55 Everyday Sayings Everyone Gets Wrong

55 Everyday Sayings Everyone Gets Wrong

Positive, your grammar is likely to be impeccable, and also you would possibly even be capable to spell troublesome phrases like liaison and supersede with out wanting them up, however likelihood is there are nonetheless some generally misused phrases you are guilting of messing up from time to time. From describing a certified particular person as a “shoe-in” candidate to telling somebody that you just “might care much less,” listed here are X of probably the most generally misused phrases which may have simply slipped underneath your radar.

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55 Generally Misused Phrases

1. “Starvation pains”

Man Holding His Stomach Out of Hunger Commonly Misused Phrases

Although it is fully doable to expertise hunger-related ache, the usual English phrase for that churning feeling in your stomach is “starvation pang.” Positive, individuals will know what you are speaking about if you say “starvation ache,” however you may sound far more knowledgeable utilizing the right phrase.

2. “Escape goat”

Goats in a Field

The one time it’s best to ever use “escape goat” in a sentence is for those who’re on the zoo and one of many goats will get unfastened. However if you wish to confer with somebody who’s being blamed for different individuals’s wrongdoings, that is a scapegoat.

3. “Ex-patriot”

the white house on a crystal clear day Commonly Misused Phrases

An expatriate, or an ex-pat, is an individual who quickly lives in a rustic aside from the one through which they have been born. An ex-patriot, alternatively, could be somebody who used to actually love their residence nation however modified their thoughts after studying some deep, darkish authorities secret. That most likely applies extra to Jason Bourne than your cousin who received a job in Ottawa.

4. “Move mustard”

pot of mustard, commonly misused phrases
Shutterstock/Sea Wave

If somebody is passing the mustard, it is as a result of they suppose your sizzling canine appears to be like woefully underdressed. If one thing passes muster, that simply means it is passable. Along with sounding related, the confusion right here doubtless stems from the similarity between “go muster” and “reduce the mustard,” each of which can be utilized to point adequacy.

5. “Biting my time”

Man Biting a Steering Wheel Commonly Misused Phrases

When you consider it, it sounds sort of unusual to say that you just’re “biting” your time, does not it? Effectively, that is as a result of it is unusual—and it does not make sense. For those who’re attempting to say that you just’re ready for one thing, then what you are attempting to say is that you just’re biding your time, not biting it.

6. “First-come, first-serve”

waiter walking away Commonly Misused Phrases

The very last thing you’d ever wish to hear is “first-come, first-serve.” Why? The way in which this phrase is written implies that the primary one who arrives to a sure restaurant or social gathering can also be the one who has to serve the entire different company! The proper solution to say this phrase—in order to keep away from unexpectedly turning into a server—could be “first-come, first-served.”

7. “Piece of thoughts”

Doctors Performing Surgery commonly misused phrases

When somebody says that one thing is giving them “peace of thoughts,” they’re saying that they really feel protected and safe. However once they have piece of thoughts? Effectively, we will solely assume that they are in the course of mind surgical procedure and are cradling a bit of skull.

8. “Make due”

teacher in classroom with students Commonly Misused Phrases

The one one who can actually “make” one thing “due” is a instructor with a homework task. The remainder of us, alternatively, must make do with making do.

9. “By in massive”

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Admittedly, neither “by in massive” nor “by and huge” makes a lot sense. Regardless, solely the latter phrase is the proper solution to say “on the whole.” In response to Merriam-Webster, this phrase originated as a crusing time period which means “alternately close-hauled and never close-hauled.”

In nautical communicate, the phrase by refers to being within the course of one thing—as in, “That boat is by the wind.” The phrase massive describes an occasion through which the wind is blowing in a means that permits sailors “to keep up their course of journey wherever in a large arc without having to make continuous adjustments to the set of the sails,” World Vast Phrases explains.

But when that is going over your head, don’t be concerned: The wanting it’s, you need to be utilizing “by and huge.”

10. “Do diligence”

Man Studying a Paper Through a Magnifying Glass Commonly Misused Phrases

Take into consideration this one for a second. How do you do diligence? The one factor you are able to do, actually, is your due diligence—which means you are taking cheap steps to fulfill a requirement.

READ THIS NEXT: 60 Phrases Individuals Pronounce In a different way Throughout the U.S.

11. “I might care much less”

white woman looking annoyed at her companion

When individuals say “I might care much less,” they’re unknowingly saying the alternative of what they typically imply. In utilizing this phrase, they’re saying that they care a specific amount in regards to the topic in query, nevertheless it’s doable for them to care even much less. The proper model of this frequent saying is “I could not care much less,” which means they do not care in any respect.

