”, although thankfully it seems to have abated.

  64. KTK 98.5 » “Whatever!” on October 12th, 2009 5:02 am

    [...] “Whatever…” Takes Top Honors as Most Annoying [...]

  65. Whatever doesn’t work « talk normal on October 12th, 2009 5:39 am

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  66. the most annoying phrases « signs of life on October 12th, 2009 4:15 pm

    [...] By David You’ve likely seen this already.  Last week folks at Marist Poll released their list of the most annoying phrases.  There were five choices respondents could choose [...]

  67. Jen Conger on October 12th, 2009 7:17 pm

    What about people who end most of their sentences with “so…..”? I think that means their brains just went in to neutral. Hummmmmm…………………..

  68. Kim Weidlich on October 13th, 2009 1:27 am

    Using “and/or” is annoying.

  69. Dave Weidlich on October 13th, 2009 1:28 am

    I am a pastor and have been told that the most annoying words I speak are all of them after about the 25 minute mark.

  70. Erik Clauberg on October 13th, 2009 9:08 am

    The phrase “where you at?” makes me cringe.

  71. GEEP on October 13th, 2009 11:11 am

    How everyone is not annoyed by “I mean” is befuddling. This has to be ahead of you know, although it is not used quite as much. Often “Imean” and “you know” are used together. “I mean” is often used to begin a sentence in answer to a question in which a person is not asked what they mean. This happens on TV so much during interview shows. Also way up on the top of the list should be “the bottom line.” Perhaps this phrase has been number one on the list in previous polls. It’s been around since the early 80′s.

  72. GEEP on October 13th, 2009 11:15 am

    Oh, I forgot, another media phrase which quickly became annoying when it was introduced during the Iraq war. “On the ground” is one of those phrases which begs the question “as opposed to being in the air?”

  73. boopster on October 13th, 2009 12:10 pm

    “My Bad!” Thank god that finally died out… or did it. Come on people, just cuz its thrown down ‘in the hood’ dont mean everyone’s gotta pick it up!!

  74. Empty Words and Phrases « Written In English on October 13th, 2009 1:23 pm

    [...] Last but not least.  The Marist Institute for Public Opinion have just declared this the most annoying word or phrase in the English language.  I don’t know [...]

  75. Grammar Wombat on October 13th, 2009 7:06 pm

    Unbelievable!

    Clearly, the linguistic landscape of our time, in this moment in history, looks like a war zone.

    It is ironic that so many amongst us are unable and/or ill-equipped to actually think outside the box of our common heritage and what-not. Be that as it may, hopefully, it is not too late for the underprivileged and less fortunate to step it up and rise to the challenge of empowering themselves anyway.

    Look, if I may be candid, the question before us is: Going forward, can we advance the narrative of our spoken word and change that which needs, as of yet, to be changed?

    To be blunt, and I mean this, honestly:

    YES WE CAN! (Really!)

    Closure-wise, if you will, the fact of the matter is that basically, at the end of the day, it is what it is. You know, like, literally.

  76. At the End of the Day, “Whatever” Rules « Scott Richards Live Weblog on October 13th, 2009 9:03 pm

    [...] to a Marist poll, almost half of Americans – 47 percent – said there’s no phrase more annoying [...]

  77. StrangeSights » Blog Archive » Edgar Allan Poe gets buried (again!); ‘Whatever’ most annoying; and the ’stand-ins’ of Japan… on October 14th, 2009 1:45 am

    [...] most annoying conversational word or phrase in the English language in a US survey. A poll by the Marist Institute for Public Opinion found that almost half of the more than 900 people who took part in the survey voted it the worst [...]

  78. jaygee on October 14th, 2009 12:01 pm

    Often heard from news reporters: “At 3:00 AM this morning..” or “6 PM at night.” Makes me want to report them to the Department of Redundancy Department.

  79. Cliché or Not Cliché « The Long and Short of It on October 14th, 2009 9:20 pm

    [...] or Not Cliché “Whatever” topped Marist College’s recent list of the most annoying conversational word or phrase, the choice of 47% of the 938 Americans [...]

