NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Whatever you think about using grating words, at the end of the day it's actually better not to say whatever, if you know what I mean.
For the second consecutive year "whatever' topped a Marist poll as the most annoying word or phrase in the English language.
Nearly 39 percent of 1,020 Americans questioned in the survey deemed it the most irritating word, followed by "like" with 28 percent and the phrase "you know what I mean' at 15 percent.
"Perhaps these words are introduced through popular culture, for example movies ... so they catch on," said Mary Azzoli, of Marist. "It has a lot to do with how accepted and how popular they become in every day speech."
Azzoli said words like "whatever" can be quite dismissive depending on how they are used.
"It's the way they are delivered and inherent in that delivery is a meaning.
The phrase "to tell you the truth" and "actually" were also unnerving to many people. But for younger Americans, aged 18 to 29, "like" was the word that annoyed them most.
Reporting by Bernard Orr; Editing by Patricia Reaney