9 words you should stop using if you want to sound classy and sophisticated

Ah, language – a powerful tool that can make or break our image. The words we choose to use can either elevate us to sophistication or plunge us into the abyss of commonality.

Yeah, it’s serious business.

If you’re aiming for that touch of class and sophistication in your language, there are certain words you definitely need to avoid.

In this article, I’ll share with you nine words that could be sabotaging your classy persona. Scrap them from your vocabulary if you want to sound more polished and refined.

Let’s get started. 

1) “Literally”

This word has become, well, literally overused.

The word ‘literally’ was once reserved for emphasizing an actual, factual event or thing. However, it’s now commonly used for exaggeration or to emphasize a point, even when it’s not factually accurate.

Think of how many times you’ve heard (or said), “I’m literally dying of laughter.” Unless you’re in some kind of comedic danger, this is probably not accurate.

It’s this kind of hyperbolic misuse that diminishes the impact of your words and makes you sound less sophisticated.

If you’re aiming for a touch of class in your speech, let’s reserve ‘literally’ for its literal purpose. And remember, less is more when it comes to sounding sophisticated.

As with everything else in life, moderation is key.

2) “Like”

Here’s one I struggled with personally. The word ‘like’ has become a filler word in our daily conversations, much like ‘um’ or ‘uh’.

I remember a particular event where I was delivering a presentation to a room full of executives. Nerves got the best of me and I found myself saying, “It’s like, you know, really impactful for our bottom line.” The moment I said it, I knew it didn’t sound as polished as I had intended.

The word ‘like’ in such usage doesn’t add any value to the sentence and often detracts from the clarity of what we’re trying to communicate. So, from that day forward, I’ve made a conscious effort to ditch ‘like’ as a filler word and stick to clear, concise sentences.

Trust me, it makes a world of difference in how you’re perceived. If you want to sound more classy and sophisticated, try to eliminate unnecessary uses of ‘like’ from your vocabulary.

3) “Irregardless”

Here’s a word that might surprise you – ‘irregardless’. It’s often used with the intention of sounding formal or sophisticated, but here’s the catch – it’s not actually a recognized word in the English language.

That’s right. ‘Irregardless’ is a blend of two words: ‘irrespective’ and ‘regardless’, both of which mean the same thing. Essentially, by using ‘irregardless’, you’re mixing two words that individually would suffice.

Many language experts consider its usage as incorrect, and it can cause some raised eyebrows among those who are aware of this.

If you’re aiming for sophistication, stick to ‘regardless’ or ‘irrespective’ and leave ‘irregardless’ out of your vocabulary.

4) “Ain’t”

‘Ain’t’ is a word that’s often used in informal conversations or in certain regional dialects. While it might feel natural or casual to use, it’s not a word that’s going to add any sophistication to your language.

‘Ain’t’ is a contraction of ‘is not’, ‘are not’, ‘am not’, ‘has not’, or ‘have not’. Yet, its usage is often frowned upon in formal or professional settings. It can be seen as lazy or uneducated language use, even if that’s far from the truth.

When you’re trying to sound classy and sophisticated, opt for the full forms such as ‘isn’t’, ‘aren’t’, ‘haven’t’, or ‘hasn’t’. It might take a little more effort, but it will definitely elevate your speech.

5) Swear words

This might seem obvious, but it’s worth mentioning. Swear words are a no-go if you’re aiming for sophistication.

Sure, they might express frustration or emphasize a point in casual conversations, but they can often come across as crude or unrefined in many social situations.

Not to mention, excessive swearing can make it seem like you’re lacking in vocabulary.

When you’re looking to sound classy, challenge yourself to express your thoughts and emotions without resorting to profanity. You’d be surprised at how this little change can significantly elevate the way you come across to others.

6) “Whatever”

‘Whatever’ is a word that often gets a bad rap, and for good reason. While it might seem harmless, it can easily come across as dismissive or uncaring when used in conversation.

Imagine you’re having a heartfelt discussion with someone, pouring your heart out, only to receive a ‘whatever’ in response. It can feel like a slap in the face, can’t it?

Language is not just about the words we use, but also the respect and understanding we convey through those words. So if you’re striving to sound more classy and sophisticated, consider replacing ‘whatever’ with more thoughtful responses that show you’re truly engaged in the conversation.

After all, sophistication is not just about sounding smart, it’s also about being considerate and respectful.

7) “Stuff”

‘Stuff’ is one of those words that I used to use all the time. It’s vague, it’s easy, and it can mean just about anything. But it’s exactly these qualities that make ‘stuff’ a word to avoid when aiming for sophistication.

I recall a time when I was asked about my hobbies during a formal dinner. My response? “Oh, I’m into a lot of stuff.” Looking back, that response was a missed opportunity to share something meaningful about myself and engage in a deeper conversation.

‘Stuff’ is a catch-all word that doesn’t provide much detail or insight. Instead, try to be more specific in your language. Not only will this make you sound more sophisticated, but it also opens up opportunities for more meaningful conversations.

8) “Y’all”

‘Y’all’ is a common phrase used primarily in the Southern United States as a plural form of ‘you’. While it’s a beloved part of regional dialects and can feel friendly and warm, it might not convey the level of sophistication you’re aiming for in more formal or professional settings.

Don’t get me wrong, regional dialects and accents are a beautiful part of our diverse language landscape. But when you’re aiming to sound classy and sophisticated, more neutral language may serve you better.

When you’re about to say ‘y’all’, consider using ‘you all’ or ‘everyone’ instead. It’s a small change, but one that can make a big difference in how you’re perceived.

9) “Very”

Here’s the big one – ‘very’. This little word is often used as a crutch when we’re trying to emphasize something but fall short of finding the right word.

Yet, using ‘very’ can be a sign of laziness in our language use. Instead of saying you’re ‘very tired’, why not say you’re ‘exhausted’? Instead of ‘very happy’, why not ‘elated’ or ‘ecstatic’?

By swapping out ‘very’ for more descriptive words, not only do you sound more sophisticated, but your language becomes richer and more expressive. It’s a win-win situation!

The heart of eloquence

Let’s pause for a moment to appreciate language – this beautiful, complex, and evolving tool that allows us to express our thoughts, emotions, and experiences.

It’s not just about the words we choose, but the impact they have on the listener. And while it’s true that our choice of words can influence how sophisticated we come across, there’s something even more crucial to remember.

Classiness and sophistication go beyond vocabulary. They’re about respect, empathy, and understanding. They’re about listening more than speaking, appreciating the nuances of communication, and valuing the power of silence.

So yes, ditch these nine words if you want to sound more sophisticated. But remember, true class comes from the heart. It shines through in your actions, in your attitudes, and in your respect for others.

Language is the dress of thought – let us ensure we dress our thoughts in the best attire possible.

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Tina Fey

I'm Tina Fey, the founder of the blog Love Connection. I've extremely passionate about sharing relationship advice. I've studied psychology and have my Masters in marital, family, and relationship counseling. I hope with all my heart to help you improve your relationships, and I hope that even if one thing I write helps you, it means more to me than just about anything else in the world. Check out my blog Love Connection, and if you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Twitter

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