  80. cja on October 15th, 2009 9:23 am

    I can’t disagree with any of the previous comments, I’m peeved by all of these, and more.

    The one phrase that bothers me most is “sort of”.

    Listen to BBC radio, NPR, or PRI for more than a few minutes and you may hear “sort of” several times. It’s not new, possibly originating in the UK, which might make American English speakers feel smart by saying it. As with “like” and “you know”, almost every utterance of “sort of” serves no purpose.

    Given their association with airheaded Valley Girls, “like” and “you know” may be more reviled, but to me, “sort of” is equally annoying.

  81. Oscar on October 15th, 2009 10:56 am

    “Whatever” has already sounded like a cliche and is annoying at times when it isn’t used sparingly.

  82. Lorraine on October 17th, 2009 8:54 am

    “So, like, whatever…” is a phrase I hear quite a bit. Another two of my pet peeves is “Anyways” and “Nowheres”

    In a world of Twitter and texting, the ability to speak–and write–correctly is quickly vanishing.

  83. Anyway, As I Was Saying « Living in My Father’s World on October 22nd, 2009 4:51 pm

    [...] Read what other people had to say in this Marist poll. [...]

  84. Ryan on October 22nd, 2009 7:25 pm

    These must go:
    1. ‘at the end of the day’
    2. ‘low hanging fruit’
    3. ‘under the bus’
    4. ‘elephant in the room’
    5. ‘going forward’
    6. ‘that being said’
    Am I right?

  85. Bob on October 24th, 2009 11:55 pm

    It’s odd how what is annoying to some of us isn’t to others. But surely you all agree with the abuse of “actually.” For examples, watch This Old House… I hold my breath until someone uses the word, usually without cause, and I often hyperventilate.

  86. David on October 27th, 2009 6:39 pm

    A current phrase I dislike: “jump the shark.” Yes, the Fonzie reference was amusing *the first time*. But now that everyone uses it (I expect to hear Obama say we’ve “jumped the shark” in Afghanistan), it’s lost its luster. My girlfriend hates “thrown under the bus,” which is also annoying.

  87. Your Mama on October 28th, 2009 8:50 pm

    “Did we miss the word “freakin’ “??? Why do we allow our children to say this when we all know it’s a derivitive of the cuss word “fu…..”? I get upset every time I hear this from a small mouth.”

    Whatever.

  88. Jennifer on October 29th, 2009 3:16 pm

    I have to add being called “a female” to the list. Besides the fact that men are never referred to as “a male,” it’s gramatically incorrect. “Female” is an adjective, not a noun. Also, I think it strips a person of all sexuality to be called “a female” instead of a woman. It sounds so clinical. Is it really so difficult to distinguish between a girl, a young woman, and a woman that we have to lump us all into the category of “females?” It sounds as stupid as referring to a group of women as “prettys,” “clevers,” or “vivacious-es.”

  89. Lin on October 30th, 2009 7:28 am

    I despise the word “like” in the middle of every thought [or, "so . . . like"]. Use a pause . . . another transitional word or something other than “like” when you can’t explain yourself thoroughly or link one thought to another. “OMG”

  90. Bob on November 2nd, 2009 11:51 am

    Most annoying to me are “errors of pretentiousness,” especially using “I” where “me” is correct. As in, “Bob invited Dennis and I to dinner. ” These people think, “If it sounds wrong, it must be right.”

  91. Zoey on November 2nd, 2009 4:50 pm

    Some of the sayings that most annoy me are these:

    - Awesome!
    - That just made my life! (I hear this one so much throughout the day…if it had really made your life, then you wouldn’t be saying it over and over.)
    - Drowneded – how did this even originate? You drown or you drowned. You did not “drowneded.”
    - “Who even says that?” Obviously *somebody* does, right?
    - “Do you want me to do this, or…?” It really bothers me when someone purposely leaves their question open in order to try to sound more educated.
    - Saying “slash” out loud, as in “purple slash pink” or “and slash or.”
    - “Where are you at?” As mentioned by someone else, I cannot stand this one in particular.
    - Repetition such as “What a cute little baby!” or “The puppies are very young.”

