devos from the hill

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The Most Annoying Word in the English Language

A devotional from Fred Carpenter…

It is the most annoying word in the English language,
but one of the most powerful in the Bible!

Every year, Marist College in New York conducts an opinion poll to determine what word or phrase Americans consider to be the most annoying*. For the past six years, “whatever” has topped the list.

Of course, inflection and context affect the meaning of “whatever”. But when this word is used as a holophrase (a single word sentence), the result is never edifying. It may be spoken in an argument to admit that you are wrong without admitting it, thus ending the argument. It may be said to convey and an attitude of indifference, apathy or disrespect. It is one sure way to kill a conversation, or perhaps escalate the tension in the room.

Use of the word, “whatever” can also be an indication of frustration. A person using this word may not see the value of being understood or understanding the other person. Or perhaps the path to achieve this goal just seems too difficult, if not impossible, or even painful. Communication is hard work!

In a culture where apathy, disrespect and the inability to communicate effectively and authentically is pervasive, it is easy to understand why the word “whatever” has become so commonplace. But what about a different context, one in which purpose, respect and meaningful communication are held as high values? Is there a higher purpose for this word? Continue reading