The last post in this series focused on all the best words. This time, we’re going to shift and go in the opposite direction. As somewhat of a wordsmith, there are terms and phrases that I hear on a daily basis that drive me mad. We all know the standard cliches. This post is about to be one of them. But I’m going to focus more on commonly misused words or sayings. Here’s what I have in mind:
- “I could care less” – Correction: this should say “I couldn’t care less”. By saying that you could care less, you are stating that you actually care at least a little bit, but typically when this phrase is being used, it’s usually supposed to indicate a complete disinterest. “I couldn’t care less” means that you could not possibly have any less interest in whatever is being discussed.
- “Work was cut out for me” – I know I’m in the minority with my opinion on this one, but I put this in the same category as number 1. If your work is cut out for you, then it’s removed from the equation, making the task easier. However, I hear it used most frequently to imply that somebody has a lot of work, or difficult tasks ahead of them. Think about it and tell me I’m wrong. I know, I’m not.
- “All intensive purposes” – Correction: all intents and purposes. This is more of a visual error, since the two sayings are basically homonyms. This saying basically just refers to doing something purposefully. You are intending to have a specific outcome.
- “Conversating” – Correction: conversing. This one is a big time pet peeve of mine. Conversing with somebody means that you are talking with them. Conversating isn’t a real word. Hell, my autocorrect doesn’t even like me to type it without spazzing out.
- Their, they’re, there – a grammar police’s worst enemy. “Their” shows possession. “There” is a location, and “they’re” is a contraction for “they are”. Their not interchangeable. See what I did there? Maddening, isn’t it?
- To, too, two – Number two on the grammar police’s most wanted. “Two” is a number. “Too” means also or excessively, and “to” is a preposition. I’m not good at the academic side of the English language, so I can’t explain what a preposition is (I just know it’s different than a proposition), but if you learn how to properly use the first two, then you’ll get the third one right simply by the process of elimination.
- Your, you’re – And here’s number three on the most wanted list. “Your” shows possession. “You’re” is a contraction for “you are”. You’re welcome.
- Lose, loose – “Lose” means to misplace something or to not win a competition. “Loose” means that something isn’t tight. They’re pronounced slightly different and don’t mean the same thing. That certainly means they can’t be used in place for one another.
- Past, passed – “Past” indicates a time frame. “Passed” means that you have overtaken or circumvented someone’s position.
- Irregardless – Correction: regardless. Regardless means to have less than regard for something. Adding the “ir” prefix indicates removing something. How can you remove regard, if you already have less than regard to begin with. It’s a double negative. It doesn’t work. I used to be able to say this is also not a word, like conversate, but for some unforesaken reason, the good folks who write dictionaries decided that because it’s used so frequently (even though it’s misused), they added it as an identifiable word. The definition you’ll find if you look it up? Regardless.
- I’m going to throw in a bonus for #11 because it’s my list and I can do what I want. Pacifically – Correction: specifically. Unless you are talking about a body of water that separates North and South America from Asia and Australia, then you are Atlantic-ally mispronouncing specifically.
Now you know better, so get it right. There are no more excuses, other than just willful defiance. Don’t be that guy.
Thank you, that is all.