  92. dodeeda on November 3rd, 2009 6:01 am

    The most egregious of them all is “having said that,” another form of “that being said.” I think the later is more annoying. Even the best journalists are now using it and the phrase is commonly used as a transition in writing.

    A close second is “sort of” in quick succession. Madonna does this as part of her phony English accent and now I hear all the liberal radio voices saying it. I’m a liberal and will never use the phrase.

    In at third is the over use of “amazing.” I hear all of the wealthy New York City young people saying it now. Ammaaayyyzzing. That was so amazing. That coat is amazing. Those shoes are amazing…and on and on.

    Oprah always says “fantastic, we’ll be right back,” then cuts to commercial. According to her, everything is fantastic.

    I actually like it when people use “I” and “me” incorrectly because then I can snicker at them. The reality star or the real estate agent who thinks she is well educated and wealthy proclaims “my husband and I’s vacation was FABULOUS.” Which reminds one of another annoying and overused descriptive word.

    “Thrown under a bus” should also be noted.

  93. James A. Perkins on November 4th, 2009 9:49 am

    I agree with those who would put “like” at the top of the list. My guess is that “like” has become so common that people don’t really hear it any more. For those of us who grew up with “well” and “ah” as vocal interruptions, “like” is most annoying.

  94. Truth Collective » Blog Archive » I found you annoying before, but now it’s official. on November 9th, 2009 2:01 am

    [...] recent Marist Poll finds “Whatever…” to be the most annoying phrase according to American English [...]

  95. erich berger on November 9th, 2009 9:59 am

    Here is one from the southeastern U.S. :

    “…Do What?..”

    This comes in response to any question or comment that is unheard, or misunderstood or wishing to apear so to the speaker.

    “…Say What?” is almost as annoying, but “Do What?” trumps it as its annoyance factor is higher when it is uttered as a “cach-all” response to a question or comment that was not in in the slightest way related to the performance of a task.

  96. erich berger on November 9th, 2009 10:04 am

    Here is another one.

    The speaker ends a declarative sentence that he or she deems to be definitive, with the modifier, “…Okay?”

    As in, “The situation calls for a fresh approach, Okay?” I have done a lot of work on this…Okay?”

  97. Noah Vale on November 19th, 2009 11:12 pm

    ‘Centers around’. It should be ‘centers on’ or ‘revolves around’, since nothing can be at the center and around the center at the same time.
    But the ubiquitous ‘like’ is horribly annoying. I believe its popularity derives originally from Jazz musicians use of it in the Bebop period when what they were doing harmonically was difficult to explain to the layman; so they took a short-cut and equivocated by using ‘like’ as a modifier. That may have been a justified usage at the time, but it has long since become a plague.
    Also ‘point in time’ is due for permanent retirement.

  98. Matt on November 25th, 2009 4:09 pm

    “I could care less”. It’s still around; everyone uses it. I feel I’ve breathed in a breath of fresh air when I hear someone say, properly: “I couldN’T care less”.

  99. erich berger on November 30th, 2009 5:11 pm

    On my top5: “on the other hand…”

    Just take a stand, don’t argue both sides, please. Or if you must, take up the issue with yourself, alone. Let me know who wins.

  100. Don on November 30th, 2009 10:09 pm

    For your consideration, from the Letterman show, Nov. 23rd, 2009 :

    Natalie Portman, Harvard graduate :

    . . . here in New York, if I would have a party, I’d get LIKE an unsigned note the next day that would say LIKE next time we’re calling the police … someone comes to me and is LIKE, “Oh my God, your neighbors are at the door,” and I’m LIKE, “Oh man, LIKE already I’m gonna’ be really unpopular.” And there were these dudes at the front door with LIKE booze and they were LIKE, “We heard the music, can we come hang?” And I was LIKE “awesome.”

