So – what are the most OFFENSIVE phrases in the English language? Meryl Runion is a communications expert and CEO of SpeakStrong, a company that surveyed thousands of people to find out. She says from the boardroom to the family room, there are words that drive people crazy and can put a real strain on relationships. For example:

  • “I don’t care.” People often say this when asked for an opinion, but when someone really wants your opinion or wants to work together toward a solution, that phrase is really frustrating. It also makes the person on the receiving end feel as if the situation isn’t important enough for you to care about.
  • Another offensive phrase: “If you say so.” This phrase is sarcasm in the form of insincere agreement. “If you say so” doesn’t mean that what’s being said is true – only that it’s being said. What the person is really saying is, “I’ll go along with what you’re saying, but my heart’s not in it and I don’t totally believe you.”
  • Poison phrase #3: “Whatever”. It’s a modern version of “If you say so” and it’s a popular term among young people when they want to blow someone off. It is a sarcastic expression intended to communicate “I don’t agree with you, but I’m going to say this to shut the conversation down.”
  • Then there’s: “What’s your problem?” This phrase insinuates that someone must have a problem that causes them to think, feel or act the way they do. It’s totally passive-aggressive. On the surface it expresses concern, but the intent is usually spiteful, suggesting that someone should just “get over” what’s bothering them.
  • The top offensive phrase: “Shut up.” Simply put - It’s a harsh way to silence someone, and it conveys extreme disrespect.