We would all love to be Aristotle and some other exotic philosophers. However in our attempts to sound well read, we do end up using commonly misused words and phrases.
When I read some of these commonly misused words and phrases, I was a little bit embarrassed to say I am culprit to making some of those mistakes. And that’s when I thought, I might as well write about commonly misused words and phrases to help you avoid making the same mistakes.
1. First-Come, First-Serve
This can be passed off as an innocent mistake, however “first come, first serve” implies the first person to turn up will serve rest of the participants. However, the right way of saying is “first come, first served”. Don’t worry a lot of us get this wrong!
2. Extract Revenge / Potential
This was my favorite saying “extract potential” however to extract means to remove it. As INC explains “To “extract” something is to remove it, like a tooth. The correct expression is “exact revenge,” meaning to achieve revenge. Both The New York Times and the BBC have made this error.”
3. Wet Your Appetite
I don’t use this phrase much – I am not sure if I’ve ever used it in a written communication. However, the correct phrase is “whet your appetite”. As INC explains “This expression is more often used incorrectly than correctly–56 percent of the time it appears online, it’s wrong. The correct idiom is “whet your appetite.” “Whet” means to sharpen or stimulate, so to “whet your appetite” means to awaken your desire for something.”
3. You’ve got another thing coming
What? What’s wrong with this?
Yep, I didn’t see the mistake in it either, however even though it makes sense the phrase is still incorrect apparently. The correct phrase is “You’ve got another think coming”.
As lifehack explains “This is one of those phrases where the incorrect usage actually does make sense and has become its own phrase. But it’s still technically wrong. In fact, most people don’t even know the correct phrase unless they look it up (I sure didn’t). The correct version really only makes sense if you use the entire sentence “if that’s what you think, you’ve got another think coming.””
4. I made a complete 360 degree change in my life
This -> “People say they’ve made a complete 360 degree change in their life to imply that they’ve completely changed from the way they used to be. However, going 360 degrees means that you’ve returned to the exact same place you started. Which would mean you didn’t change at all. A 180 degree change would mean that you are the complete opposite which is what most people are trying to say.”
5. Mute point vs Moot point
Thankfully, I never made this mistake. I have seen people use the phrase mute point, when the correct phrase is moot point. “Mute” means “incapable of speech.” “Moot” means “debatable or doubtful.” While a moot point may cause someone to stop talking, it doesn’t render them mute. The point, not being a person, never had any ability to talk in the first place. So the word “moot” is a much better descriptive choice.
6. Free reign
The correct phrase is “free rein”. As thoughtcatalog.com explains “It’s easy to see the misconception here. By saying “free reign,” you want to indicate that a ruler or royal has the ability to do whatever (s)he pleases when it comes to their kingdom, having “free reign” over the land. But that’s not what it’s meant to indicate. “Free rein” comes from equestrian jargon, meaning to give your horse freedom of motion, holding loosely the reins to go easy on ol’ Black Beauty.”
7. The Spitting Image
The correct phrase is “the spit and image”. The original phrase “spit and image” comes from the Bible, where God made Adam out of “spit and mud” in order to make him in his own image. God didn’t spit on him, as the modern idiom seems to suggest.
8. Begging the question
The correct phrase is “raising the question”.
“If you want to bring up a question you have on your mind, you shouldn’t “beg” the question — because that means something very different. “Beg the question” is a term that indicates someone’s argument has a conclusion that lacks adequate support from its premise. In order cases, this logical fallacy entails simply restating the premise instead of making an actual conclusion or having a conclusion that’s totally unrelated to the initial. Welcome to every Freshman comp class.”
And that’s it folks, these were my top 8 commonly misused words and phrases. If you’ve been making these common mistakes – it is fine, we’ve all done them. Learning from it, is what will set you apart from the rest.
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