No one was born perfect when it comes to language. We say one thing when we mean entirely another. We mix up words, add endings, and pretend it’s all fine. Well, not quite.

You see, even though some phrases roll off the tip of the tongue as if they were almost identical, it doesn’t mean they are. From hunger pains to hunger pangs and sleight of hand to slight of hand, there are too many common phrases that are way more confusing than they really should be.

So this time, we’re gonna look at the most common mistakes we make when using these phrases, and hopefully, learn something that would have made our English teachers proud.

#1

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Tabitha L
Community Member
1 month ago

This one makes me nuts. The incorrect version means the opposite of the intent.

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#2

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Daniel Lewis
Community Member
1 month ago

It is obvious htat many people do a 360 degree change in their lives.

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#3

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Martha Meyer
Community Member
1 month ago

I've never seen the incorrect version. That's just dumb!

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We all have that one phrase or two (or too many) that pop into the conversations we have with people. These go-to expressions surely add some style to whatever we’re saying unless they’re used the wrong way.

But the more we use them, the more unaware we become of these repetitive language slip-ups. And honestly, our interlocutors are often unaware of the fact as well. Think of how many times you've heard someone say “I could care less.” In fact, this means the exact opposite as meant by the right usage “I couldn’t care less.”

Other common phrases people confuse very often are “tongue and cheek” (should be tongue in cheek), “for all intensive purposes” (should be “for all intents and purposes”), “another thing coming” (the right way is “another think coming.”)

#4

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H Edwards
Community Member
1 month ago

This one annoys me, seems like a typically American issue. I think it probably comes from mishearing 'it was AN accident'

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#5

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Dennis Michael
Community Member
1 month ago

The word "buck" refers to a male native american indian. The phrase "buck naked" comes from the fact that back in the early days (pre 1900) male indians would be seen riding their horses to a river or stream to bathe or do what ever, and would be totally naked on the horse. White people would see them and thus the phrase "Buck naked" was born.

Cecilia
Community Member
1 month ago

@ Dennis, I'm an English teacher, and I'm so glad someone else knows the back story for this phrase.

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Maria Suppe
Community Member
1 month ago

What?!

Emilingo
Community Member
1 month ago

Animals don't wear clothes

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Tabitha L
Community Member
1 month ago

This one doesn't bother me when people use the wrong one.

Marnie
Community Member
1 month ago

I don't see this as being incorrect, since neither one has any concrete meaning and neither one actually means something different from the intent (like "I could care less" does). The two words together are understood to mean something. Language changes over time. "Butt naked" is perfectly valid in casual conversation.

Ken Murray
Community Member
1 month ago

Buck refers to aa word commonly used for an Indian brave - the y wore little clothing in the summers - hence the term buck naked - but since it can be seen as racist let's just change it to butt naked

ƒιѕн
Community Member
1 month ago (edited)

I've said it both ways, wasn't really sure which was right.

Erik Steckler
Community Member
1 month ago

Buck is a racist term for native american and the term buck naked should be avoided.

Colbi Schrover
Community Member
1 month ago

I'd first heard "butt naked" by some girl friends to refer to how Dean and Jessie met in the movie "Youngblood", where he was literally"butt" naked out in the hallway. And so they recommended the movie LOL. I don't know "buck naked". I always thought the braves wore some kind of loincloths or something.

Zophra
Community Member
1 month ago

Now what is it if it's a male deer who's naked???

JessG
Community Member
1 month ago

Just buck, they’re already naked.

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Daniel Embree
Community Member
1 month ago

That reminds me of an episode of Married With Children where their dog Buck runs away, and Kelly says she’s’Buck naked’

Daniel Embree
Community Member
1 month ago

That reminds me of an episode of Married With Children where the dog Buck runs away, and when Kelly realizes he’s gone, says she’s ‘Buck naked’

Kalpana M
Community Member
1 month ago

Omg!!! I didn't know that!!!

PinkEgg
Community Member
1 month ago

This one is news to me!!

Tuesdays Child
Community Member
1 month ago

Correct or not, Imma use "butt naked" because I have a butt, but I don't have a buck.

Lucas
Community Member
1 month ago

Still be wrong.

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Mshauri Mazuri
Community Member
1 month ago

I know I know it's not correct. But if you see a butt and it's naked, what's the first thing you gonna say? Buck naked or butt naked? Haha

Michael A
Community Member
1 month ago

Although each is a stand alone phrase.

will griffiths
Community Member
1 month ago

Coming first is more important than making sense?

Mark Jaress
Community Member
1 month ago

This one, I think both work

JD
Community Member
1 month ago

Neither is incorrect, one is just older than the other. I bet "Butt naked" is also more used in the UK as "Buck naked" origins are very American.

Akiko Fujishima
Community Member
1 month ago

I lived in the UK, never heard anyone say butt naked, never even heard people use the term "butt" at all, as the word typically used was "bum". There are deer in the UK, six different species in fact, so they do know what a buck is, and it was colonists from there that used those terms. I love how people try to remove any responsibility from the origin....lol.

