The English language is an odd and humorous factor. I ought to know. I studied English as my main and taught the topic to highschool college students. My daughters averted giving me their schoolwork to assessment as a result of they had been afraid I’d throw my grammar geekiness throughout their papers. One way or the other, I’d at all times appear to discover a handful of generally misused phrases or phrases of their papers. And, once I pointed them out, they didn’t respect the quirkiness of our native language.
And, actually, I get it.
First, there are such a lot of complicated guidelines. Many phrases sound the identical however have totally different spellings and definitions (I’m you, “their,” “they’re” and “there.”) Attempting to recollect “I earlier than E besides after C” is difficult sufficient, however when there are a couple of billion exceptions to the rule, then why even trouble having it?
Right here’s one other problem with English: like every other spoken language, phrases will be added to our vocabulary primarily based on how we use them — even when it’s a part of a generally misused phrase.
Final 12 months, the phrase “irregardless” was added to the Mirriam-Webster dictionary, regardless of it technically being an improper time period. It’s listed as a nonstandard phrase. This implies the authors of the dictionary entered the phrase into the official ebook as a result of folks use it so usually, it’s turn out to be adopted into our day by day phrase utilization.
Nonetheless, there are nonetheless loads of phrases and phrases many people toss into our conversations which have but to be embraced by the gatekeepers of the English language. Right here’s an inventory of 10 generally misused phrases you could be responsible of abusing. No judgment, in fact! Take into account this a fast brush-up of these English classes that had been forgotten way back.
1. “Higher Then”
When many individuals are speaking about their choice for one factor over one other, they could incorrectly say one is “higher then” the opposite. The proper solution to say it might be that one is “higher than” the opposite. They sound comparable however right here’s a tip that will help you bear in mind which one is correct: “Then” refers to time, whereas “Than” is used to check two or extra issues. Any time you’re evaluating one factor to a different, you must use “higher than.”
2. “I Might Care Much less”
Getting this one proper is vital as a result of there’s a giant totally different between saying “I may care much less” and “I couldn’t care much less.”
More often than not, folks wish to use this phrase to say they don’t care in any respect about one thing. So, in that case, you’d have to say ,”I couldn’t care much less,” as a result of it actually means your degree of care about this topic is as little as it might probably probably get. Then again, should you incorrectly say, “I may care much less” in that scenario, you might be saying that you just in truth do care about this topic at the least just a little.
3. “I Want To Lay Down”
I’ll admit it, this one is hard even for me. When it comes time for mattress, I discover myself slipping through the use of “lay down” as an alternative of the proper “lie down.” So, what’s the distinction between these oft-confused phrases?
“Lay” is a verb meaning “to put or set one thing down” and includes an object: a ebook, a plate, or no matter. “Lie,” on this scenario, is a verb meaning “to recline or get right into a horizontal place.” That’s often what we imply once we say we’re going to loosen up flat within the mattress or some place else.
4. “Statue Of Limitations”
This one isn’t precisely an on a regular basis phrase however figuring out the proper solution to say it might probably prevent from sounding silly should you ever want to make use of it. A “statute” of limitations is a authorized time period coping with a time frame through which a civil or felony violation will be prosecuted. It’s generally used when speaking a couple of crime that occurred a very long time in the past and will not be punishable by regulation anymore.
As for the wrong “statue of limitations,” there actually isn’t any such factor until a sculptor determined to mould a murals that bodily depicted somebody’s limitations.
5. “Nip It In The Butt”
If you wish to put an finish to one thing earlier than it will get uncontrolled, you nip it within the “bud” — not the “butt.” It’s an previous time period that connects to nature and the way frost can kill flowers earlier than they bloom (when they’re nonetheless buds). In the meantime, nipping one thing within the “butt” conjures an disagreeable psychological picture of a canine biting a mail service.
6. “I’m Doing Good”
Ugh. The age-old battle of “good” vs. “effectively.” Each phrases imply effectively (see what I did there?), however they trigger numerous complications. “Good” is an adjective, which describes somebody or one thing general (“He’s an excellent scholar.”), whereas “effectively” is an adverb, which describes how somebody or one thing is performing in a particular scenario (“He’s doing effectively at school.”).
We frequently reply the query, “How are you?” by saying, “I’m doing good!” Whereas it’s a well mannered reply, it’s additionally not appropriate to say, even if you’re having an excellent day. “I’m doing effectively” is the proper solution to reply the query. Right here’s a straightforward solution to bear in mind which phrase to make use of on this scenario: Superman does good; you’re doing effectively.
7. “She Did A Full 360”
If you wish to say somebody has made a drastic change in her life, you may be tempted to say, “She did a whole 360,” however that is utterly incorrect. Why? As a result of should you say somebody has made a 360-degree change, then no change has really occurred. Turning 360 levels means you do a whole circle and wind up going through the identical course you had been earlier than. What you wish to say is, “She did a whole 180.”
A 180-degree transfer means turning round and going through the precise other way you had been earlier than — and that’s the message you often wish to get throughout when speaking about transformations.
8. “Tongue And Cheek”
When somebody is saying one thing sarcastically, they’re talking “tongue-in-cheek,” not “tongue and cheek,” as many individuals incorrectly say. Some consultants imagine this frequent time period was first used within the 18th and 19th centuries to point out skepticism. For those who say you’re talking “tongue and cheek,” folks will in all probability know what you meant, however they could additionally silently decide your phrase selection!
9. “Biting My Time”
Are you sitting round, scrolling in your telephone, simply ready for an appointment or a gathering to start out? Then you might be “biding your time.” It could sound such as you’re “biting your time” however that will be a mistake to say. To bide means to remain or stay. So, biding time means holding on till it’s time to behave. You’ll be able to’t really chunk time, even should you chew in your watch as you’re biding your time.
10. “Starvation Pains”
It’s dinner time. You haven’t had lunch and also you’re listening to your tummy rumble like Winnie the Pooh. Many individuals say they’re having “starvation pains” when that occurs. Whereas your abdomen might damage when it groans and grumbles, the precise time period for this sense is “starvation pangs.” “Pang” is an older model of the phrase “ache.”
Regardless of this frequent phrase being technically incorrect proper now, it seems just like the time period “starvation pains” could also be on its solution to being accepted into the English language as a result of, in our analysis, we discovered sources that used the phrases interchangeably. Even Mirriam-Webster calls “pangs” antiquated and cites quite a few publications the place “starvation pains” is used.
The English language is a topic that’s at all times altering, continuously contradicting itself and discovering methods to confound even fluent audio system.
But it surely’s by no means boring!