Dear Someone Else’s Dad,
At my company my bosses always use the phrase “de minimis,” which I had to look up, and now know that it means a trivial or insignificant amount. Everything is “De minimis damage after the storm ” or “De minimis response to our survey,” etc. Just recently a couple of people at my level started using the phrase whenever our bosses are there. It feels like they’re just sucking up to show they’re one of the good guys. Do I have say “de minimis” too (which sounds SO PHONY to me), or can I just say “not much,” “small amount,” or “virtually no change,” which seem more natural?
A Little Bit Peeved
Yes, you can say whatever is most comfortable for you. I guarantee there will be de min-, uh, hardly any effect.