Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Three phrases I’d like to ban June 13, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 5:00 AM
Tags: , , , , , ,

ARE THERE CERTAIN WORDS or phrases that bother you? I mean big time irritate you to the point that you want to shout, DO NOT SAY (WRITE) THOSE WORDS TO ME!

Here are the top phrases/words I would like to ban:


Words buck up


My husband once advised me to “Buck up!” when I was gasping for air while in the middle of a major asthmatic type attack. I was ill at the time, severely ill, with whooping cough. Rather than suggesting I “Buck up!”, he probably should have been dialing 911. (In his defense, neither of us fully realized the seriousness of the situation.)

Why do I dislike those two words? In my particular instance, no amount of bucking up would solve my medical emergency. This was out of my control. Telling someone to “Buck up!” minimizes their situation/issue/problem. Rather than suggest someone toughen up, how about offering help and/or a solution? Or simply listen.


Words awesome


How can everything in life be awesome? It is the most overused trendy word. That’s awesome. That’s awesome. That’s awesome. Really?

Rather than apply the worn-out word awesome, which has lost all meaning because of its repetitive use, tell me precisely why something is awesome. Is something awesome because it’s an incredible accomplishment? Is something awesome because it pleases you and solves a problem? Is something awesome because it’s uniquely creative? Use specific words that hold meaning.


Words it is what it is


I’ve heard these five words spoken in trying situations. These are not words anyone facing or managing a crisis or challenge needs to hear. Why? This dismissive phrase only makes a person feel worse.

Instead, validate an individual’s feelings and then offer support, comfort, encouragement and/or assistance. No one needs to be reminded that a situation is bad; that’s already a known.

Now it’s your turn. Tell me what words/phrases bug you. Or, if you wish, defend usage of the words/phrases I dislike.

© Copyright 2016 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


22 Responses to “Three phrases I’d like to ban”

  1. Robynne Black Says:

    I like the word ‘validate’, but what I’ve kept from the grief work courses I’ve done in the past, is the acronym that every human needs to feel Heard, Acknowledged, and Accepted. After a lot of years of thought on this, I’d add the word ‘Understood’. Thanks for your writing Audrey!

    • I hope this post prompts some good discussion, like your input, Robynne. It’s good to hear that you give thought to the weight of specific words. That’s important.

      To the reader who submitted this comment, I am sorry for accidentally deleting it: “Buck up is what it is, simply awesome.” As I clicked delete on my spam comments, I read it and realized it wasn’t spam. But I can’t retrieve it. Your comment is a brilliant use of words. Sorry for accidentally deleting. I seldom read through my spam comments. I just push delete.

  2. I dislike when people say “Cool Beans,” (Makes no sense to me) “Awesome Sauce,” (Still, makes no sense to me) “Poop in a Group,” (Just sounds gross) & “Oh my God/Gosh” (I don’t like when people say the Lord’s name in vain, & they think it’s better to say “gosh” but it isn’t.)

  3. HAaaaHaaa.

    I use “Awesome” waaaaay too much. Sorry! I mean, it’s such an awesome word. See, there I go again.
    “It is what it is” SUCKS. Horrible sentence.
    Also, I despise “Shit happens.”


  4. My Bad – drives me nutso! Sometimes the best thing to do is say nothing at all and lend an ear or a shoulder. Happy Day – Enjoy 🙂

  5. Except for the approval button on our blogs, the word “like” as it is used in the vernacular of today’s generation. It just drives me “like” crazy. I mean “like” you hear it “like’ all of the time and “like’ it really doesn’t add “like” anything to the conversation, it’s “like” it’s just thrown in “like” when they can’t think of “like” anything to say.. “Like” is used as a pause to gather their thoughts which, as a rule, should be left alone to wander freely.lol

  6. Don Says:

    I dislike the word “sucks” and really hate the word that starts with F___! If frustrated instead of using those words I use “well boxcars” or “that bites” instead of those two words. “Well boxcars” fits the frustration of the moment much like sitting at a railroad crossing waiting for the train to pass when you are in a hurry for an appointment. Unpleasant as a mosquito bite is, the word “bites” fits my frustration of the moment and the lingering affect of it afterwards…………………

  7. treadlemusic Says:

    Back in the “dark ages”/when I was in high school, the word “supreme” was the ‘buzz’ word (on par with ‘awesome’, don’t you think???). One night, at the supper table, my dad had had enough and finally gave his opinion of the word’s frequent usage……..banned!!!!! And that’s my opinion on many of the above mentioned choices!!!!!! Awesome post!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (too many ‘!’s??????) LOL!

  8. Littlesundog Says:

    I quite agree with you on all three phrases. Buck up is more northern I think. I can’t say I’ve heard it in Oklahoma since I moved here 26 years ago. And on top of Awesome, I REALLY detest “Awesome Sauce”. Oh, and you will never find me saying “Y’all” EVER. 😀

    • I never heard the words “buck up” until my husband and members of his family spoke them. I think you’re generally right, though, that different regions of the country have certain words/phrases that are common. While on a recent vacation, a waitress called me “honey.”

  9. Missy's Crafty Mess Says:

    I’m dating myself here but here are a few. “Well Duh” “Whaterever” Whatsup”

  10. Beth Ann Says:

    Interesting. Everyone has those phrases that just bug them. Having lived in various places over the years I have gotten to learn a lot of phrases that I never would have heard before — I can’t think of anything right now that I don’t like to hear (other than curse words or OMG ) . I guess i just tune them out or something. 🙂

  11. Celebrity Bowling Says:

    “Grow the” economy, system, social structure, planet, dream, future …

    The first time I heard President Clinton say “Grow the Economy” on the evening news, it raised my hackles. My annoyance was that it was another Clintonian political triangulation tapdance.

    Economists would speak about “economic growth” in which nature would take its course, in its own time. The grammatical switch to “grow the economy,” implied human control which accommodated the new neo-liberal’s big government view of where growth would be germinated from and the neo-conservative’s belief in the husbandry of “job creators.” If there had been consensus on how something so enormous and complex would be watered … Oh, well.

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