12. “Doggy canine world”

dogs playing in park, commonly misused phrases

Add a second G to the phrase canine and you have got the title of an early ’90s Snoop Dogg observe. In every other state of affairs, although, the phrase “doggy canine world” does not make a lot sense. It is truly “dog-eat-dog world,” which means it is extremely aggressive.

13. “Irregardless”

angry woman

No matter how a lot slang slips into your vocabulary, do not use the phrase irregardless underneath any circumstance. Regardless is a phrase. This permutation, sadly, shouldn’t be.

14. “Nip it within the butt”

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Whereas “nip within the butt” would possibly conjure lovable photographs of a pet playfully biting the Coppertone woman’s posterior, the proper phrase to make use of when speaking about halting one thing in course of is “nip within the bud.” It refers back to the protecting of crops—notably the concept, when trimmed or harmed at an early age, a flower will not develop.

15. “May of”

Angry Woman on Phone, commonly misused phrases

So, you may have used “might have,” however selected “might of” as an alternative. Whereas “might have” signifies that one thing was doable—you might have gone swimming however selected to remain inside as an alternative, for instance— “might of” does not actually make any logical sense.

The error tends to stem from the pronunciation of the contraction “might’ve,” which is phonically indistinguishable from “might of.”

16. “Butt bare”

Woman using soap in the shower - commonly misused phrases

For those who’re totally bare, your backside might be uncovered—and that is doubtless the explanation so many individuals misuse this phrase. The proper expression, nonetheless, is “buck bare.” Buck refers to a person, or, in line with Washington State College professor Paul Brians, it might even have roots within the early American slave commerce, the place it was used as a derogatory time period in opposition to Black males.

17. “You’ve got received one other factor coming”

women talking outside, working mom

The phrase “you have received one other factor coming” appears to make sense: You assume one factor, however you may turn into incorrect. Nevertheless, the unique utilization was “you have received one other suppose coming,” which means one other thought or perception will quickly substitute the one you presently maintain true.

18. “Do a 360”

clock eleven ten

For those who go 360 levels round a circle, you have traveled an extended distance, which can be why some individuals assume that this phrase is smart. Nevertheless, touring 360 levels leaves you proper the place you began.

Going 180 levels, nonetheless, leaves you as far out of your start line as doable. Therefore, the phrase is “do a 180” and never “do a 360.”

19. “Worse involves worse”

frustrated woman in office in front of laptop - commonly misused phrases

In response to the New York Instances, the primary identified iteration of this phrase was “worst come to the worst,” printed in 1596. It indicated a hypothetical worst-case state of affairs turning right into a real-life worst-case state of affairs.

Nevertheless, the phrase has advanced over time, and right this moment “worse involves worst” is extra generally used to point the potential for a nasty state of affairs turning into a horrible one.

20. “For all intensive functions”

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When individuals say “for all intents and function,” it definitely sounds much like “for all intensive functions.” And hey, the latter virtually is smart: In case your functions are intensive, they’re extremely centered. That stated, the proper utilization is “for all intents and functions,” which means “in a sensible sense.”

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21. “Moist your urge for food”

Beautiful young woman at home enjoying a delicious english breakfast

What wouldn’t it imply if one’s urge for food have been moist, precisely? The phrase you are searching for right here is “whet your urge for food,” with the phrase whet being an antiquated means of claiming that one thing incites curiosity.

22. “Unphased”

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Although the 2 are homophones, the phrase unfazed is what you are searching for, not unphased. To “faze” means to disturb—so for those who’re unfazed by one thing, it does not trigger you a lot hassle.

23. “One in the identical”

twin girls playing outside

If what you are attempting to say is that two issues are the identical, then the phrase you are searching for is “one and the identical,” not “one in the identical.” Whereas “one in the identical” looks like it is smart, you may undoubtedly get an earful for those who use it in a proper setting amongst logophiles.

24. “Worse-case state of affairs”

Woman feels guilty with her boyfriend.

It may appear cheap that you just’re making ready for a “worse-case state of affairs”—a time when issues get considerably worse than they’re at this time. What it’s best to put together for as an alternative, nonetheless, is a “worst-case state of affairs,” the proper phrase, which refers to a time when issues get insurmountably unhealthy.

25. “Honing in”

south american location on map

Whereas “honing” appears like the proper utilization right here—which means “sharpening a ability”—the proper phrase is “homing in.” Like a homing missile, “to residence” means “to get nearer to,” in both a figurative or a literal sense.

