So let me start by saying I had a lot of fun writing this post. After looking up all the terms below, I realized how silly I probably looked to all my former colleagues and classmates. It really gave me a great laugh! How many of these words and phrases have you confused recently? Personally, I’ve screwed up about nine of these.
1) Based on
Anything you do is always based on something. You never base anything off of something. Think about it. You put items on a base, not off of it.
2) Couldn’t care less
Saying “I could care less” means exactly that: you could care less. But when you want to emphasize exactly how little you care about something, you would say, “I couldn’t care less” to show that person that there’s absolutely nothing in the world that could make you care less than you already do. Got it?
3) Discrete vs. discreet
This one can get confusing if you’re not careful. Discrete means individually separate and distinct. As in, “discrete units of sound.” Discreet means subtle or inconspicuous. As in, “the teenager discreetly left her house after curfew.”
4) Flier vs. flyer
Many people use “flyer” for all references when what they really mean to use is “flier.” Technically, a flier is a handout or a brochure, while flyer is typically only used in specific names (like the Washington Flyer).
5) For all intents and purposes
This phrase means “in every practical sense.” For all intensive purposes is incorrect.
6) Lo and behold
Not low and behold. I never knew this until today, but the literal meaning of this expression is “look and see,” and it’s used to suggest a surprising, but predictable situation.
7) Peak vs. pique
Peak means the greatest or maximum of something, such as the peak of a mountain. Pique means to stimulate interest and curiosity or feel irritated and resentful, as in “you’ve piqued my interest.”
8) Phase vs. faze
A phase is a stage, era or period of time. Faze means to disturb or unsettle someone, as in “your intimidation tactics do not faze me.”
Pronunciation is a noun. You pronounce (verb) and mispronounce (verb) words. However, pronounciation is incorrect.
NEVER irregardless. Just please don’t.
How many of you out there have said reprocussions? That would be incorrect. It’s pronounced ree-per-CUH-shun.
12) Should’ve, would’ve and kind of
Should’ve meaning “should have,” would’ve meaning “would have” but kind’ve is incorrect because “kind have” does not make sense. Kinda is also incorrect. The proper term is kind of.
13) Spitting image vs. spit and image
Most of us grew up hearing “spitting image” when the original expression is “spit and image.” According to Grammarist.com:
The original phrase was spit and image, inspired by the Biblical God‘s use of spit and mud to create Adam in his image. But spitting image has been far more common than spit and image for over a century.
While there are still few writers that use the original expression, Grammarist says that trying to keep the traditional expression is a lost cause. Even though the traditional expression makes more sense, it can be distracting to most readers of this time.
14) Statute of limitations
Many people don’t realize that they’re pronouncing this as “statue of limitations.” Just remember that statues have nothing to do with the legal system.
15) This day and age
I ALMOST made this mistake in my last post, Declaring independence from the workplace. In my post, I wrote a sentence that said: “In this day and age, it’s incredibly too easy to stay connected to your workplace 24/7.”
Luckily, it’s a habit of mine to look up expressions that I haven’t used in my blog posts before, just to be sure I’m typing them correctly. And lo and behold (see what I did there?), I discovered “this day in age” is incorrect.
Let me know in the comment section below if you have any other commonly misused words. Thanks for reading!