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The Worst Word You’re Using in the Workplace


You’re actually using it incorrectly, especially when you work in a team or group environment. Even worse, a manager saying it to a subordinate.  And the sad part is that you probably don’t actually realize you are using it as often as you are.


I didn’t realize how much I hated the word “actually” until I started working in an office. I am guilty of saying it, don’t get me wrong. When my friends ask for my opinion on something, I respond with “Oh, I actually kind of like it”.


I have been known to be somewhat straightforward when expressing my opinions, so if I don’t like something you will know, but I never considered how it was perceived when I “actually” liked something.


Understanding why you are adding in the word “actually” to your sentence can solve many issues. Ask yourself: does it add value to what you are saying? Below are a few examples of statements that actually have some slightly bitchy undertones, but you have probably said a variation more than once.


  • I actually agree with you.
  • Actually, I asked my manager and they said it was fine.
  • I actually wanted pizza.
  • Actually, you can add this to the article.
  • Have you done this yet? Actually, I have.

Now go back through these statements and remove the word “actually.” It gives the same meaning without any snarky implications.


You can argue that adding the word is a way to assure yourself of the statement you are making. In a sense, it’s verifying the argument you are making, to yourself only; but consider how it’s projected to whom you are speaking.


It’s a quiet jab that comes off as if you are questioning the competence of the other person.


If you have never noticed how often you, or someone else, says “actually” when speaking; you will now. And you will start noticing how unimportant the word is and it will undermine anything that follows in the sentence.


I’m actually impressed you made it through this entire post.


Last Updated: April 18, 2016
About the author

Cally Martin

Callan is a social media loving, blog writing, event planning freelancer who believes in the power of the oxford comma. Originally from America’s high-five (Michigan), she’s been in Austin since 2015 and doesn’t plan on moving anytime soon. When not attached to WiFi, she can be found running around the lake or drinking mimosas at brunch.