2 Ways to Never Start A Sentence

There are certain words and phrases that you and I say that put us in a place to say nothing but something negative. The little conversation movers transition our conversations from innocent talk to something negative about someone else. It happens quickly. They are short statements, but can do great damage if we allow them to be a part of our regular vocabulary…

“Those people…”

I’ve can’t remember a time I’ve heard positive words after the beginning of this sentence. As soon as we begin this sentence, we immediately place ourselves on a pedestal above whoever “those” are. This phrase quickly moves us to a point in the conversation where we’re not to blame, but can easily point the blame. Unless you’re talking about how much you love “those people,” don’t’ start a sentence this way. “Those people” aren’t around to defend themselves. They may never know you talked about them, but their reputation is already tainted because you or I chose to talk about them.

“Don’t repeat this, but…”

You see, if someone told you something in private, you shouldn’t say it. I’ve heard so much of this lately. Don’t start a sentence this way. The reason we often do is because it means we have some kind of knowledge that we’re proud of and want to pass along. Beginning a sentence with “Don’t repeat this, but” makes us feel better that we repeated it. After all, we’re telling them to keep it quiet, right? Wrong. If we can’t keep our mouths shut, we should probably avoid hearing sentences that begin with, “I don’t want anyone else to know this, but..”

OK, add to the list. What other phrases should we never include at the beginning of a sentence?


  1. Anne Carter

    Excellent piece on a very needed topic; thank you! Two more to add might be:
    – “You are always ____” followed by an action you don’t want and
    – “You never _____” followed by an action you expect..
    These are rarely accurate and have a condemning tone, sending the conversation downhill on a path of destroying intended results. A better alternative is to own your feelings about the situation and limit the comment to specific incidents by saying:
    “When you _________, I feel _______”, or
    “When you don’t _________, I feel _______”This method offers perspective, promotes restoration and has redemptive value.


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