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20 Non-Specific Words and Phrases

Some words and phrases, by their nature, are generally so non-specific that they regularly render little or no meaning to the hearer or reader. They frequently leave one wondering what exactly a speaker or writer was trying to say.
This is not to say that these words and phrases and can never be meaningful. Very often, they can and are. I use them all the time, hopefully in a meaningful way.

Sometimes, though, people use them to attempt to disguise the fact they don't really know what they're talking or writing about. Frequently, they are used as a method to buy time and postpone a meaningful answer, which the speaker or writer is not yet ready to provide.

And at times, they are even used as "weasel words" to, at best, hedge or equivocate, or, at worst, intentionally deceive. I have provided 20 examples below. Hopefully, this will be a thought-provoking exercise, as you take a moment to analyze the way each word or phrase is often used.

1) Soon

2) Well (not the hole in the ground)

3) More than/Less than/As much as/As little as

4) Cheap

5) People are saying/It has been said/Rumor has it

6) White-collar/Blue-collar

7) You know

8) Not quite

9) Open-minded

10) Nothing is better (more effective) than

11) Progressive

12) Special

13) Disturbing

14) Outspoken

15) Non-essential

16) Virtually

17) Eventually

18) Competitive

19) Highest standards of

20) Inappropriate
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Terry Mitchell is a software engineer, freelance writer, amateur political analyst, and blogger from Virginia, USA. He posts a least one article a day to his blog - - on subjects such as current events, politics, technology, society and culture, religion, health and well-being, self improvement, personal finance, trivia, and sports.

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