26. “Jive with”

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For those who’re jiving with somebody, you are dancing collectively. For those who’re jibing with them, you are getting alongside, or you end up usually in settlement with them. Likelihood is, you imply the latter.

27. “Baited breath”

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Though baited could seem to make sense right here, the proper phrase, on this case, is bated breath. The previous refers to being taunted, whereas the latter means to scale back the depth of one thing. It signifies that you just’re exercising restraint over one thing you are enthusiastic about.

28. “Spitting picture”

happy mother with child in bed Commonly Misused Phrases
Shutterstock/Yuganov Konstantin

Whereas “spitting picture” is the type of the phrase mostly used right this moment, its authentic incarnation is “spit and picture.”

It is believed to stem from a Sixteenth-century textual content through which an writer refers to similarities between mum or dad and baby showing as if the latter was spit from the previous’s mouth. Nevertheless, many students additionally consider it’s Biblical in origin, and that it refers to God’s creation of Adam.

29. “Statue of limitations”

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Until there is a stone sculpture with an inventory of will not’s someplace, “statue of limitations” does not make a whole lot of sense. It is truly “statute of limitations,” which means a regulation that describes the restricted timeframe through which authorized measures might be taken.

30. “Pour over”

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For those who’re making a cup of espresso, it is likely to be a pour-over. For those who’re fastidiously inspecting one thing, you are poring over it. Pore, on this case, means to intently examine or mirror upon one thing.

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31. “Case and level”

female lawyerThings Said in Court

Once you win a chess match, you would possibly boastfully utter, “Test and mate” to the shedding participant. Once you’re attempting to supply an instance of one thing, the similarly-constructed “case and level” is inaccurate, nonetheless; the proper phrase is “working example.”

32. “Deep-seeded”

planting a tree

If one thing’s deep-seeded, it should imply that it is deeply embedded like a seed in soil, proper? Effectively, not precisely. The proper phrase is “deep-seated,” which means one thing is firmly established or hidden beneath the floor.

33. “On tender hooks”

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We’re undecided what sort of hook might be described as tender, per se, so it stands to purpose that “on tender hooks,” whereas generally used, shouldn’t be truly right. As a substitute, the phrase is “on tenterhooks,” describing the hooks used to stretch wool on a body, leaving it in a fragile state.

34. “Free reign”

Man holding a crown above his head.

Whereas this phrase sounds as if it is a couple of monarch, the proper model is definitely a reference to horses. Giving “free rein” means to permit a horse—or, metaphorically, an individual—to find out its personal path, having loosened its reins.

35. “Extract revenge”

man exacting revenge

For those who’re getting revenge, it might make sense that you just’re extracting it from the article of your enmity. Nevertheless, the proper phrase right here is “actual revenge.” To actual, on this case, means to demand revenge from the one that’s wronged you.

36. “On accident”

Spilled Drink on Rug - commonly misused phrases

Although some will declare that that is merely a regional variation, technically, the proper utilization is “accidentally.” After all, that is notably complicated, seeing because the generally-accepted reverse of the phrase is “on function.”

37. “Ready on somebody”

man with plastic watch

Until you are working at a restaurant or bar, you doubtless do not spend any of your time ready on somebody. As a substitute, you spend your time ready for somebody.

38. “Slight of hand”

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Although “slight of hand” and “sleight of hand” are homophones, they do not imply the identical factor. “Slight” can describe one thing small or an insult, whereas “sleight” describes a type of trickery, as in “sleight of hand magic.”

39. “Peak my curiosity”

older woman reading on tablet at cafe - commonly misused phrases

It definitely looks like the phrase peak is smart right here—”peak my curiosity” sounds as if it means “to intensify curiosity,” in spite of everything. Nevertheless, “pique my curiosity” is the proper phrase, and it means “to stimulate.”

40. “Pawned off”

Jewelry, secondhand, secondhand jewelry

If you don’t need your outdated marriage ceremony ring, you would possibly take it to a pawn store—so it is logical to suppose that you just’d equally “pawn off” a undertaking you do not take pleasure in on a coworker. Nevertheless, the proper phrase is “palmed off,” which means to trick somebody.

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41. “Mano a mano”

Men hugging - commonly misused phrases

For those who aren’t fluent in one other tongue, you may doubtless run into hassle when trying to make use of its idiomatic language. Working example: Many individuals use the phrase “mano a mano,” assuming it means “man to man,” when it, in reality, means “hand-to-hand,” and is mostly a reference to combating.

