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Canadians are known for their apologies. We say sorry literally all of the time, even when someone bumps into us. In fact, we say it so much, that Ontario passed something called the “Apology Act” in 2009 that only exists to legally define terms like “sorry”, so that they aren’t mistakenly perceived to be an admission of guilt.

Even though the word is a delightful addition to our overly-polite culture, it turns out using apologetic words in professional correspondence can undermine our message and actually be damaging. At least, that’s according to the makers of the “Just Not Sorry” app, which warns you when you use self-demeaning words that can weaken your overall message.

These words include terms like “sorry”, “just”, “I’m no expert” and “actually”. Just like in Microsoft Word, if you use any of those terms, they will be underlined in red. If you hover your mouse over the word that’s been highlighted, it will provide an explanation for why it’s not the best word to use. In the case of “sorry”, for example:

“Using ‘sorry’ frequently undermines your gravitas and makes you appear unfit for leadership,” the app will explain. As for the word “just”, the problem there is that it “demeans what you have to say. ‘Just’ shrinks your power.”

In a culture obsessed with being polite, this could add an assertive, professional edge to the emails of many Canadians. Who knows, it might even get you that promotion you always wanted.

You can download the app right here.

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