Commonly Misused Words and Phrases

10 Commonly Misused Words and Phrases

Commonly Misused Words and Phrases

We live in an age where grammar mistakes and slang words are everywhere. Help yourself (or someone else) out by learning the correct way to speak or write these 10 commonly misused words and phrases in the English language.

1. I couldn't care less.

Incorrect: "I could care less about what your friend did."

Correct: "I couldn't care less about what your friend did."

Explanation: If you say "I could care less", it means that you CAN care less. The correct use is to say "I couldn't care less", meaning you have no more 'care' left to give!

2. Take for granted.

Incorrect: "Don't take me for granite."

Correct: "Don't take me for granted."

Explanation: If someone says "don't take me for granite", you could laugh and say something along the lines of "Why? Did you turn into a big slab of granite recently?" Granite is a type of rock. "Granted" is the correct use.

3. Should've/would've/could've.

Incorrect: "I should of gone to the grocery store." - "I would of gone to the grocery store." - "I could of gone to the grocery store."

Correct: "I should've gone to the grocery store." - "I would've gone to the grocery store." - "I could've gone to the grocery store."

Explanation: Many people write the word "of" in place of the ending conjunction 've. Should of, would of, and could of are never correct. Should've, would've, and could've are the correct words. They stand for "should have", "would have", and "could have".

4. For all intents and purposes.

Incorrect: "For all intensive purposes, New Year's Eve is the same thing as December 31st."

Correct: "For all intents and purposes, New Year's Eve is the same thing as December 31st."

Explanation: "For all intents and purposes" is the correct phrase. It means for practical purposes. If you say "for all intensive purposes", you're saying your purpose is intense.

5. Hunger pangs.

Incorrect: "This diet I'm on is giving me hunger pains."

Correct: "This diet I'm on is giving me hunger pangs."

Explanation: Although you may feel pain in your abdominal region from hunger, "hunger pains" is not the correct way to say it. "Hunger pangs" are sudden strong feelings of hunger.

6. Supposed to/used to.

Incorrect: "I am suppose to do the dishes after dinner." - "I use to own that car."

Correct: "I am supposed to do the dishes after dinner." - "I used to own that car."

Explanation: Whenever you are saying "supposed to" or "used to", you always have to add the d to the end - don't forget it! "Suppose to" and "use to" are not grammatically correct.

7. Bear with me.

Incorrect: "This is my first presentation, so please bare with me."

Correct: "This is my first presentation, so please bear with me."

Explanation: The correct verb to use here is "bear", not "bare". If you say "bare with me", you're essentially asking others to undress with you. And, although that may be your intention in some cases, the correct use is to say "bear with me" which means to have patience with you.

8. Moot point.

Incorrect: "We wanted to find a babysitter, but the game was canceled so it's a mute point."

Correct: "We wanted to find a babysitter, but the game was canceled so it's a moot point."

Explanation: How can a point be "mute"? A silent point doesn't make sense. "Moot" means that is has no importance or is merely hypothetical.

9. Regardless.

Incorrect: "Irregardless, I'm still going to be able to finish my assignment by tonight."

Correct: "Regardless, I'm still going to be able to finish my assignment by tonight."

Explanation: "Irregardless" isn't really a word. Yes, it has been added to some dictionaries but has been labeled as "nonstandard" which basically means the word is in heavy use but isn't really a word. "Regardless" is the correct word to use. "Regardless" means "without regard", but when you add "ir" to the beginning you're negating it, so you're saying "without without regard", which just doesn't make sense.

10. Lose/losing.

Incorrect: "We are loosing the game right now, 14-7."

Correct: "We are losing the game right now, 14-7."

Explanation: "Loose" means not tight. It is not the same as "lose". If you're talking about not winning, it is always only one 'o', never two. "We always loose" sounds like you're speaking broken English saying that you're never tight.

There you have it... 10 commonly misused words and phrases in the English language! Also, if you need a good laugh that covers some of these, watch Weird Al's "Word Crimes" video below. Enjoy!

How about you? Which words or phrases are misused that drive you crazy? Leave a comment!

Comments 3

  1. When trying to define anything, it’s usually pretty prudent to start with a dictionary definition and then discuss what it means and how ironic situations generally follow the so-called official rules.
    The one of the most misused words is irony, I think.
    Definitions of irony by dictionary:
    – Witty language used to convey insults or scorn; ” he used sarcasm to upset his opponent”; ” irony is wasted on the stupid”
    – Language intended to mean the opposite of what is said; covert sarcasm.
    – Sarcasm; a mode of speech meaning the opposite of what is said; as, to cry like a baby- that’s a fine way for a man to act, said he with keen irony.
    An explanation that just barely captures the true feeling and definition of irony. The definitions taken from the dictionary (I use http://www.dictionary.net/), as you can see, are confusing – and that’s not what a definition is supposed to be! The first two explanations from the first set of definitions above, appear to be actually a mixture of sarcasm and tragic irony. The second set of definitions seems to have been added to balance what irony actually is, with what it is most often mistaken for. You see? Not necessarily very helpful.
    You see? Not necessarily very helpful.
    It’s also not necessarily anyone’s fault that it is difficult to pin down an accurate “cover all” definition – it is instead due to two “problems” regarding the evolution of language:
    – Language evolves naturally
    – Language evolves through misuse
    Regarding the first in the list: words actually take on many literary and completely genuine forms. With so many different definitions, it is understandable that a “cover all” definition does not exist, and also that the dictionary’s definition contains so many variations of meaning.

  2. Hi
    I mistakenly said a friend that bare with me instead of bear with me while chatting..
    How should I clear this or what should I do in this case?
    Please suggest me something..☹️

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