People who use these 12 phrases think they’re smarter than others

Being smart is good, but thinking you’re smarter than others and acting like it is terrible. 

You’re familiar with these kinds of people, right? They often use big words for no obvious reason and look down on others. 

But let’s have some fun and see what words and phrases they use. 

1) “In the event that” instead of “if”

Using “in the event that” instead of plain old “if” makes a simple condition seem unnecessarily complicated. 

In reality, “if” is perfectly clear when talking about a condition or possibility. 

Think of it this way: imagine you’re making plans with a friend.

You could say, “In the event that it rains, we should bring umbrellas,” but saying, “If it rains, we should bring umbrellas,” is just as clear and, honestly, more natural.

2) “At the present time” instead of “now”

When someone says “at the present time” instead of “now,” it comes across as a bit formal, like they’re trying to make themselves seem more important or official

It’s like when someone wears a tuxedo to a casual dinner with friends – it’s overkill.

On the other hand, “now” is like the comfy jeans and t-shirt of language. It’s straightforward and instantly relatable. 

Everyone understands “now.”

3) “Paradigm” instead of “model”

Some people might say “paradigm” when they mean “model” or “example” to sound more knowledgeable. Still, it doesn’t necessarily make them smarter.

It just adds unnecessary complexity to a simple idea.

So, don’t feel like you have to use these fancy words to prove your point – plain language often works just as well, if not better!

4) “Aforementioned” instead of “said”

Using “aforementioned” doesn’t mean the person is any smarter. It’s just a style choice, like picking a fancy dress for a casual party. 

It might make the writing or conversation sound more formal, but it doesn’t make the person more intelligent

They think they’re smarter than others, and that’s why they’re using a big word when a smaller one would do the trick. This is frankly very cringe. 

5) “In close proximity to” instead of “near”

Using “In close proximity to” is like ordering a “venti caramel macchiato with extra whipped cream” at Starbucks when all you really want is a “large coffee with cream.” 

It’s a mouthful compared to the simple and clear “near.”

People who think they’re smarter than others often use such phrases to create an impression of sophistication.

They think that using longer and bigger words automatically makes them sound smarter. In reality, it’s the opposite:

It makes them look stupid. 

A Princeton research proved that people like reading less complicated texts and think that their authors are more intelligent. 

6) “Subsequently” instead of “later on”

Imagine you’re reading something that says, “We went to the store, and subsequently, we bought some groceries.” 

The word “subsequently” sounds more formal, right? Some people use it to make their writing seem fancier or more sophisticated, maybe to give off the impression that they’re really smart.

Or they think they’re clever and want to sound as such.

They’re trying to show off their vocabulary, but in reality, they’re just making a simple idea more complicated than it needs to be.

And we learned above that that has the opposite effect on the listener or reader. 

7) “Exemplify” instead of “show”

People who lack empathy frequently say these phrases without realizing their impact People who use these 12 phrases think they're smarter than others

When someone wants to explain a concept or give an example, they might choose to use the word “exemplify” instead of the simpler word “show.”

It has that fancy ring to it, and it’s like when someone wants to add a touch of sophistication to what they’re saying. 

It’s the kind of word you hear in academic or formal discussions. It should also stay there. 

8) “With the exception of” instead of “except for”

People who use “with the exception of” instead of just saying “except for” often seem like they’re trying to be super thorough or picky about their words.

It’s like they’re trying to show off their vocabulary, but in everyday conversations, simplicity often works better. 

So, if someone’s going on about exceptions all the time, they might be overdoing it a bit.

9) “In lieu of” instead of “instead of”

In everyday situations, using “instead of” is not only more relatable but also more considerate of the people you’re talking to. 

You need to ensure you’re understood, and clarity often trumps complexity. So, don’t worry about trying to sound overly fancy with words like “in lieu of” – keeping it down to earth with “instead of” is usually the better choice.

I mean, if one of my friends used “in lieu of” while talking to me, I would ask him why they’re using it. It just doesn’t sit right, does it?

The same goes for the following: 

10) “Ergo” instead of “so”

In everyday conversations, using “so” is way more relatable and down-to-earth. It keeps the discussion approachable and doesn’t make you seem like you’re trying too hard to sound smart

Sometimes, the simplest words are the best ones to get your point across without any unnecessary frills.

11) “Elicit” instead of “get” 

The thing is, using “elicit” doesn’t necessarily make someone more intelligent; it just makes the conversation a tad more complicated.

They give off this vibe like they think they’re better than everyone else. It’s like they’re trying to make themselves seem all high and mighty

But really, “get” does the job just fine in most situations.

12) “Notwithstanding” instead of “despite”

Some people will use “notwithstanding” to feel superior or show off, and in those cases, it can rub others the wrong way.

When they consistently choose these more complex words instead of simpler, more relatable ones, it makes others feel like they’re being talked down to or that the person is trying to show off their brains.

How to properly sound smarter

To sound smarter, you don’t have to use complex words or phrases. It’s more about how you express yourself and the depth of your knowledge.

So the first step should be to keep learning and gaining expertise in your areas of interest. The more you know, the more confident you’ll be in conversations.

Don’t use complex jargon just to sound smart. Instead, use terms that your audience can relate to and understand.

And the most important tip is to support your points with real-life examples or stories. It makes your ideas relatable and memorable.

Picture of Adrian Volenik

Adrian Volenik

Adrian has years of experience in the field of personal development and building wealth. Both physical and spiritual. He has a deep understanding of the human mind and a passion for helping people enhance their lives. Adrian loves to share practical tips and insights that can help readers achieve their personal and professional goals. He has lived in several European countries and has now settled in Portugal with his family. When he’s not writing, he enjoys going to the beach, hiking, drinking sangria, and spending time with his wife and son.

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