You're Saying It Wrong! // Commonly Misused Phrases That May Be Impacting Your Life

Photo by RevereCompany on Instagram. Buy the You're Doing it Wrong patch here.

There are a ton of phrases that many people use in their everyday lives that they may or may not notice are totally incorrect. As an English buff, a lot of these tend to drive me a little crazy. I'm not an internet grammar troll by any means, because I understand there are some easy mistakes (some even caused by autocorrect.) The ole it's vs. its can be an easy mix up, same with to and too, especially if you're typing fast. Even the most seasoned of grammar nerds is bound to slip up every once in a while. We're all human here, it's okay!

Just like humans, we're all prone to a few mistakes, but some of the worst offenses are things we don't even know we're doing wrong. Like these phrases, and their misuses that have become widely accepted (not wildly accepted, btw!) in today's vocabulary.

You're Saying:

"Right off the BACK..." when you should be saying "right off the BAT..."
This term stems from American baseball, and means immediately, without haste. Like a ball being hit by a baseball bat. Right off the back just doesn't make sense now, does it?

"Should OF..." when you should be saying "should HAVE..."
This saying also goes along with the other shoulda/woulda/coulda phrases. Of is NOT a verb, it is a preposition, similar to from and by. Remember, verbs are action words. If you can do it, it's a verb. You can't of something, but you sure can have it!

"For all INTENSIVE PURPOSES..." when you should be saying "for all INTENTS AND PURPOSES..."
This is one of the most common misused phrases I come across in daily life. Not only does it take less work to say "intensive purposes," a lot of people have absolutely no idea that's not really the phrase! You see, the word intensive means intense, concentrated, or something that has been given emphasis. Do your purposes have a lot of emphasis? Maybe, but it makes a lot more sense to pair them with your intents, you know, those things that are similar to your purposes.

"Nip it in the BUTT..." when you should be saying "nip it in the BUD..."
Though I wish nipping it in the butt was the real phrase (it would be a lot funnier!), we're dealing with a gardening idiom here. Nipping something in the bud is cutting the problem off quickly so it doesn't have time to "bloom" so to speak. Though I imagine nipping something in the butt would likely stop it as well, the correct term involves a pair of garden shears and not someone's hindquarters.

"I COULD care less..." when you should be saying "I COULDN'T care less..."
Saying you could care less actually means that you DO care, and that's likely not your intention when speaking this phrase. Self explanatory.

"IRREGARDLESS..." when you should be saying "REGARDLESS..."
Irregardless is not actually a word. It's become socially  acceptable (according to some) and may actually be found in some dictionaries, but its only meaning is regardless, without regard and is an informal term. Though many people use this in everyday speech, using plain old regardless will make you sound a lot smarter.

"Taking something for GRANITE..." when you should be saying "taking something for GRANTED..."
This one is kinda funny, especially if you're in a Geology classroom, but I hear it a lot out here on these streets. Taking something for granted means that you think something appears out of nothing, and that it's simply handed to you. Taking something for granite, however, means that you think  something is an igneous rock.

You're Spelling it Wrong:

I see these word mixups all the time. Heads up, these words are NOT interchangeable, no matter what anyone says. Not even your mom.
  • PEEK - to catch a glimpse / PEAK - the height of something
  • LOSE - to be lost or in the process of being lost / LOOSE - the opposite of tight
  • DEFINITELY - without a doubt / DEFIANTLY - against someone's wishes
  • HEAR - to detect something with your ears / HERE - the place you are
  • BOUGHT - to have purchased something / BROUGHT - the past tense of bringing something
  • EXCEPT - to leave something out / ACCEPT - to welcome something or bring it in
  • SENSE - a feeling / SINCE - a word used to describe time
  • COMMA - a punctuation mark used to indicate a pause in a sentence / COMA - a state of deep unconsciousness
  • HEROINE - a female lead or hero / HEROIN - a dangerous addictive drug
  • WANDER - to roam about / WONDER - to think, reflect, or daydream

Though I love me a good grammar lesson, I still make quite a few mistakes myself. There may even be a few in this post that I've missed. But since Miley Cyrus told us that Nobody's Perfect, I'm okay with that. 

I know I overuse commas like they're going out of style, but until someone (like a professor) rips me to shreds over them, I'm gonna keep using them. You get a comma, and you get a comma, and you, and YOU!!

Even I (the grammar nut) mess up on:
  • Affect / Effect
  • Either / Neither
  • Enquire / Inquire
  • Conscience / Conscious (I have a hard time even pronouncing these)
  • Stationery / Stationary
  • Capital / Capitol
  • Who / Whom
  • Good / Well

Saying you're "doing well" sounds kinda pretentious anyway (especially to us southerners.) Same with the whole who vs. whom situation. I'll continue to let these slide, even if someone RAKES me over the coals for them. Like I said, we're only human.

Do you make any of these mistakes?
Feel free to call out any poor grammar on my part! I love to learn!


  1. this post is BRILLIANT. i'd love people to explain exactly why they think they should ever 'nip it in the butt' :') some of those i've never heard pronounced incorrectly but they gave me a laugh all the same! stationary/stationery is definitely a common mistake in the bloggersphere x

  2. Awesome post! I personally prefer "Nip it in the Butt" as well, seems to give the phrase more feeling. And also, I never knew that stationery was a word. I thought they were both spelled stationary! Not that I use that word often, but I am certainly glad I am aware of it now! Also, I, love, commas, too. I tend to write how I speak, and I pause a lot when I speak.

  3. I had a friend that said "it takes the plate" instead of "it takes the cake" hehe.

  4. Oh, the spellings really bug me! Something else that I really hate is when people say why instead of whilst, or when. Like, 'Hope the weather clears for tomorrow why me and the mrs go...' - taken straight from my fb feed!


Powered by Blogger.