There are heaps of words worth removing from your writing, but one that many of us say too often out loud is “actually”. As Buffer employee Carolyn Kopprasch points out, saying “actually” tends to make people feel stupid.
“Actually” is one of those words we tend to hedge into a phrase that mitigates the sentence as a whole. Kopprasch explains:
It almost doesn’t matter how good the news is; if it comes after “actually,” I feel like I was somehow wrong about something.
Consider these two sentences:
Actually, you can do this under “Settings.”
Sure thing, you can do this under “Settings!” 🙂
…Bottom line is, if customers takes time out of their lives to ask us a question, thus teaching us about areas of confusion in our app, we’d love if they never have any occasion to feel stupid, or wrong, or corrected.
It’s the same with backhanded compliments. “Actually” is just one of those words that changes the meaning of a sentence in subtle, usually condescending ways.