    [ http://tinyurl.com/yfrq56c ]

  101. Barbara Evans on December 10th, 2009 9:50 am

    I have a challenge for everyone: Count the number of times that you hear the word “actually” in others’ sentences. By the end of one day, your count undoubtedly will have reached a thousand. Listen to TV newscasters and interviews. You’ll hear the word “actually” up to four times in four consecutive sentences! “Actually” is used too often where it’s unnecessary. My theory is that people use it to catch their listener’s attention — as if to request of the listener, “Be amazed by what I’m saying!” If what you’re saying is interesting or startling enough, the listener will realize that without having to be told that something is “actually” true.

    I’m smiling now because, as I finished that paragraph, an interviewee on TV used the word “actually” twice in two consecutive sentences. Just start listening for that odious word and you’ll be amazed by its over-use.

  102. Suzanne on December 11th, 2009 5:49 pm

    What about “my bad”? How did that end up as a replacement for “my fault” or “I’m sorry”???

    Or how about “reach out”. Why can’t I just call or email someone? Why do I have to reach out to them?

  103. Liz Branch on December 14th, 2009 11:01 am

    “I’m just saying…. !” What does this mean?????? My daughter says it all the time.

  104. NotLikingLike on December 21st, 2009 1:37 pm

    How many times have you been part of a conversation, only to have someone reiterate it to someone else, inserting the word LIKE before the EXACT words that you said… it’s mind-numbing. I often get a bit groggy when that word is used over and over again in conversation.

    It’s not such a bad word when used nicely, such as telling me that they actually “prefer” something or that they “don’t prefer” that same something.

    “I like ice cream”, or “I do not like that idea at all” —

    For a gag, when someone uses the word LIKE as conversation filler, try keeping count of how many times the word is used.

  105. catherine jennifer fusco on January 9th, 2010 8:03 am

    This is the best column I’ve ever had the pleasure of commenting on!
    Barbara from Oct 7th said a funny but true statement,when she said the word “like” was annoting,I mean,when I went to school,we never used words “like”…like! I’m a 60′s gal,& we spoke solid words,today these teeny-bobbers are forever pronouncing their words w/ the emphasis on-their “A’s”,they round out each sentence,I have to ask..”what was that?’
    As far as stupid expressions,I see “whatever” has taken has won! coming in a wopping,what was it 45%??I made a list of the worst,”:example: :”letting the cat out of the bag”,now why would a cat “be” in a bag to begin with?There must be those whose vocab is far more intellengent..so many other’s I love you to read!
    So I’ve come to a conclusion..”whatever” has saved many semi-illiterates from finishing a thought! We’re suppossed to have the imaginative knowledge to figure out how their thought has ended,but it does comes in handy.except,nobody takes responsibility for their own communicative skills,thus “whatever” is the “save” word! A poor man’s “etcetra”,although you’ll never hear that word,instead an intellegent person “finishes” their sentence[s]!
    I’m only sorry I didn’t add to this sooner,what I will now is answer the “Quotes” thing,the writer may have been referering to me..jentilpet! I cannot find,nor have I matered the “underline”,however when using a typewritter I used it everyday!
    I wanted to add,to that also,I will now,”constructive critisism” is healthy,& although I am a good writer,the person who openened that up{Pandora’s Box} yet another one/”At the end of the day”..”Word!”Actually I could publish my 20-35 stupid limited,backwoods expressions adding a newcommerEnter:”We Hunt,We Eat!” the philosophy of Palin! “Eating to Live is fine,but “Living to Eat” is left to the Japs who now eat dogs!!Can you please read “Jentilpets” comments,perhaps you can tell me where my “quotes” haven’t been neccessary…Where are the Stupid Commercials? The other “stupid things” have been saved…I love them,it is so interesting how you catagorized,each expression as to their stations in life because it takes an in-depth look at the mentality,of the educated vs the “wishy-washy” way out..or “whatever” that “save word”..”Down-pat”& the old tired “you cant’judge a book by it’s cover,should be ..by the title,likened to some movies whose titles have nothing to do w/ the storyline ,rather the secret indulgence[s]-of-what the author meant..but I never understand] What does “30 Rock” mean,besides I don’t care,anyway…? ha,NOW ON TO COMMERCIALS..Remember”Child of The Sixties” Robert Kliens albumn?he did that re:commercials,it was way before SNL started it,I loved it…Thanks for one of the best realistic article..Hepola’s dumb”My Life on the Oprah List for 2010,pretentoud verse between agent & half ass writer,all about the “guarded,but contradictory jargon of “O”‘s overexposed self..”Literary giant? I think not..I never waited for “O” to tell me,nor “critique” a book,so I can jot it down as the greatest pic..remember “A Million Little Pieces”"James Frey’s admitted lie,re: rehab,gee,what a revelation,agian “O” proves her illiteracy,just read “her” last page “O” Mag…Money allows one to write whatever they want,even when the narcisissism wreeks..dumb bell[another one!

