“I’m an Artist/Writer/Dancer”

No, you’re not. Even if you are, you aren’t defined by the verb you just made into the noun. You’re many different things, and to call yourself by the action that, chances are, you’ve only been doing for a few years sells yourself short. Plus, it sounds obnoxious. When has anyone ever said that they like someone’s work, but it’s a shame they were more self-impressed. So you aren’t a writer or a dancer or an actor.

You are a person who does those things. Small distinction, but a real one. You’re not a rapper, Dwayne. You’re a guy who raps. And stop rapping, Dwayne. “Slaughtermellon” is a bad rap name.

“I Heard That He…”

Gossip served an important part in human evolution. Way back in the caveman era, it was crucial to spread information about peoples and groups the listener might not have previously encountered, but might in the future. It also was used to talk about who looked fat in that leopard skin.

Now though, we aren’t cave-men. We don’t have to worry about roving bands of marauders (usually).Gossip is now the equivalent of well…gossip. And even if it used to serve a purpose then, it doesn’t know. Except it makes you look kind of like a tool talking about how the other guy is kind of like a tool.

“I Think Racism is Bad”

This phrase is said in many varieties but it always follows the same framework. I have a “rebellious” opinion that in actuality is completely common: Racism is bad, peace is good, and shooting kids in the street should, as a rule, be frowned upon. In the culture, especially the college culture, these are the prevailing norms. And that’s fine; they should be. Racism is bad, and peace is good. But when you say these things like you’re a cool 1990s skateboarding rebel against authority you just sound out of place.

“I Drank So Much Last Night!”

The only boast that can double as a plea for help, “I drank so much” should be cut from your vocabulary. There are many cool things you can do in a night that involve drinking or not drinking: the U.N. delegate you made out with, the rap-battle you and Dwayne had with the Argentinian gang member, and the trip you took to the hospital after that guy stabbed Dwayne.

All these are things worth saying, and they could be done drunk or sober. Talking about how much you drank is like talking about how many miles you drove: if it got you on your adventure, tell your adventure. No one is impressed by how much fuel it took if all you got was Taco Bell later.

“What’s Going On?”

This is the question of our generation. Of every generation. What’s going on, we want to know? Where are the parties, the ladies, the hospitals that won’t ask too many questions? The problem is this phrase is too passive. It’s something texted to seven half-made friends at 8:48 on a Friday night, or something sent to pals when dying of boredom on a Sunday.

It’s a problem because it’s weaker than it should be. It’s a question and a plea when it should be a demand. So instead of asking “What’s going on?” there’s something better you should say. “Let’s do something.”