24 Things You Might Be Saying Wrong

You never mean: Could care less

You always mean: Couldn’t care less

Why: You want to say you care so little already that you couldn’t possibly care any less. When the Boston Celtics’ Ray Allen said, “God could care less whether I can shoot a jump shot,” we know he meant exactly the opposite because 1) God has other things on his mind, and 2) God is a Knicks fan.

You might say: Mano a mano

You might mean: Man-to-man

Why: You don’t speak Spanish by adding vowels to the end of English words, as a columnist describing father–teenage son relationships seemed to think when he wrote, “Don’t expect long, mano a mano talks.” Mano a mano (literally, “hand to hand”) originated with bullfighting and usually refers to a knock-down, drag-out direct confrontation.

You might say: Less

You might mean: Fewer

Why: In general, use fewer when you’re specifying a number of countable things (“200 words or fewer”); reserve less for a mass (“less than half”). So when you’re composing a tweet, do it in 140 characters or fewer, not less.

You never mean: Hone in

You always mean: Home in

Why: Like homing pigeons, we can be single-minded about finding our way to a point: “Scientists are homing in on the causes of cancer.” Hone means “to sharpen”: “The rookie spent the last three seasons honing his skills in the minor leagues.” But it’s easy to mishear m’s and n’s, which is probably what happened to the Virginia senator who said, “We’ve got to hone in on cost containment.” If you’re unsure, say “zero in” instead.

You might say: Bring

You might mean: Take

Why: The choice depends on your point of view. Use bring when you want to show motion toward you (“Bring the dog treats over here, please”). Use take to show motion in the opposite direction (“I have to take Rufus to the vet”). The rule gets confusing when the movement has nothing to do with you. In those cases, you can use either verb, depending on the context: “The assistant brought the shot to the vet” (the vet’s point of view); “the assistant took the shot to the doctor” (the assistant’s).

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306 thoughts on “24 Things You Might Be Saying Wrong

  1. If almost everyone says these things, then how did you determine that they were incorrect?

  2. I use beg the question all the time. Correctly. You don’t have to be a philosophy professor; there’s this thing called the internet nowadays. And with it comes internet arguments.

  3. English is a living language, and despite many best attempts to categorize and fix the meanings of things. Idioms pop up, and words change meaning.

  4. I am surprised at the number of times I’ve heard people say “irregardless”, and the number of people who spell the word “tomorrow” incorrectly (i.e., “tomarrow”)!
    It also drives me crazy when people say things like, “We are currently unavailable right now to take your call, but if you leave a message, either Joe or myself will get back to you…”

  5. When talking about incorrect plural (brothers-in-law vs brother-in-laws) the article notes that an exception is phrases like “cul-de-sacs”, which is INCORRECT. The correct plural of cul-de-sac is CULS-DE-SAC!

  6. The worst is “irregardless” – it’s not even a word. *harumph*
    Also, “unorganized” makes me nuts – DISorganized…

  7. Actually, I mean exactly what I say and not have a article tell me I’m talking incorrectly. I’m mostly picky about my writing grammar than anything else. :P

  8. One of my pet peeves is the word “comprised” instead of “composed of.” “The United States is comprised of 50 states.” “Comprise” means “include” — correct sentences would be “The United States is composed of 50 states” or “The United States comprises 50 states.” I am happy every time I see someone use “composed of” (and as a newspaper reporter, I am annoyed to see many, many reporter say “comprised of”) even though the difference has been noted been in the AP Stylebook ever since I can remember. I rarely see anyone use “comprise” correctly; it’s kind of awkward, in fact, but I try to work it in once in a while. :)

  9. CORRECTION: In the case of ” MANO A MANO ” the explanation is wrong because “mano ” which in spanish means ” hand” is also an idiom or spanish short form for ” hermano ” ( mano) = brother so mano a mano = ( from brother to brother) is the same as ( from man to man) just as in other cases when engkish speaking people like to use an spanish idiom to make the sentence cool, like ( hasta la vista baby) = ( see you later)

  10. I don’t like when people say “disinterested” when they mean “uninterested”. But, alas, so many people do this that the two words may actually be synonyms now, and we no longer have a word that quite captures what “disinterested” used to mean. “Dispassionate” is similar, but it isn’t quite the same.

  11. I’ve also noticed few people say

    “Did you bought it?”

    I mean they use past tense with did,The correct way is to always use root verb with did.

    The correct is “Did you buy it?”

  12. I hate when people write “would of” instead of “would’ve.”

    As in:

    I “would of” gone but I forgot my coat.

    I can’t stand when people incorrectly replace conjunctions. I hate “would of” the most for some reason.