  106. jaskshan on January 16th, 2010 11:31 am

    all said n done lets not forget
    ‘ANYWAYS’ — how does ‘s’ is so indiscriminantly used as per convenience ….

  107. sammy mukwa on April 7th, 2010 7:51 am

    using “otherwise” in a conversation is annoying!

  108. Johanna on April 10th, 2010 1:27 am

    JUST SAYIN!!!! Let’s leave this terrible quip in the last century, shall we??

  109. Listen & Learn » Blog Archive » Like, whatever on April 25th, 2010 12:42 pm

    [...] poll from the Marist Institute has revealed that the word or phrase Americans find most annoying is [...]

  110. zander on May 12th, 2010 1:40 pm

    I am shocked that i have not seen the phrase “that’s what she said” up on this poll it is used so much by the teen these days it’s nails on a chalkboard to me i hear my brothers kids say it so much it’s annoying

  111. Ladledarling on June 2nd, 2010 6:49 pm

    I am increasingly bothered by “done”, as in “I’m done with that” or “I’m sooo done”.
    I am not even sure that it is always being misused, but shouldn’t it be “finished” as in “I have finished” instead of “I am done” ? The cornbread is “done” The pianist has finished. I would love informed comment or unimformed comment.

    thanks

    ps – “got” makes my skin crawl as well.

  112. Air force one on June 3rd, 2010 3:52 am

    Thank you for this info and comments. I enjoy them very much.by Air force one

  113. rlo on June 9th, 2010 12:33 am

    Whatever, grammar is what it is, you know. Anyway, at the end of the day, it’s all the same.

  114. Davild on August 18th, 2010 8:27 pm

    The words and phrases you mentioned, Mary, are certainly all very annoying. Stop using that insipid “it’s all good” phrase, by the way! Here are a few other terribly annoying, misused and overused words: exactly, actually, fer sure, totally, amazing AND the worst offender of them all—awesome! Please make the plague of awesomes STOP. I can’t stand it anymore. Awesome used to be reserved for things like the Grand Canyon. Now, to some, it’s when you got an extra dime back in change or you got the right answer from someone. Kids and many regressed adults–news flash–that doesn’t rise to the level of being awesome.

  115. I'm jus sayin yo on September 6th, 2010 5:55 pm

    So I was reading thru u guyyses replies & i actually think y’all got it all wrong…
    Clearly u allll must think it’s a super annoyance when pl say, “it’s whatev…”

    How about y’all all lighten up and roll w the new, cool, way to say things;) as long as we aren’t including the new grammar and jargon in our reports for work/school, then it’s alll good!! English language needed a like flav added to itt, for real.

  116. spock on September 16th, 2010 2:45 pm

    wutever :)

    also the addition of ‘gate’ to the end of things

    Obama-gate
    Lewinsky-gate

  117. spock on September 16th, 2010 2:48 pm

    also dont forget – ‘Bush’s Fault’ has become the most annoying now!!
    or ‘they will bring us back to what it was before’ – I yell at the TV when i hear this one, and say do you mean when there was no unemployment, governemnt had money, people had money!! :)

  118. Samantha on September 26th, 2010 3:12 pm

    “Imma mom, Imma mom.” You have to ask a woman “how many?” and “boys or girls?” and “what are their ages?” and “what are their names?” before she mentions one word about her children. And even then it seems as if you’ve disrupted her train of thought: “Hmm? A boy. [Now back to me. Imma mom.]”

