The Lame Two-Word Phrase You Need to Stop Using

writing brevity millennials
Me? I use these words? Yes, you.

By Danny Rubin

“Excuse me, madam, but are you perchance at liberty this evening for libations or the cinema?”

“Um, what?!”

“Sorry. Are you free tonight for drinks or a movie?”

“Oooooh. I guess so…weirdo.”

Unless a guy lives in London in 1893 (or maybe hipster Portland in 2014), he would never ask a girl out with words like “perchance” and “libations.” That would be crazy, right?

Well, young professionals today actually do use an elaborate two-word expression all the time, and it needs to end.


The tiny phrase might seem insignificant, but “such as” screams out, especially to an employer. It says: “I’m trying to impress you. Pleeeeease hire me!”

Plus, if you plan to use Facebook’s new “Ask” button to land a date, you’d better be authentic – in these 11 ways – and talk like yourself. Think you can do that, “perchance”?

Just. Be. You.

I have written before about the danger of “overdoing it” with job-related documents such as like resumes and cover letters. Oops, see how easily it slips in there?

 Check out: Don’t Try to Sound Smart. It Only Makes You Look Dumb.

For example, “My internship taught me a range of skills such as project management, problem solving and time management.”

NO ONE uses “such as” in normal conversation. So why write it? Oh, I know why…

“Such as”  is a classic college move. Back then, we all packed in unnecessary words to appear intellectual and mature, particularly on 10-pagers like “To Tweet or Not to Tweet” (actual term paper topic).

In the real world, fancy shmancy phrases are non-starters and don’t allow the employer to understand the real you. Proper grammar and punctuation always matter, but natural language lets you connect on deeper level.

More empty rhetoric:

- Utilize (big, useless word)

- Detail oriented (don’t tell me, show me)

- Responsible (should be implied)

When you finish writing and start the revision process (hint: print out the page to spot errors), make sure you search the document for “such as” and these ten problematic words and phrases (ex: “that”).

Be normal. Be enjoyable to read.

Remember: when it comes to documents like job applications, the reader is the only person who matters.


Agree with the “such as” critique?

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 Featured photo: maura_monahan (Flickr)


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