Yeah, that is most likely not what your pal means when he desires to ask you one thing “mano a mano.”

42. “Sneak peak”

Man in office

For those who’re getting a glimpse at one thing earlier than others do, that is a sneak peek, as in “an early look.” A peak, alternatively, refers back to the high of a mountain.

43. “Scott free”

man in handcuffs, commonly misused phrases

Sorry, people, however we’re not letting you off scot-free for those who’re one of many many individuals who use this phrase incorrectly. Until you are describing a spot with no guys named Scott in it, the phrase you are most likely searching for is “scot-free,” which means unpunished or unhurt.

44. “Shoe-in”

woman wearing blue high heels, commonly misused phrases

When you’ve got a foot within the door for a job, it stands to purpose that you just’d be a “shoe-in” for the place, proper? Not fairly. In reality, the phrase is “shoo-in,” which means one thing simply ushered in.

45. “Beckon name”


“To beckon” means to summon somebody or one thing, which is probably going the explanation so many individuals misuse the phrase “beck and name.” It refers to being obtainable at somebody’s command. Confusingly, although, the phrase “beck” and the phrase “beckon” are associated—so for those who’ve been saying this mistaken, do not beat your self up about it.

46. “Take a unique observe”

man on sailboat

For those who’re not notably accustomed to nautical slang, you then’ve most likely been making this error with some frequency. In reality, the proper phrase for taking a unique strategy is “take a unique tack,” with a tack describing whether or not the wind is hitting the port or starboard aspect of a sailboat.

47. “Have your cake and eat it, too”

woman eating cake, commonly misused phrases

Many individuals will use the phrase “have your cake and eat it too” to explain getting a number of issues they needed directly. However the popular use of the phrase is “you possibly can’t have your cake and eat it, too,” which means that the 2 issues in query are mutually unique, like each having a cake in your kitchen and attending to eat all of it might be.

48. “A mute level”

Being quiet

It appears comparatively logical {that a} “mute level”—one thing that is so inconsequential as to be fully silenced—could be the right use of this phrase. Nevertheless, it is truly a moot level, which means that it is debatable.

49. “Fall by the waste aspect”

Waste basket, commonly misused phrases

Positive, one thing can technically fall by the waste aspect for those who intend to throw it into the trash can and it lands as an alternative proper subsequent to it. Nevertheless, if what you are attempting to say is that one thing or somebody has didn’t sustain in a specific endeavor, then what you are attempting to say is that they’ve fallen by the wayside.

50. “Chock it up”

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The phrase chock has quite a few meanings within the English language, however none of them imply “to credit score one thing.” Nevertheless, that is precisely what chalk can imply on this context—therefore the proper phrase is “chalk it up.”

51. “Tongue and cheek”

girl with hands on her head and tongue twisted
Shutterstock / Krakenimages.com

For those who’ve injured your mouth space, it’d make sense to say you are having points along with your “tongue and cheek.” However for those who’re attempting to inform somebody that the serious-sounding assertion you simply made was truly sarcastic or sassy (or, let’s say, cheeky), you then wish to say “tongue in cheek.”

In response to Grammarist, this phrase was first used within the Eighties, as “putting your tongue inside your cheek was a bodily gesture indicating insincerity or playfulness.”

52. “In regard to”

Young Black Woman Talking
Floor Image/Shutterstock

With regard to this phrase, “in regard to” is inaccurate. For those who’re attempting to say one thing is referencing or regarding one thing else, the proper utilization is both “with regard to” or “as regards.”

53. “Flush out”

hand flushing toilet closeup
winnond / Shutterstock

We’re sorry for those who’ve truly needed to “flush out” your rest room, however when describing the method of increasing upon an concept or including extra particulars to a narrative, you need to be saying “flesh out.”

54. “Chomping on the bit”

Funny portrait of smiling horse with teeth
Shutterstock / Monika Vosahlova

Simply because everybody says “chomping on the bit”—when attempting to reference eagerness or restlessness to do one thing—does not imply it is right: It is truly “chomping on the bit.”

As NPR explains, “It comes from one thing stated about horses once they chunk their bits ‘repeatedly and restlessly.’ They ‘champ.'”

55. “Use to”


You “use to” play tennis? No, you “used to” play tennis.

In response to Merriam-Webster, “Used to refers to one thing acquainted or routine, as in ‘I am used to getting up early for work,’ or to say that one thing repeatedly occurred up to now like ‘we used to exit extra.'”

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