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
5 months ago

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

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#2

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JiminKimLip7
Community Member
5 months ago

This comment has been deleted.

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#3

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J Rob
Community Member
5 months ago

oops, my bad.

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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
5 months 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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Maria Suppe
Community Member
5 months ago

What?!

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#6

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Leo Domitrix
Community Member
5 months 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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Tabitha L
Community Member
5 months ago

Ahhhhhhh. This one is really annoying.

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#8

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Leo Domitrix
Community Member
5 months ago

Nip it in the what?! Good grief!

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#9

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Sally Appleton
Community Member
5 months ago

Who needs Scotts anyway? Bad news, all of them.

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#10

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Tabitha L
Community Member
5 months ago

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

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#11

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Becca Gizmo the Squirrel
Community Member
5 months ago

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So one means deceive and one means deception. Got it. No I don't. I will continue with the wrong version, thank you very much.

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#12

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onitsuka
Community Member
5 months 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
5 months 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
5 months 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
5 months 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
5 months 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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Tabitha L
Community Member
5 months ago

Attorneys general is similar to this. When people on the news say attorney generals, I cringe.

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#18

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Amy Pattie
Community Member
5 months ago

Momento sounds like a Harry Potter spell suffix

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#19

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Becky Samuel
Community Member
5 months ago

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These are back to front. Proofreading is *important* people.

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#20

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Martha Meyer
Community Member
5 months ago

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

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#21

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Robert Thornburrow
Community Member
5 months ago

First one sounds like a porn term.

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#22

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స్టీఫెన్ ఆండ్రూ
Community Member
5 months ago

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'Pangs' is not a medical term.

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#23

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Jasmine Donald
Community Member
5 months ago

I think I've heard both...

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#24

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Katrina B.
Community Member
5 months ago

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Again, they are pronounced the same way.

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#25

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Tabitha L
Community Member
5 months ago

Never heard this incorrect one either.

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#26

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Leo Domitrix
Community Member
5 months ago

Do due diligence.

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#27

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Becca Gizmo the Squirrel
Community Member
5 months ago

This feels wrong. I'm not saying it is, but feels.

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#28

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Becca Gizmo the Squirrel
Community Member
5 months ago (edited)

I think I've heard change tactics....Now I'm questioning everything I've ever heard or said.

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#29

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troufaki13
Community Member
5 months 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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ƒιѕн
Community Member
5 months ago

Once again. What?

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