29 Words We Never Want To See In An Email EVER Again

Photo: Illustrated by Ivy Liu.
We’ve all been there: Your boss has latched onto a piece of office jargon and insists on saying it approximately 173 times per meeting. If fact, if you hear the phrase “game changer” one more time, you are going to “ideate” some ways to find a new job. It is emails like this that make us want to quit on the spot:

“Just circling back to continue our ideation. I’ve had a chance to marinate after our last deep dive, and I still haven’t figured out how to move the needle on this one. Do you have the bandwidth to crowdsource some more consumer data for the marketing deck? Just ping me when you’ve tapped into something that feels both disruptive and innovative. I know this is in your wheelhouse — we’re really looking to empower the next generation of game changers here. We can talk next steps when we hop on the phone today. I just need this before EOD because I’m OOO next week. You’re a rock star, bro!”

If the above made you want to crawl into a computer-less cave and live the rest of your existence in a prehistoric loin cloth, that makes two of us. But one has to imagine that there are millions of people across the globe who feel the same way. Just think, if we banded together, perhaps we could create an anti-jargon revolution! In the meantime, we’ll have to settle for this roundup of 29 work phrases we hate.
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Photo: Illustrated by Ivy Liu.
When did it become so hard to type out “end of day”? When did our fingers just give up on those three words? And why?
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Photo: Illustrated by Ivy Liu.
Same applies here. You are about to go on vacation, which means your fingers are about to get a much-needed rest from typing exhausting phrases like “out of office.” With this in mind, why not spend the extra three seconds it takes to type eight more letters?
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Photo: Illustrated by Ivy Liu.
This phrase sends chills down my spine every time it’s used…and it’s used A LOT. There is something subtly Sisyphean about it. “Circle back” conjures images of mindless office drones, endlessly circling mundane tasks. HELP!
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Photo: Illustrated by Ivy Liu.
I love emails that end with “Thanks!” when there is absolutely no reason to express gratitude for anything in said email. “Thanks!” has become a nervous email tick, meant to infuse some sort of cheeriness at the end of your email. No thanks!
5 of 30
Photo: Illustrated by Ivy Liu.
Waaaaay too many people use this as an email greeting. It has been rendered virtually meaningless through unrelenting overuse. Why not just get down to business instead of offering up an empty platitude? It’s especially hilarious when this phrase is used right before bringing up something truly unpleasant: “Hope all is well! Just FYI: You failed your drug test.”
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Photo: Illustrated by Ivy Liu.
No, you’re not. And neither is anyone in your office, unless Steven Tyler happens to work in your accounting department. How we came to conflate basic workplace competence with rock stardom is one of the great mysteries of the modern era.
7 of 30
Photo: Illustrated by Ivy Liu.
Why would you hop on your iPhone, unless you wanted to crush it? “Hop” is such an odd choice of verb to describe the basic act of picking up a phone and speaking into it. The Easter Bunny “hops” — adult professionals can “get” on the phone like everyone else.
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Photo: Illustrated by Ivy Liu.
When people utter the phrase “blue sky” in a meeting, I immediately wish I were staring at actual blue skies instead of stuck in an airless conference room on a Friday afternoon.
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Photo: Illustrated by Ivy Liu.
Are we on a baseball diamond? No? Okay — maybe a nuclear base? No? Then what “base” are we touching here, exactly?
10 of 30
Photo: Illustrated by Ivy Liu.
No, it’s not.
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Photo: Illustrated by Ivy Liu.
People are not internet providers, and therefore do not possess any bandwidth. Thus, the answer to, “Do you have the bandwidth?” should always be, “NO, I AM NOT AOL IN THE LATE-'90s.” A far more appropriate (and jargon-free) question is simply: “Do you have time to do this?”
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Photo: Illustrated by Ivy Liu.
This phrase makes me want to move the needle into my eyes. NEXT!
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Photo: Illustrated by Ivy Liu.
The most passive-aggressive way of asking someone, “When the hell are you gonna respond to me?!?!”
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Photo: Illustrated by Ivy Liu.
