My least favorite phrase

I’ve decided on my least favorite phrase in the English language:

“Can’t you just…?”

Why is this my least favorite phrase? Because:

  1. It’s always in conjunction with a task that the questioner does not understand, but assumes should not be difficult at all;
  2. it is inherently second-guessing the person being asked, which is insulting;
  3. and, rather than asking if something is possible, as in “Can you?” or “Could you?”, the speaker is really saying, “This must be possible, and if you can’t do it, you’re an idiot.”

If you don’t understand how the system works, or what is involved with doing a task, please, ask if something is possible. Don’t demean the craftsman or browbeat them into doing whatever it is you want. A resentful craftsman is not on your side, and will not go out of his/her way to help you.