The English language is a fickle foe. It's difficult for non-native speakers to learn, and it's also difficult for native speakers to use correctly. Regardless of how smart you are, you're bound to bungle a few words or phrases here and there. And when it happens, it's embarrassing. But what's even more embarrassing is completely goof up a fairly common expression. You may not even knowing which common expressions you're getting wrong, but there are probably a few.
I'm not sure about you, but I hope people tell me when I'm doing something embarrassing without even knowing it. I'm fully capable of embarrassing myself when I do know it, so I don't really need any additional opportunities. After all, like it or not, many people judge coworkers, leaders, strangers, friends — even family — on what they look like like, what they say, and how they act.
Worried you're jumbling up common phrases or misusing or substituting words? Or, worse yet, are you worried that those around you are just letting you think you're getting it right even when you're getting it wrong rather than cluing you in? Check out these oft-bungled common expressions below and save yourself the future embarrassment.
1. "I could care less."
This one is very commonly misused. Although "I could care less" often seems like it might be right, Buzzfeed noted that it's really "I couldn't care less," which, if you think about it, really does make more sense. Your lack of care is at its lowest level.
2. "For all intensive purposes."
Again, sounds right, right? Unfortunately, wrong. The correct phrase is actually, "for all intents and purposes," according to Elite Daily.
3. "It's a goggy-dog world."
According to SheKnows, this commonly misused expression is really "dog-eat-dog." I don't know about you, but I'd prefer a world full of dogs.
4. "Deep-seeded belief."
While "deep-seeded belief" may sound correct, this expression should actually be "deep-seated," according to Inc.
5. "Case and point."
According to PureWow, "case and point" should actually be "case in point" instead. The case you use as an example underscores your point.
6. "At you beckon call."
Although "beckon call" may sound correct, (you can totally call someone over by beckoning them) the actual correct phrasing is "beck and call," according to Buzzfeed.
7. "By in large."
According to PureWow, "by and large" — not "by in large" — is correct and refers to the fact that everything has been considered.
8. "Wet your appetite."
This one is commonly spelled wrong, not said wrong. According to Inc., the correct expression is "whet your appetite," which refers to a whetstone.
9. "First-come, first-serve."
"First-come, first-served" means that the customers that arrive first will be served first. Thus, "first-come, first-served," not "first-come, first-serve," according to the previous Inc. article.
According to Buzzfeed, the expression "tongue-in-cheek" is the correct wording. Tongue-in-cheek means that the speaker is didn't mean it or said it jokingly.
11. "Get off scotch-free."
12. "One in the same."
I've definitely gotten this one wrong in the past. The correct phrasing is "one and the same," according to PureWow. The site added that "one and the same" means that the two things you're mentioning are equivalent.
13. "Piece of mind."
Again, this one isn't mis-said so much as misspelled. According to Inc., the correct expression is "peace of mind," referring to a sense of calm.
14. "Another thing coming."
15. "It's a mute point."
Another commonly mistaken expression, this should actually be "moot point," according to Inc. The phrase refers to a point that's superfluous or irrelevant.
16. "By in large."
According to Inc., the phrase "by and large" is nautical in nature, meaning "in general."
17. "Of upmost importance."
According to Business Insider, this expression is actually "of utmost importance," meaning the thing that's most important.
18. "On accident."
Even though people say this all the time, the grammatically correct phrasing is "by accident," according to SheKnows. This one'll trip you up.
19. "Could of."
Maybe the confusion about this one stems from "shoulda, woulda, coulda?" According to Business Insider, the correct phrase is "could have" (same with should have and would have).
20. "Take for granite."
Nope. The correct phrasing here is "for granted," according to Buzzfeed.
21. "Chock it up to _____."
According to the same previous Buzzfeed article, the expression is "chalk it up," not "chock it up." It means that you're giving the credit for whatever happened to that person or set of circumstances, according to Grammarist.