The SECOND most passive-aggressive way of asking someone, “When the hell are you gonna respond to me?!?!”
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Photo: Illustrated by Ivy Liu.
You should only ask this question if you actually care how the other person is doing. Too often this question is trotted out in a work email, when the person asking has no actual interest in how the other is doing. And that’s fine. It’s a work email — we don’t have to make it personal if it’s not.
16 of 30
Photo: Illustrated by Ivy Liu.
“We haven’t talked in forever” is usually uttered before a big favor is asked. It’s essentially code for, “I know we don’t really care about each other, but I need you now, so let’s pretend like we’re BFFs!”
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Photo: Illustrated by Ivy Liu.
“Ping” me? Why can’t you just say “email me”? Why assume that everyone’s inbox makes a “pinging” sound? And if that’s not what you assume, why use the word “ping” at all?? This is an abuse of an already annoying onomatopoeia.
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Photo: Illustrated by Ivy Liu.
This phrase gets thrown around at the end of nearly EVERY meeting, to make the leader of another worthless meeting feel like her meeting was all worth it, because people will do worthwhile things after the worthless meeting.
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Photo: Illustrated by Ivy Liu.
Ew. The only appropriate workplace setting in which to utter “marinate” is a kitchen. If you are a chef, or work with one, and you happen to be discussing the recipe for a steak, by all means use “marinate.” But if you are in ANY OTHER WORK SETTING — just don’t use “marinate.” You marinate meat, not ideas.
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Photo: Illustrated by Ivy Liu.
THIS IS PERHAPS THE MOST OVERUSED AND ANNOYING WORK TERM IN THE HISTORY OF WORK TERMS. Congrats, you just came up with a new idea. But something tells me that your “Uber for hair extensions” isn’t really going to DISRUPT the world of hairstyling and transform our approach to human hair.
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Photo: Illustrated by Ivy Liu.
“Crowdsource” sounds like the name of an '80s new-wave band, but in reality is just a tired work term that is nowhere near as fun.
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Photo: Illustrated by Ivy Liu.
Can we please just call it a Powerpoint presentation? How these things came to be called “decks” is a mystery to me.
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Photo: Illustrated by Ivy Liu.
Are you conducting this meeting in a pool? Or maybe you’re actually on the Olympic Committee, discussing the next summer games? NO??? Well then stop using “deep dive.”
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Photo: Illustrated by Ivy Liu.
This is not a word. I’m sorry, it’s just not. I don’t care if it’s been added to the dictionary, I will never honor this assemblage of letters as anything other than a stupid term, developed by corporate marketing execs to describe the act of coming up with ideas.
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Photo: Illustrated by Ivy Liu.
Why must we instill our office exchanges with the the urgency of the Olympic Games? “Game changer” is one of those overly dramatic phrases that people love to trot out when they want to pat themselves on the back for simply doing their job. The phrase “game changer” is often followed by the word “bro” and a douchey high-five.
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Photo: Illustrated by Ivy Liu.
What is a “wheelhouse”? Can anyone who has uttered this phrase actually tell me what it is? Is it a house where wheels are stored? Or is it a house made of wheels? And where might I find a wheelhouse? If you can’t answer any of these questions, please stop using this phrase.
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Photo: Illustrated by Ivy Liu.
Value add? You mean something that adds value? Yes? Okay — let’s just say that, instead of this obnoxious phrase. We are beating a dead jargon-horse here, people.
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Photo: Illustrated by Ivy Liu.
There is nothing “empowering” about massive corporate marketing campaigns. Indeed, the only thing they empower us to do is reach for our wallets. And yet the word “empower” gets trotted out to sell everything from soda to cereal. Let’s put this one to bed, unless we’re talking about things that are actually empowering.
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Photo: Illustrated by Ivy Liu.
Did you bring your golf clubs to the conference room, bro? No? Then let’s not say “tee it up.” Instead, you could simply say, “And here is Chad to introduce our next topic.”
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