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 year ago

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

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#2

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Aragorn II Elessar
Community Member
1 year ago

“I did a 360, I’m back on my bullshit”

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#3

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Martha Meyer
Community Member
1 year 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 year 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 year 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.

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#6

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Leo Domitrix
Community Member
1 year 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 year 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 year ago

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

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#9

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Lance d'Boyle
Community Member
1 year 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 year ago

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

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#11

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Maria
Community Member
1 year ago

Sleight of hand and twist of fate, on a bed of nails she makes me wait 🎶🎶🎶

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#12

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onitsuka
Community Member
1 year 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 year 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 year 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 year 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 year 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 year 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 year ago

Wait uno momento.....

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#19

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Kristin Ingersoll
Community Member
1 year ago

But what about Free Rain???

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#20

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Martha Meyer
Community Member
1 year 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 year ago

never heard the incorrect one

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#22

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Leo Domitrix
Community Member
1 year 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 year ago

I think I've heard both...

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#24

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Jasmine Donald
Community Member
1 year ago

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

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#25

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Tabitha L
Community Member
1 year ago

Never heard this incorrect one either.

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#26

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Leo Domitrix
Community Member
1 year ago

Do due diligence.

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#27

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me
Community Member
1 year 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 year ago

Oh! I thought it was "change track"

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#29

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troufaki13
Community Member
1 year 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 year ago

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

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