"A Guide to Architects' Filler Words" [→ published here.]
“Basically”: This person does not believe a word she is saying. She thought she did a few months ago—she thought she did when she started this sentence—but no longer. Her last resort is the pause-and-pivot: “…Basically, it’s the complete opposite of what I just said.”
“So to speak”: This person believes every word she is saying, she’s just tossing this one out to make herself seem more relatable. She speaks with the grace and poise of Amanda Gorman. Not only that, she “ejects” her USB sticks instead of just ripping them out of the computer. She meal preps on Sundays and maintains an industrial-grade humidifier to support her 52 house plants.
“Maybe”: No one cares about you more than this person. She values your opinion. She genuinely wants to know what you think. She calls herself an artist before an architect and it’s not even pretentious.
“Kind of”: This indicates nothing but contempt. This person actively wishes that your internet will cut out right before your Zoom crit. She has never post-rationalized because her process is just that successful—she loves to use the word successful. She also never followed you back on Instagram.
“Sort of”: Similar to “kind of,” but uttered at double the speed with double the aggression.
“-ish”: This person selected a bold adjective and promptly lost her nerve. She finds herself falling down a rabbit hole of word vomit where everything has a suffix and words have lost all meaning.
“I suppose”: This person knows the difference between type and typology without telling you she knows the difference. Keep nodding like you didn’t notice her hint of a fake British accent on “sup-po-se” or she may start frantically referencing Quatremère de Quincy.
“Quote unquote”: Are air quotes an invisibility cloak we can’t see jargon through? No, no they are not.
“Actually”: Everything this person said up to this point was false.
“Right?”: This implies that the speaker has mastered the art of hypnosis and has everyone nodding at every word she says.
“Or something”: This person arrived at the end of her intelligent, clear, poetic sentence and then acted upon a sudden flare-up of the Freudian death-drive.
“If that makes sense”: It does not.