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BorPand8
Community Member
1 month ago

Considering neither one of them is "proper English" and "buck naked" might come from the racist use of "buck" to describe men of color, and the practice of stripping slaves naked for inspection before purchase, I'm going to keep on saying "butt-naked."

Alex Bailey
Community Member
1 month ago

Could just say naked - means exactly the same thing and is a wee bit less effort. Butt naked is such an obvious americanism though.

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Geoff Scott
Community Member
1 month ago

Both are acceptable. English is an evolving language.

Jasmine Donald
Community Member
1 month ago

this doesn't make sense. Why is "butt naked" not right?

Ren Karlej
Community Member
1 month ago

It just simply has never been the phrase and makes little sense over and above any other naked body part..

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Leo Domitrix
Community Member
1 month ago

Why is it "buck"? No idea, but it is BUCK naked. (Sorry, butt.)

JessG
Community Member
1 month ago

Check other comment by Dennis

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Nia Loves Art
Community Member
1 month ago

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I thought both of these were correct?

Theodore Theodora
Community Member
1 month ago

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Yeah but in this case the "later" version is a better evolution, so we should keep it.

LSS
Community Member
1 month ago

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I say butt naked and will always say butt naked!

Anonymous Web User
Community Member
1 month ago

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I disagree with this one. Butt naked is a very well known expression. I have never in my life heard the term 'buck naked' and I'm 36 years old, fairly well-spoken.

JessG
Community Member
1 month ago

They both make sense, it’s just “buck naked” came first. It has been miss-pronounced so many times that most people say “butt”

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#6

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Leo Domitrix
Community Member
1 month ago

Finally. Thank you. AMEN. English isn't my family's first language on one side, and I've spent a lifetime explaining these things. I feel so happy I'm not alone....

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Even though the misused phrases may be annoying to some sharp-eared listeners, they are never harmful or intentional.

But there are some common phrases that can never work in any conversation and they can definitely turn your encounter sour. For example, saying “you look good for your age,” “this might sound stupid, but…” or “you’re so…” this and that, can be interpreted in a bad way.

So in the end, it’s never really about language and grammar, but rather the content and the way you say it that really matters in a fruitful and pleasant conversation.

#7

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Leo Domitrix
Community Member
1 month ago

Ever see my mom after an espresso? EXpresso ain't a bad description...

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#8

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Jasmine Donald
Community Member
1 month ago

lol nip a butt....how does it taste?

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#9

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Lance d'Boyle
Community Member
1 month ago

The term has nothing to do with the Scotts. It comes from old Scandinavian 'skatt fri', which means 'tax free'.

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#10

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Tabitha L
Community Member
1 month ago

I don't think I've ever heard this incorrect version.

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#11

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Hope Floats
Community Member
1 month ago

I've heard this saying, but I've never seen "sleight" spelt this way.. (And I'm from the UK)... I would always write 'slight'.. (Sleight is too much like sleigh..)

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#12

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onitsuka
Community Member
1 month ago

I've seen people write and assume it was "pick" my interest

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#13

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Tabitha L
Community Member
1 month ago

I'm sure there are some people who feel like "ex-patriots" right now.

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#14

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Katrina B.
Community Member
1 month ago

This one is misleading though because they are pronounced the same way. If you're saying them at least.

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#15

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Luke N
Community Member
1 month ago

I always thought it described an easy penning. Say of sheep. No need to herd them into the pen, just give them a shoo and they go in by themselves.

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#16

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CLG
Community Member
1 month ago

Although you CAN say "give someone a piece of your mind," meaning chew them out.

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#17

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Robert Thornburrow
Community Member
1 month ago

Gets confusing when you get possessive. My brother-in-law's car is the car belonging to my brother-in-law, but what would you say for all the cars belonging to multiple brothers-in-law? My brothers-in-law's cars?

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#18

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H Edwards
Community Member
1 month ago

Wait uno momento.....

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#19

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Kristin Ingersoll
Community Member
1 month ago

But what about Free Rain???

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#20

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Martha Meyer
Community Member
1 month ago

A lot of people online seem to be unable to correctly use superlatives.

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#21

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Jasmine Donald
Community Member
1 month ago

never heard the incorrect one

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#22

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Leo Domitrix
Community Member
1 month ago

Pangs is archaic, but yes, that's the conventional usage. Frankly, I've been hungry enough to hurt. It is not a pang. It was pain.

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#23

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Jasmine Donald
Community Member
1 month ago

I think I've heard both...

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#24

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Jasmine Donald
Community Member
1 month ago

lol, baited breath... that would be very strange...

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#25

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Tabitha L
Community Member
1 month ago

Never heard this incorrect one either.

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#26

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Leo Domitrix
Community Member
1 month ago

Do due diligence.

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#27

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me
Community Member
1 month ago

Wait, I've never seen the wrong one before, is that just me?

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#28

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Night Owl
Community Member
1 month ago

Oh! I thought it was "change track"

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#29

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troufaki13
Community Member
1 month ago

In Greece we say "one is worse than the other" when everything is bad and you can't tell which is worse

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#30

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Tabitha L
Community Member
1 month ago

I use unfazed. But I'm not sure I've ever used faze in a sentence.

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