11/10/2009 12:02 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

That "Thing" You Don't

Thing thing thing thing. Things. Thingamabobber. Thingamajig. Thingery. Thingy thing.

Possessing sophisticated skills of communicating is elementary when you want people to notice you. Your spoken words have to convey a level of "wordmanship" that inspires confidence in your abilities. Real use of language means ridding yourself of all the flotsam and jetsam in your vocabulary when you are communicating seriously.

If fried chicken is comfort food, then let's call thing the ultimate comfort word. It is readily available, always dependable, but often not very good or appropriate. In English, overusing "thing" is common, however, and also a bit lazy. You owe it to yourself to search your brain for a few seconds to find a non-placeholder! When you think about it, "thing" doesn't have any real meaning. It is the ultimate linguistic crap.

Some examples:

"Hand me that thing over there." My house has a lot of things. Small things, large things, medium things. If you need me to hand you something, you should try to be a bit more descriptive. Remember, any sense of your own personal fame is about being always on-message. When there is no message, you can imagine it's extremely difficult to do this.

"The thingy is loose." Right, I understand that the name of the gasket cover is on the tip of your tongue, but it just isn't coming to you. In a few seconds, though, when someone asks what you meant, you are going to have to find a way to describe it anyway. Just go for the gold on the first try. Can't come up with the specific noun? Try describing it. I'll bet that the listener will be able to figure out what you are trying to say!

You don't need to completely eradicate "thing" from your vocabulary. Our language in 2010 America isn't set up for it. One day, though, consciously make the decision to not say THING once in a single week. You'll be quite surprised about how often you settle for it.

Try it. Billions of underused nouns will thank you. You will sound a teeny bit more sophisticated to your newly-educated peers.

Find me online at badpitchblog.