What do you think? Do you use any of the above expressions? Please don’t tell me you don’t use these phrases until you really know that is accurate. Years ago, I found out I was using gonna, and didn’t realize it until someone pointed it out to me.
A participant in a recent communication seminar told me about her experience in another training session, where the instructor used the phrase “All’s you gotta do.” After she heard that phrase, she stopped listening.
In the above example, the instructor’s use of language detracted from his message. It may not be fair, but people often judge others on the quality of their diction. They may make negative assumptions about someone’s intelligence or education, based on that person’s word choice.
We may pick up the use of these nonstandard words from their use in marketing or creative fields. Think about the song I Gotta Feeling from the Black Eyed Peas, and its well-known line: I gotta feeling that tonight’s gonna be a good night. Though I like the song, I would not encourage the use of gotta and gonna when speaking to others.
Recently I heard the following phrases used in business:
· Are youse finished with the project? Use just you. The word you is both singular and plural in the English language.
· Didya get to the meeting on time? Use did you.
· All’s you gotta do. According to an article in the New York Times, all’s started off as a contraction of all as, but it is generally considered a substandard word today. Instead of all’s, use all, and instead of gotta, use have to.
· I'm gonna get it for you. Use I’m going to or I am going to.
Start monitoring yourself and find out about your use of language. You can use your voicemail system to listen to your messages before you send them, to gain awareness of your diction. Let me know what you discover.
Previous blogs also discuss language: Do You Belittle Yourself? Three Things Not To Say in a Presentation and Word Choice Etiquette: I Think You Should Avoid "I Think."
Pachter’s communication seminars and coaching sessions also empower professionals to use language to their advantage. Contact Joyce Hoff at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.