    And they preface declaractive sentences with it, for no reason at all: “Imma mom, so clean air is very important to me.” “Imma mom, so I care about quality television.”

  119. Samantha on September 26th, 2010 3:28 pm

    I dance on the grave of “incredible.”

  120. Samantha on September 26th, 2010 3:50 pm

    “So not.” People don’t disagree anymore, they so not agree. They aren’t unhappy, they’re so not happy. Why learn a new word, when they can plug “so not” in front of the word they learned when they were toddlers?

  121. dentists in paisley on October 13th, 2010 6:52 pm

    Realy nice post, thoroughly enjoyed it, will defo be back to check further posts.

  122. Jake Vipperman on November 7th, 2010 2:16 pm

    LIKE, has to be the most annoying.

  123. dem on December 15th, 2010 5:44 pm

    “i’m just saying”

  124. EXIT POLL ON ANNOYING LANGUAGE: Dreaming Without Meaning | Madame Pickwick Art Blog on December 17th, 2010 9:04 am

    [...] banal cliches  thoroughly irritate you, you’re probably not alone. The question is, which word or phrase bothered you the most? Chances are it was [...]

  125. The “Most Annoying” Words Of 2010 « 1059 SUNNY FM on December 17th, 2010 11:35 am

    [...] words of 2010 is out. And for the second year in a row, ” Whatever” topped a Marist poll as the most annoying word or phrase in the English [...]

  126. Laurie Boris on December 17th, 2010 12:45 pm

    I would gladly join that support group to help nix these idiocies from our speech and writing.

  127. m. claudette sandecki on December 18th, 2010 2:53 pm

    These peoples’ comments are some of the funniest lines I’ve seen all week.

    And they’ve named all the language irritations saving me the trouble.

  128. carl on December 19th, 2010 4:46 pm

    Whatever is a great word idiots whatnot is the most annoying period!

  129. Edgar on December 20th, 2010 12:41 pm

    Well, You Know What? I still think “You Know What” has got to be the most annoying and overused phrase these days. Worse than just “you know”. I hear it constantly in the news and talk radio media, sometimes 3 or 4 times in one sentence! You know what? It amazes me that others aren’t as annoyed by that.

  130. Scott on December 20th, 2010 5:52 pm

    There are a lot of interesting posts here so I may have missed it, however the phrase that irks me the most is: “and what not”. For example: “Uncle Jim was messing with the tractor and what not when he dropped his beer.” What the hell is “what not”? Anybody?

  131. Dev on January 26th, 2011 7:42 pm

    However, we all know that the most awesomest phrase in the english dictionary is
    “wa ‘eva.. I do wat I want ”

    thats right… i just used most with the superlative form of an adjective… wa’eva .. i do wat I want…

  132. ChinaShow.Me » Netizen Selects Top Ten Most Annoying Chinese Phrases on July 5th, 2011 6:11 pm

    [...] all due respect, American English speakers have different perspectives as always. A recent Marist poll shown the most annoying phrases to Americans are “whatever”, “you know”, “it is what it [...]

  133. perumal on December 17th, 2011 10:43 am

    Not much of a survey if it didn’t include “absolutely!” or “exactly” (as in Jay Leno). There are some other great additions above that were missed in the survey–”awesome” is certainly one, and “having said that” is near the top. “At the end of the day” English is in decline.

  134. Eva on December 21st, 2011 4:48 pm

    My peeve is, ‘know what I mean’?

  135. dave on March 12th, 2012 3:24 am

    refering to a group of men and women as ‘guys’ , i suppose we will have to alter folk music as guy music!, Also when greeting anyone itsalways hi ya! watever…..!

