Just.

I hate the word “just.” Truly, I’ve come to despise this word. It just drives me crazy!

Dictionary.com defines “just” in forms of adjective, adverb and noun. The adverb form is defined in part as:

  • No more than; merely; only: just an ordinary car
  • Exactly; precisely: that’s just what I mean
  • (intensifier): it’s just wonderful to see you

While I see it’s purpose in a literal sense as defined here, a new use has taken root in our language. Rather than just an intensifier, it has become a destroyer. At best it weakens our ability to communicate clearly; at worst it weakens the person or people involved in that communication.

I hate the word “just.” It minimizes everything about ourselves, devalues other people and destroys the power of beautiful moments. If you think I’m exaggerating here’s a few examples:

It’s just sex.
I just work at Starbucks.
I just had one drink.
I’m just looking.
It’s just business.
I just can’t help myself.
I’m just tired.
It’s just a word.

The irony with “just” is the word in it’s adjective form describes something beautiful and potent. It is correct, accurate, true, honest, fair and impartial, conforming to high moral standards. That is not the “just” we know.

I must stop and listen to myself; my conversations. I’m amazed how often “just” slips past my lips; out to weaken the very idea I’m hoping to communicate. It shrouds me in a black cocoon of ambiguity, diminishing everything I say.

Do you use the word just? Have you seen “just” used to weaken or destroy? How can we rid ourselves of its use?

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