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10 phrases that people get wrong and probably don’t even know it
Jessica
08.22.21

We learn language by listening to others. And if those language mentors get a phrase wrong, chances are we’ll have to forcibly unlearn it later in life.

It happens to the best of us – sometimes we just don’t hear a word or phrase correctly.

Want to know what we mean? Here are 10 of the most popular misused words and phrases:

1. “It doesn’t phase me”

Fun fact, if you’ve been writing or saying this… you’re wrong. A phase actually has to do with periods of time or stages of life. If you’re trying to describe someone that is/isn’t bothering you, the correct word to use is actually faze. Which means to disturb someone.

“That doesn’t even faze me bro” = ✔ ☺

Pixabay
Source:
Pixabay

2. “Hunger pains”

Well, I’ve been saying the wrong thing my whole life. Your stomach might be growling and definitely feeling the pain, but this isn’t the correct phrase. The actually saying is pangs, which is a medical term for the sharp cramps you feel when you’re hungry.

“I need some food I’m getting serious hunger pangs” = ✔

Pexels/ Kaboompics
Source:
Pexels/ Kaboompics

3. “Butt naked”

Well, we can add this to the list of things I’ve been saying wrong my whole life. It turns out even though it seems to be an obvious description the original term is buck naked. This phrase is definitely looking a little bare, don’t ya think?

“They were outside buck naked” = ✔

Flickr-tuchodi
Source:
Flickr-tuchodi

4. “Worse-case scenario”

Sometimes you’ve got to think about all of the scenarios before making a decision. Although you may want to prepare for the “worse-case scenario” (when things get worse than they are in the present). But actually, you’d want to prepare for the “worst-case scenario” with a “t” which means you’re preparing for a time when things get overwhelmingly bad.

“I’m thinking of all the worst-case scenarios before I get too excited” = ✔

Pexels/Ketut Subiyanto
Source:
Pexels/Ketut Subiyanto

5. “Each one worse than the next”

If you can see the future that is the only way this saying could be true. But unfortunately, most of us don’t have any superpowers. When you’re trying to compare something, you’ll want to say “each one worse than the last.”

“Each movie they make is worse than the last” = ✔

Pexels/Andrea Piacquadio
Source:
Pexels/Andrea Piacquadio

6. “Shoe-in”

Kick off your shoes and get a load of this. If you’ve been writing “shoe-in” to describe someone who is definitely a winner, you’re actually only talking about shoes… The correct spelling is actually “shoo,” which is a phrase derived from horse jockeys that make their horses run faster.

“That applicant is a shoo-in for the management position ” = ✔

Pexels/Tirachard
Source:
Pexels/Tirachard

7. “Do diligence”

You can get away with this one if you’re speaking but if you’re writing this on paper, that’s another story. How do you do diligence anyways? The correct spelling is “due diligence,” which means you’re taking reasonable steps to educate yourself before a decision.

“I did my due diligence before I invested in that stock” = ✔

Flickr/nosha
Source:
Flickr/nosha

8. “Chock it up”

Now, you can have a closet chock-full of clothes, but if you’re trying to explain why something happened, “chalkis actually the right word.

“I’m chalking this up to bad luck” = ✔

Pexels/Sharon M
Source:
Pexels/Sharon M

9. “Momento”

If you’re playing tourist and trying to find a gift for someone special, a momento isn’t what you’re looking for. Unless you’re in a Spanish-speaking place and need some more time. But when it comes to souvenirs, the proper spelling is a “memento. Happy shopping everyone!

“We should grab a memento from our trip at the souvenier store” = ✔

Pexels/Kim Stiver
Source:
Pexels/Kim Stiver

10. “On Accident”

Another one bites the dust… I can’t count how many times I’ve heard or said this, but it’s actually impossible to do. You can do something on purpose but you can’t do something on accident. The correct way to say you’ve done something accidentally is “by accident.”

“She did that by accident” = ✔

Flickr/ Dan Taylor-Watt
Source:
Flickr/ Dan Taylor-Watt

***

Some of these mistakes have become so common that we’ve probably said them for years without anyone ever correcting us.

But now is a good time to learn to improve your language skills!

If you want to see some more English faux pas, scroll down to the video below.

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By Jessica
hi@sbly.com
Jessica is a contributor at SBLY Media.
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