10 words classy people never use (so you shouldn’t, either)

What makes a person classy?

Well, it’s quite arbitrary, but in general, being classy is a way of life. It means being polite, respectful, and most of all, it means treating the people around you, even strangers, with utmost kindness and respect.

Usually, we discern classy people from the clothes they wear, their manners, or maybe how well they have a grasp of social etiquette, but classy people also have a distinct vocabulary.

That said, what are the words classy people never use?

If you’re interested in becoming a classy person yourself, read more to learn the 10 words classy people never use—that you shouldn’t, either!

1. Filler words

Filler words are those words that we use to fall back on when we don’t know what to say. These are words such as “um,” “uh,” “like,” or “so.”

Why are filler words considered not classy?

This is because when you use filler words, it makes you seem inarticulate. When you use them too much, it will always make you look like you’re fumbling with your words instead of simply knowing what to say and when to say it.

Classy people never use filler words because they are well-spoken. They don’t need to use filler words as conversation safety nets, because they almost always know what to say.

Wondering how they’re so eloquent? Well, practice.

In order to become a well-spoken, classy person yourself, try to practice speaking your thoughts without using filler words. It’s true that practice makes perfect, so you can try practicing on your own or with friends first before applying this in real-life situations!

Similarly, classy people never, ever curse, either.

2. Swear words

The average person probably swears at least once a day, and that’s what sets classy people apart—they rarely ever, if not never, use profanity. Perhaps they do once or twice in private, with a few close friends, but generally, in a public setting, classy people never curse.

Cursing once or twice when you’re frustrated or surprised does not automatically mean you’re discourteous. What makes a person seem ill-mannered is when they swear too frequently.

This is because swearing is generally perceived as rude or gauche.

For classy people, throwing around the f-word carelessly is not necessary, regardless of the emotion or the situation. As people who are very well-spoken, they know there’s better ways to express one’s emotions without having to resort to profanity.

You know what else is rude, uncouth, and blatantly disrespectful for classy people? Using slurs.

3. Slurs

This one’s a no-brainer. Classy people will never, ever get caught using a slur to refer to a marginalized person.

Whether it’s the n-word or the f-word, a classy person will never be caught red-handed uttering these words. Someone who uses slurs does not only lack class, but is also racist and discriminatory.

This is because classy people acknowledge the history behind these words. They know that they have not experienced the struggles of the people these words insult, and why it’s not appropriate to carelessly throw these words around.

People with class understand that these words have historically been used not just to insult but also to degrade other people’s marginalized identities, which is why they’re respectful enough not to use them.

On the same respectful note, classy people never make inappropriate sexual jokes, either.

4. Sexual Innuendos

Using inappropriate, sexual jokes in casual conversation is as inelegant as it can get. That’s why classy people never make sexual innuendos.

These are not necessarily words, but might also be everyday things, such as phallic shaped items—they don’t look at bananas and eggplants and give a suggestive glance, because it’s inappropriate. Similarly, they don’t listen to others say the word “moist” and instantly suggest something sexual.

Classy people want to be respected and highly regarded, and making inappropriate sexual jokes all the time doesn’t really make the person look respectable.

So if you want to become a more classy person, try not to make inappropriate sex jokes, especially if it’s not the right time and place.

5. Unnecessary adverbs

In our culture today, too many people are guilty of abusing adverbs. Every sentence is sprinkled with the words “basically,” “actually,” or literally.” It can be quite annoying for some, but especially so for classy people.

As we’ve already previously established, part and parcel of being classy is having a good vocabulary. Classy people never sprinkle unnecessary adverbs in their sentences, and only use them when it’s appropriate.

The word “literally” is probably the most abused out of all these words. It’s become so overused that it’s now often used incorrectly. For example, when people exaggerate about a particularly bad situation, they might say things like “I literally died,” or “they’re literally a monster,” even if it’s an obvious metaphor or hyperbole.

