Right? Wrong.

Yesterday I heard an interview with a talented song-writer on NPR radio and I found myself wincing a few times as I noticed both the interviewer and interviewee were peppering their dialogue with the word, “Right?” As if asking the other “You know what I mean?” I don’t mean to pick on either of them, as I am not a perfect speaker or writer myself. I make my share of mistakes and have communication crutches that I am not proud of, just like everyone else. So, it is with empathy that I bring this up.

I hear these all the time in conversation: “Right?” “Like” and “Um” (still a crowd favorite after many years) and it is concerning to me.

It was not so long ago that we became infected with the word LIKE. We identified “Valley Girls” in Southern CA as patient zero of this epidemic that quickly spread across the nation, to grown women and men, like a virus.

The infectious disease today seems to be “Right?” I am hearing it more and more in business conversations and, also, in business presentations. It is distracting and unnecessary. And there seems to be little awareness of the quantity of its use.

I am a big fan of Urban Dictionary, WordSpy, Slangsite and others who have turned an interested ear to current, cultural chatter and teased out the new words and phrases that are popping up daily. Vocabulary should and must evolve. We had no established words or definitions, for instance, for all the technology of the past decade. Those words have been fun, colorful and necessary and using them connects us all to the new conversation. But this thing with “Right?”, while definitely reflecting a cultural tick, is not the same thing.

It is not fun. Shoes are fun.