  136. Don on March 12th, 2012 10:19 pm

    Since my last post in 2009, our language is now in total freefall. I heard this last night from a sixth grader, on 60 MInutes, no less :

    (Question: Think you can make it to college?)
    “With help, or, like, with more, like, studying, or, like, Khan academy, I think I can get through.”

    And, sad to say, gone forever, it seems, is the ability to choose from a wide range of far more interesting and colorful words, and the word “like” now sits firmly entrenched in front of any number, as in “I have like three hours,” even if it’s an exact number!

  137. M. Claudette Sandecki on March 19th, 2012 12:51 pm

    Watching “Millionaire Matchmaker” recently, while interviewing a prospective girlfriend Patty asked one cookie-cutter blonde a simple question. Don’t remember the question. The young woman replied with such a garble of “likes” and other gibberish Patty looked quizzical, tried to hide a widening grin, rolled her eyes, and dismissed her.
    I, too, had no idea what the woman thought she was expressing.

  138. Samantha on July 18th, 2012 6:01 pm

    I think it’s hilarious to hear one of these phrases for the first time, unaware that it’s a filler. The first time I heard, “At the end of the day,” I panicked. “Oh, no – I have to have this done by the end of the day?!”

  139. Samantha on July 18th, 2012 6:03 pm

    “Hey” as a greeting. It makes everyone sound like Gomer Pyle.

  140. Danny Groovy on September 15th, 2012 8:21 pm

    Noone (short for No One). How lazy can a person get? Are they mistaking it for “someone?”

  141. Mark Ryan on October 10th, 2012 4:49 pm

    It’s been mentioned twice previously but the word “amazing” has taken the place of “incredible.”

  142. Jeremy on October 25th, 2012 6:51 pm

    What I find annoying is the incredible number of people that are being driven to the brink of insanity by meaningless slang terms and catch phrases used by others.

  143. Lousy Language | Pests of NY-Interactive I edition on June 1st, 2013 10:20 am

    [...] year Marist Poll released the findings of a nation wide survey in which “whatever” was voted as the most [...]

  144. Samantha on July 1st, 2013 1:39 pm

    This might seem off-topic, but it isn’t. The other day I was watching a marathon of an old sit-com, and I realized that I kept expecting the punchlines to have the boring, over-used words “penis”, “vagina”, or “ass” in them. It took watching a few episodes for me to realize that the punchlines were going to be funny, and that I could heighten my expectations.

  145. Samantha on July 1st, 2013 1:48 pm

    “No worries.” I live in the mountains and work at home, so when I hear some of these phrases for the first time, I take them seriously. For example, I apologized to a friend for forgetting her birthday, and she said, “No worries.” It took me a moment to understand. Was she telling me not to worry, or that she or someone else had no worries?

  146. M. Claudette Sandecki on July 1st, 2013 1:56 pm

    Samantha, you are so right to point out that old sitcoms actually had humorous content. Their dialogue didn’t depend upon shocking viewers with inappropriate, gratuitous language. That’s why I particularly enjoy watching All in the Family reruns.
    Maybe one day TV and movies will revert to genuinely funny dialogue any great grandmother can watch without one finger poised on the Off button.

  147. Samantha on July 1st, 2013 2:00 pm

    I have noticed that some young people find even slightly older people ancient. For example, people defend or degrade Paula Deen, a woman in her sixties, by describing her as someone so old she probably fought in the Civil War. The woman was in her twenties during the Civil Rights movement!

    I think this is why I’m more frequently hearing 40- and 50-year-olds preface their reminiscences by saying, “Back in the stone age”, or, “When I was in school, 100 years ago”.

