NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - If you want to be a great conversationalist, whatever you do don't use the word "whatever."
It topped a U.S. survey as the most annoying word.
The Marist telephone poll of 938 adults revealed it was more grating to many people than "anyway" and less tolerable than phrases such as "it is what it is" and "you know."
"The impetus of this poll was a casual conversation where we started discussing those words that get on your nerves. You hear them over and over again," explained Mary Azzoli, director of media for Marist.
Nearly 50 percent of people questioned said "whatever" was the word that bothered them the most. It was the most irritating word in all regions of the country, and among both sexes, all age groups, educational levels and income brackets.
"It is used so often in terms of casual conversation. Also, when you think of the meaning behind it, it is often a way to dismiss someone. It is irritating in that regard. It is much more off-putting compared to any of the other statement we asked," she added.
A quarter of people selected "you know" as the phrase they would like to ban most from the English language. Eleven percent simply could not tolerate "it is what it is," while seven percent found "anyway" irksome.
And at the end of the day, "at the end of the day" was the phrase that came in a distant last with two percent of the vote.
"In order to be a good conversationalist, the key is to always be aware of what you are saying and maybe to do a little research about which words are overused," Azzoli added.
(Reporting by Patricia Reaney; Editing by Leslie Gevirtz,
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