Classy people know this, which is why they try not to overuse the word like most people do. If you want to be classy as well, try to avoid using unnecessary adverbs in your sentences. Learning this will not only make you look classy, but also smart and eloquent.

Similarly, classy people don’t use exaggerating words when describing something.

6. Exaggerating words

“Oh my god, you’re absolutely gorgeous!”

“That’s totally adorable.”

“You make me so very happy!”

To a lot of people, at surface level, these expressions might appear normal. However, to a classy person, these expressions are gauche because of one thing—it’s exaggerated.

Classy people don’t exaggerate. They describe things as they are, even when they’re excited, because they don’t engage in drama.

The last one, especially, is the most peculiar because of the use of both “so” and “very” together. In comparison, simply saying “you make me so happy” or “you make me very happy” will sound a lot better.

If you want to appear more classy, try removing the unnecessary exaggerating words in your expressions. “You’re gorgeous” sounds infinitely more sophisticated than the previous example.

7. Softener words

People with an inferiority complex are often guilty of using softener words when they express a thought or an opinion.

Some softener words include “just,” “But I don’t know”, and “that’s just my opinion, though.”

I call these softener words because the person speaking them is usually afraid of coming off as rude and wants to be seen as polite as possible, so when they’re saying something that might be controversial, that might offend the other person, they use these words so as to “soften” the blow.

For example, they say “just a question,” instead of simply saying “question” when they want to ask something. In this case, the person is afraid of being perceived as someone who questions the authority of whomever they’re talking to.

Because classy people are also confident, they don’t use softener words in fear of being perceived as rude. They’re confident enough to start a conversation about things that might be debatable, of course, while remaining respectful at all times.

To become a classy person is to learn the difference between being polite and being a pushover. Classy people are always polite, but they never let others step over them.

8. Internet slang

When you’re chronically online, it can be hard not to adapt internet slang in your real-life vocabulary. But because classy people have a life outside of the internet, they’re either unfamiliar with internet slang or they don’t naturally adapt it in real life.

Instead of saying “sick” or “epic,” they simply say, “that’s marvelous” or “that’s magnificent!”

Instead of saying “legit,” “no cap,” or “for real,” they simply say “that’s true” or “I’m not lying.”

On the internet, saying these might make you look like you take yourself too seriously, but in real life, it will make you seem so much more sophisticated.

If you’d like to appear more classy, try to avoid using these words in real-life conversations. Better yet, try not to spend too much time on the internet. “Touch some grass,” as the average internet user would say.

9. Apologetic words

There’s a difference between knowing how to apologize and being apologetic. Classy people do know how to apologize, but they’re never apologetic.

This is why they are not apologetic when expressing a thought or an opinion, or when asking a question.

For example, they don’t preface their questions with “sorry, but…?” because they know that they don’t have to apologize for asking a simple question.

They know when to say sorry, when to apologize when they’ve hurt someone, but they don’t throw the word around when it’s not necessary.

So if you want to become a classy person, try to practice being unapologetic. Learn that it’s not rude to want to express your unique ideas and to ask questions when you want to get an answer.

In other words, don’t be apologetic for being someone who wants to take up space in our world.

10. Condescending remarks

Classy people are confident and smart, but they’re never condescending. Usually, people have trouble drawing the line between the two, but classy people know perfectly where their boundaries lie.

When someone expresses an idea that they know to be wrong, they don’t preface their response with “well, actually” or “obviously.” Instead, they politely and respectfully correct the other in a way that doesn’t insult them for being wrong.

This is because while classy people are usually smart, they’re also intelligent enough to know they’re not better than everyone. If they were wrong, being corrected respectfully is how they’d like to be treated, which is why they do this for other people.

If you want to become a classy person, don’t look down on other people whom you think you’re better than. Better yet, don’t automatically think you’re better than someone because they’re lacking a trait you know you have, or a skill you’re proficient in. Having a superiority complex is not classy—it’s just rude!

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Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the editor of Ideapod and founder of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 6 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. If you to want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Twitter or Facebook.

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