Slice of Life: Just a Word

Last Saturday night we sat outside, under heaters, eating dinner. Talking.

We had an entire conversation about a word.

“The word ‘just’ needs to be eliminated from our language,” my husband proclaimed. “It minimizes what matters and excuses behavior.”

I knew what he meant. He was thinking of all the ways people use the word to lessen their presence, to elude detection.


  • I just forgot.
  • It’s just 20 copies.
  • I’ll be just a minute.

I’ve been thinking about this.

Just can hide. Muffle meaning. Out of subterfuge, embarrassment, or modesty, just can minimize a message.  We have to be careful.

There is a place for just. There are times for its subtlety. Just can soften. Downgrade tension, diminish anxiety. “It’s just to see what we need to work on.” Just can open up a conversation. “I just called to say…” Make a definitive order more palatable. Think of how far “Just do it!” took non-athletes. And what would we do without “This is Just to Say.” 

I’m for noticing. For being alert. For care and understanding of words, for just the right moment.


Thank you to Two Writing Teachers for Slice of Life Tuesdays. Read more slices here.