10 Words That Make You Sound Unprofessional

There are many phrases that you’ve used or heard some other person use that immediately aroused laughter in the office. This is a common occurrence, especially if you fail to comprehend the difference between these almost-similar phrases. While there is no harm in misinterpreting such words, they might lead to a display of unprofessionalism in the office. Using some of these ten commonly misused workplace phrases make you look less professional:

1. I could care less and I couldn’t care less

In a professional setting, the confusion these two words can indicate unprofessionalism. The former, illustrates you do care, but with a lesser intensity. When you couldn’t care less, the subject is of no importance to you.

2. Regardless and irregardless

Irregardless has found its way to the dictionaries, but using it in a professional environment is still improper. The dictionary infuses words to keep up-to-date with the always-evolving English language. In the workplace, using regardless is more appropriate.

3. Jive with and jibe with

These two words project near-similar meanings, but jibe with is more suitable in an office. When you nod your head or tap your feet to a beat or vocal, you are probably in jive with the rhythm.

4. Nip in the bud and nip in the butt

Since flower petals bloom in the buds, nipping its bud stops their development. This is where the phrase nip in the bud got its meaning. In the office, it means to cut a problem or situation at the source.

5. On accident and by accident

When you trip, it can be by accident. However, if you trip due to a subsequent action, then on accident is most suitable. While in the workplace, choose the phrase that perfectly fits the situation to avoid appearing less professional.

6. For all intent and purposes vs. for all intensive purposes

It is still appropriate to use thorough, vigorous, or in this case, an “intensive” subject matter while in the office. Nonetheless, the conventional phrase is for all intent and purposes, meaning the relevant topic should serve a wider audience.

7. Flush this out and flesh this out

When the team is fleshing out an idea, it means they are in the process of adding layers and dimensions to complete the development. If they are flushing out an idea, they are looking for reasons that made it fail.

8. Sneak peek and sneak peek

In your place of work, these particular phrases can appear to have similar meanings. Sneak peek is suitable to use while in the office. In the office, a peek refers to a glimpse of a project or data before it is officially released.

9. Should of and should have

The common cause of confusion between these two phrases results from the latter’s contraction. Should’ve, a combination of should and have, sounds almost the same as should of. The appropriate word to use in the workplace remains should have.

10. Down the pike and down the pipe

Can you guess the correct phrase? If you chose the first, you are right. In the workplace, confusing these two words, even for a minute, can depict a less professional character.


To appear more professional in your workplace, you need to be considerate of the words you use. Make sure you mean what you say, and the most effective way to do this is to use words you understand their meaning. Since many phrases depict near-similar meanings, you need to be extra vigilant to pass your message effectively.