Every so often I think a bit about a word. Sometimes it’s because I’m typing it so much it starts to look a little funny, the shape of the letters even seem a little odd and I see the word in a new light.

Earlier this year, my son saw a sign at a McDonalds store which said “The Kiwi Legend is Back!” He read it aloud as “The Kiwi Leg End is Back!”

It was a funny moment for us because for those of you who are not familiar, the word Kiwi has a different meaning in New Zealand than in the US. Here, it can refer to New Zealanders or our national bird (which is protected). We call the fruit (helpfully), kiwifruit.

When he said that, we envisaged the kiwi (bird) leg being available on the menu at McDonalds! My son got to learn how to pronounce a new word that day.

Last year, I thought a lot about the word “busy”. You might like to read my post on my reasoning behind trying to remove it from my vocabulary.

More recently, I’ve been thinking about the word “just”. I’ve made a conscious effort to remove it from my written communications. There’s something about that word which doesn’t seem necessary and can be subtly or even overtly negative.

Here’s some examples:

“I’ve got just a few more changes for you to make…”
“Just one more thing…”
“It’ll take just a few minutes…”
“Just wondering…”

Often the things which are “just” aren’t such small things to do after all, and there’s almost a judgment that if the job doesn’t take you a short amount of time to do, then you aren’t good at your job. That’s not helpful for anyone!

I tweeted about this and a friend asked if I’d been watching Finding Neverland (I hadn’t) as there’s a discussion in there about how it was a really negative word.

What do you think of the word just, especially in a work context? Is there a useful place for the word?

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