Monthly Archives: May 2018

Six Verbs to Avoid at Work

Instructors: Download the exercise and its key at the end of this post.


What you say and how you say it matters in the workplace. The verbs below can make a speaker sound tentative or weak and should therefore be avoided.

Think               Makes the speaker sound unsure

Need               Infers dependence

Want               Connotes emotion rather than rationality

Guess              Suggests tentativeness or lack of commitment

Hope               Indicates a lack of control over the outcome

Suppose          Shows indifference and a lack of engagement


Change the verbs in the sentences below to show a more confident attitude.

  1. I think we should meet to discuss the allocation of duties to complete this detailed project.
  2. Although I’m working on this project alone, I need your input so I can complete the sales numbers.
  3. I want you to assess the potential benefits of this technology in a written report to me before we think about implementing the technology.
  4. I guess I could complete my portion by next Tuesday.
  5. I sure hope your team will be able to adjust the scale model.
  6. I suppose we could go to the site and check it one more time before we break ground.
  7. I think I could improve the website’s interface to make it more seamless and user friendly.
  8. I need to understand the analytic-driven solutions that will affect hiring.
  9. I want you to rewrite the social media strategy before employees have questions about connecting with customers on Twitter and Facebook.
  10. I guess we could put together a short workshop that helps employees understand the new benefits package.
  11. We hope to make employee referrals part of formal recruitment.
  12. Do you suppose you could complete that online training session by the end of the week?

Answer Key

  1. Let’s meet to discuss the allocation of duties to complete this detailed project.
  2. Although I’m working on this project alone, your input will help me complete the sales numbers.
  3. Please assess the potential benefits of this technology in a written report to me before we think about implementing it.
  4. Of course I can complete my portion by next Tuesday.
  5. It’s crucial to the success of this project for your team to adjust the scale model.
  6. We’ll go to the site and check it one more time before we break ground.
  7. I could improve the website’s interface to make it more seamless and user friendly.
  8. Your knowledge will help me understand the analytic-driven solutions that will affect hiring.
  9. Please rewrite the social media strategy before employees have questions about connecting with customers on Twitter and Facebook.
  10. We could put together a short workshop that helps employees understand the new benefits package.
  11. We will make employee referrals part of formal recruitment.
  12. Online training sessions must be completed by the end of the week.

Six Verbs to Avoid–Exercise

Six Verbs to Avoid at Work-Answer Key