  148. M. Claudette Sandecki on July 1st, 2013 2:11 pm

    Here’s an article I published that expresses my disdain for the use of “awesome” as indiscriminately as “like”:

    Totally awesome

    I was first in a checkout to pay for two large cans of Maxwell House coffee with a raincheck two months old.
    The cashier explained my raincheck needed to be initialed by the assistant manager. Whether all rainchecks must be initialed, or only those redeemed long after the sales date, I didn’t know. The assistant manager was busy, which meant waiting for him to come to the checkout. Next in line behind me was a woman holding a copy of a Vancouver daily in one hand and coins in the other.
    “I have time,” I said. “I don’t mind waiting,” and stepped aside to let the lady buy her newspaper.
    “Awesome!” the cashier said. Never before had anyone called me awesome. I glowed.
    The lady stepped forward and paid for her Province newspaper with exact cash.
    “Awesome!” the cashier said, rang up the sale and tucked the newspaper in a plastic bag.
    What, I wondered, was so awesome about counting out exact pennies to buy a newspaper? Was the cashier expressing her appreciation for not having to wait while the customer swiped a credit card? Or for not having to make change?
    About then, the assistant manager arrived. The cashier explained to him I had this two-month-old raincheck. He scrawled his initials on the slip and pocketed his ballpoint. “Awesome!” the cashier said.
    And why was he awesome? That he could write his own initials? That he came supplied with his own ballpoint? (How many stores have I been in where they have only one ballpoint shared by all the staff? I’ve had to wait while the hunt goes on to find who ran off with the ballpoint now.)
    When I exited the store hugging my two cans of coffee, the glow from being praised as awesome had cooled to a smoldering resentment at the indiscriminate use of the word ‘awesome.’ People sprinkle it through conversations as randomly as the four-letter ‘f’ word.
    My annoyance with ‘awesome’ peaked a year ago while I was taking an online writing course; students were encouraged to offer feedback. But often feedback consisted of “Awesome!” I argued this gave no guidance to the student toward writing another piece equally awesome, because the word lacked specificity and, thus, any hint of what made the piece awesome.
    Was the piece awesome for its use of proper nouns? Descriptive verbs? Was the piece funny? Did it evoke tears, revive memories, stir buried emotions?
    Following my criticism, student controversy went on entry after entry. Like comments posted in online newspapers, they deteriorated into name calling and snide remarks about areas wide of the subject.
    In the end, the word ‘awesome’ ceased to pepper critiques, replaced instead by down-to-earth terms with particular meanings.
    Four months later, The Writer magazine published an article about the best way to offer criticism in a writers’ group. Author Joni B. Cole advised, “If the discussion goes no deeper than generalities (‘I was bored’; or ‘Good job!”), push for more.”
    I saw my opening and I took it, writing a brief letter to the magazine about my ‘awesome’ online experience.
    The Writer printed my letter in its September 2010 issue. In its May 2011 issue, the magazine excerpted “Superlatives 101” from Arthur Plotnik’s book, Better Than Great. He has compiled 5,774 alternatives to ‘awesome.’ Arthur Plotnik and I don’t stand alone.
    Matt Richardson of Make Magazine used a Staples’ large red “Easy” button to create an “Awesome” button that plugs into your computer and will insert a random synonym for ‘awesome’ whenever you need one.
    Just hit the button.

  149. D. on July 4th, 2013 4:13 pm

    Like, if there is, like, any of these words or, like, phrases that are overused like one-tenth as much as the word “like,” then I would be all like, “I find that, like, hard to believe. Like, really?” The language is, like, in utter freefall and kludged up like hundreds (even like thousands) of times a day by this meaningless word (best not pay attention and, like, count, because you may, like, freak out). I fear the days of thoughtful, beautiful, interesting, and precise language have already been, like, tossed aside, as an incomprehensible relic of days gone by. Please, please, please tell me, like, this too will pass.

  150. Jen on May 30th, 2014 6:42 pm

    Well a lot of annoying words. Thanks for the stats behind it that I felt long ago

  151. Samantha on June 4th, 2014 11:52 am

    There used to be an old joke about language that went,”Never trust anyone who begins a sentence with the word ‘basically’.”

    Based on that, I developed a rule of my own several months ago, and I am sad to say that it has served me well. I never believe anyone who answers a request with, “ab-sah-LOOT-lee” instead of “yes.”

    Ab-sah-LOOT-lee is a red flag for me now. It means that the chances of having my request filled promptly and correctly are 50/50.

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