There is always a girl, or a group of girls, in class that says 'like' and 'you know' five times every sentence. It is, like, so annoying, you know?
But, according to a recent survey, neither of those phrases is the most annoying. The most annoying is 'whatever'.
Marist College's Marist Institute for Public Opinion found that, for 47 per cent of 938 respondents in the United States, 'whatever' is the most annoying word or phrase in conversation, especially in Midwest America, where 55 per cent picked it as the most annoying. This word is more likely to irritate the average American than the words 'you know', which 25 per cent of Americans voted the most annoying.
Eleven per cent would like to ban 'It is what it is' from conversation, while 8 per cent cannot stand 'anyway' and 2 per cent hate 'at the end of the day'.
'Perhaps,' said Director of Interactive Media Systems Mary Azzoli in an e-mail, 'the key takeaways for communicationalists is to be aware, when they travel, that words they might find completely acceptable in conversation may be irritating or insulting to others'.
So, for Americans here - and Young Post readers of course - we carried out a survey of our own to determine what Hong Kong's most disliked words and expressions were.
The poll, in which 91 students from Renaissance College, YMCA of Hong Kong Christian College and King George V School participated, reveals that words and phrases like 'whatever', 'you know', 'it is what it is', 'anyway', or 'at the end of the day' are not the most annoying for local teenagers.
What annoys young Hongkongers most are words and phrases like, well, 'like', 'yeah', 'I don't know', 'I know right', 'epic', 'totally' and spoken instant messaging language such as 'OMG'.
Jones Chan, 15, from King George V School, says: 'The most annoying word is 'like' because everyone uses it over and over again in speech, and it's terrible.'
But, overall, young Hongkongers concurred with Americans on 'whatever', with 41.8 per cent voting it the most annoying word.
Herald Pedragosa, 14, from YMCA of Hong Kong Christian College, thinks otherwise, however. 'It's really annoying when people say, 'It is what it is',' he says. 'It's as if they are trying to seem professional. There's no need for that in a casual conversation.'
Michelle Ho, 14, of Renaissance College, says the solution to annoying repetitions of words is to 'formulate your ideas in your brain' before speaking up. She also adds that, to avoid using irritating words during a speech, the speaker should try to relax.
Good advice. It can help to kick back and relax with Young Post to take the pressure off, like, you know, when you have to give a big speech ... or whatever.
Samantha is a Young Post Cub
Reporter from Renaissance College