  13. Oftentimes people write could/would/should of, none of which make any grammatical sense because they sound very similar to the correct could/would/should ‘ve. Which are contractions of could/would/should have.

  14. Tangentially:
    There – Location.
    Their – It belongs to them.
    They’re – Contraction for “they are.”

  15. My college English professor made this statement, “Good manners are preferable to good grammar any day”. For some reason, the statement has remained with me, now for more than thirty years.

  16. I’m surprised that “nauseous” and “nauseated” are not on the list. Most everyone uses (not “utilizes”) the first word when they mean the second.

  17. People say do a complete 360 when the mean a 180. If you do a 360 you are still going in the same direction, a 180 indicates you have changed your course and are going in the opposite direction.

    People say based off of a book, when they mean based on a book.

    This is slightly off topic but a personal pet peeve of mine, anyone mentions someone won the medal of honor it is disrespectful. The MOH is not something you win like the lottery or a prize from a Craker Jax box. The correct terms are earned the MOH, received the MOH, awarded the MOH, MOH recipient, 

  18. When you say “in regards (adjective) to,” you mean “in regard to” or “regarding.”  You only add an “s” to the word “regard” in the salutation to a letter, e.g., “Best regards (noun) , Bill.”  So, “What is this in regards to” is always wrong.  Rather,  “To what is this regarding?”, or “To what does this regard?” is correct.  Telephone receptionists should refrain from attaching the “s” to the word “regard,” and should begin, “To what . . .?” 

  19. I can’t stand when people only use present tense verbs.  Basically, when I read FB posts and they never put endings such as “ed” or “ing” etc. to their words.  Oh, another one is they use “was” for all occasions as if they’ve never heard of “were”.

  20. I wouldn’t be surprised if the title was not meant to be a joke because adverbs seem to be things of the past. Sadly, the use of adjectives as adverbs seems to be so common now that I fear to expect correct usage is a lost cause. Please tell me otherwise. 

  21. Never say amount of people when you mean number of people. Amount is more appropriate for things that cannot be counted, eg, amount of sugar, salt, water

  22. I had a friend who used to say she “brought the bus home” on nights she took public transit.  I used to joke that she ought to return it straight away.  Anyone else use brought and bus together?

  23. . . . another valuable article that  makes you more impeccable in communicating.

  24. Your headline should have been “24 things you might be saying wrongly”.  Saying is a verb and “wrongly” is the adverb that modifies the verb;  “wrong” is an adjective which qualifies a noun.

  25. Actually, “mano a mano” is completely correct in Brazilian Portuguese and it has the same meaning as “man-to-man”.

  26. My pet peeve is: I’m done”.  People are finished, cakes are done.

  27. Most people have totally distorted the Queens English. It is such a shame and makes me cringe. I automatically jump in to correct them but that is bad manners. It is hard to accept so have learned to keep my mouth closed and just smile.

    1. I’m sorry, did you mean the “Queen’s English” or the “Queens English” as written?

  28. This is nice logical article but there are more options then 24 ways …

  29. One of the most misused expressions is “just between you and I…”. The easy rule of thumb is to reverse the person, to instantly recognize the mistake. “Between I and you” sounds wrong. The proper way is “between you and me” because…”between me and you” still sounds correct!

  30. The ‘s’ going in the middle of dashed phrases is silly because a “brother-in-law” is one complete concept that is being pluralized.  Each other / one another is really silly because it’s just “tradition”, not a real rule (much like not ending sentences with prepositions).

  31. Edit:  

    So might not the adverb “wrong” modify the verb “be saying”?

    (And of course I meant “hear”).

  32. Is the title “wrong”?  The dictionary says “wrong” is an adjective, an adverb, a noun and a transitive verb.  So might the adverb “wrong” modify the verb “be saying”.

    Let’s here from a grammar teacher.

  33. You hear this all the time, but if the word “myself” is used, there must be a refering pronoun. It is okay to say,  “I, myself, believe in ghosts.”  It in not okay to say, “Sue and myself believe in ghosts.”

  34. You hear this all the time, but if the word “myself” is used, there must be a refering pronoun. It is okay to say,  “I, myself, believe in ghosts.”  It in not okay to say, “Sue and myself believe in ghosts.”

  35. Add “wrong” from your article title. It should be “incorrectly.”

  36. Since we’re on the subject, here are my current pet peeves: If the personal pronoun you want to use, the poor apostrophe do not abuse. (Its vs. it’s.) There is no construction: America’s Got Talent or You’ve Got Mail. It’s America Has Talent and You Have Mail. (This one’s for you, Mrs. Helen Detsch, high school English teacher.) And finally, couple is not an adjective, it’s a noun. (I have a couple examples vs. I have a couple of examples. Do you remember the object of a preposition? Presently, I’ll post more. Currently means now, and presently means a little bit in the future. 

