The Worst Word in the English Language

I am a child of the 60’s/70’s and as such grew up with george carlin and the 7 Words You Can’t Say on Television. I recently played the album (which is an actual 33 RPM album and not a CD) for my teenaged son and realized that most of those words, except for a few with the really great consonant sounds, can now be said on television. How times have changed.

There are still a few really taboo four letter words, but the damage causing word that I’m thinking of only has three letters.

It is a word we use in polite circles, at work, at school, at home, with our children, with our pets. And yet, I believe it is a word that causes pain and should be avoided at all costs.

Are you ready? Get on with it, you are thinking.


Yep, that is the word that should be banded from our vocabulary.

Think about how we use it.

“I really like that report you researched, but….”

“Wow, that outfit looks fantastic on you, but…”

“I love you, but…” (let’s not go there)

The word BUT negates everything that came before it. If you are a fan of The One Minute Manager, you have learned that management discussions should begin with a positive recognition, end with a confidence builder and sandwiched in-between all of that great stuff is the one thing that needs focus.

However, if you use BUT as a transition word, you eliminate all of the positive you lead with.

And those of you who are rather sophisticated might use the word HOWEVER instead of BUT. I’m here to tell you – it is just a fancy way of saying BUT.

Next time you are tempted to use the word BUT, try putting a period to the end of your leading thought.

“I was impressed with your report, you clearly worked hard on the research.”

Let that sink in so that the person believes you are sincere. Swallow the BUT. You know what I mean.

Let there be a beat between your positive and your follow up statement.

Now you can say: “Would it be possible for you to add a section on…”

The difference in how you are perceived and more importantly, how the receiver of your comment feels about their worth is immeasurable.

You’ve sincerely reinforced the value of the work and at the same time requested that additional information or work be conducted.

Be especially aware today of the number of times you say BUT.

See if you can help eliminate this negative word from our daily lives!