Say What You Mean – And Whatnot


A prior briefing discussed “Junk Words and Phrases” and how you should focus on eliminating them from your vocabulary and from all customer communications. Remember that Junk Words and Phrases are just extra words that creep into our language, but they provide no context or meaning. Without them, your verbal communication will just sound clearer and more professional.


Here’s another one for you: “And whatnot” is a junk phrase that has crept into the business world from more informal social conversations. For example: 


“We can stop at this café. They serve great coffee, bagels, biscotti… and whatnot”.


In the business world, this is occasionally used when specifying multiple items, such as: 


“This new capability will improve your on-time deliveries, your service rating, your customer satisfaction, and whatnot.”


Unfortunately, this meaningless sentence finisher is redundant punctuation and serves absolutely no purpose. 


It signals a thought that has run out of steam. 


Instead: Eliminate this altogether and stop at the normal

sentence punctuation.


When interacting with customers, ending your sentences with “… and whatnot” makes you sound unprofessional and unsure of yourself. If you use “and whatnot” repeatedly to finish sentences, your audience will quickly become annoyed. If you are speaking with customer executives, your usage of “and whatnot” will signal to the executives that you are inexperienced and they might not pay attention to what you have to say and might not take you seriously. 


Next time you are tempted to finish a sentence with “and whatnot”, remember that it’s a Junk Phrase that should be stricken from your vocabulary… except maybe when you are scanning a menu at a café. 


I’m DJ Sebastian. To learn more about what it takes to Become a Great Communicator, visit my website at