  37. Actually there’s nothing wrong with “wrong.”  “Wrong” can be an adverb or an adjective.  In the title, it’s being used as an adverb and is modifying the action of “saying.”  “Incorrectly” would also be fine.  

  38. Here is one I heard on the national news today: “at this point in time”. 
    Can we just say “at this time” or “at this point”

  39. A lot of people write “should of” instead of “should’ve”.

  40. A lot of people write “should of” instead of “should’ve”.

  41. Relatively new pronunciations that I hope don’t “take”:

    coo-unt (couldn’t)
    di-unt (didn’t)

  42. …bi-annual and semi-annual…
    bi-annual is every two years
    semi-annual is twice a year

  43. I’m glad to see a list that mentions the “hone in” abomination. My beef with it is that it doesn’t make any sense. “To home in on a beacon” makes sense, and so does “home in on a specific topic” — the phrase evokes a specific image. But anyone who knows what it means to hone a knife also knows there’s no way to “hone in on” a knife or anything else. 

  44. I’m glad to see a list that mentions the “hone in” abomination. My beef with it is that it doesn’t make any sense. “To home in on a beacon” makes sense, and so does “home in on a specific topic” — the phrase evokes a specific image. But anyone who knows what it means to hone a knife also knows there’s no way to “hone in on” a knife or anything else. 

  45. I’m glad to see a list that mentions the “hone in” abomination. My beef with it is that it doesn’t make any sense. “To home in on a beacon” makes sense, and so does “home in on a specific topic” — the phrase evokes a specific image. But anyone who knows what it means to hone a knife also knows there’s no way to “hone in on” a knife or anything else. 

  46. Is “preliminarily” a word?  Or should we use the word “preliminary” in the phrase.  I guess the same question could be asked of “momentarily” and “momentary”.

  47. Here’s one I see written a lot: should of… Please people, it’s “should have.”

  48. wish you had mentioned the most egregious error of the word “myself” when “me” should be used.

  49. How about Redundancies?

    “In one hour’s time”, rather than “in one hour”; an hour is a measurement of time and nothing else.
    Let’s look into his “past history”; All ‘history’ is in the ‘past’

    1. These embellishments grate on me.  And to show what a curmudgeon I am, “in my opinion” is overused.  In fact, exactly when is it useful?

      On a bad day, I’d even like to eliminate the expressions “obviously” and “no offense, but”.  Both say, “get ready to be insulted!”  But I digress.

  50. “The three presenters argued with one another over who should announce the award, but Ann and Barbara gave each other flowers after the ceremony.” — Shouldn’t you have used “whom”?

  51. The phrase that gets on my nerves is ” Back in the day”.  What day?  In the last day?!?  In the previous day?!?  The prehistoric day?!?  Which day?!?

  52. “Begs the question” is not about a circular argument.  It is used to point out a flaw in an argument or train of thought.  “Begs the question” means that the flaw in the argument practically “begs” to be solved.  Sheesh.

  53. Umm, when I say “mano a mano”, I figuratively mean just that–that we are going to go toe to toe, hand to hand in battle over an issue. 

  54. “24 Things you might be saying wrong” is the best I have seen in a long time.  News, sportscasters and others in the media would do well to read and heed these rules of the language.  

  55. “These ones”, when “these” is all you need.  “On accident” instead of “by accident”.  And, of course, “a whole nother”, which is now either written into scripts or not caught by the director!

  56. “These ones”, when “these” is all you need.  “On accident” instead of “by accident”.  And, of course, “a whole nother”, which is now either written into scripts or not caught by the director!

  57. “These ones”, when “these” is all you need.  “On accident” instead of “by accident”.  And, of course, “a whole nother”, which is now either written into scripts or not caught by the director!

  58. “These ones”, when “these” is all you need.  “On accident” instead of “by accident”.  And, of course, “a whole nother”, which is now either written into scripts or not caught by the director!

  59. Since we’re on the subject, can we add that “irregardless” is not a word?

  60. Since we’re on the subject, can we add that “irregardless” is not a word?

  61. It makes me nutty to read “should of” instead of “should have.”

  62. It makes me nutty to read “should of” instead of “should have.”

  63. It particularly irritates me to hear the word “reticent” used when the speaker really means “reluctant.” The two words are not synonyms. “Reticent” means reluctant to speak, as in “the politician was reticent about his recent love affair with his secretary.” You should not say “the boy was reticent about going to school” if what you really mean is “the boy was reluctant to go to school.” 

  64. I expected the article to have more humor.  But, irregardless, it was informative!
    I’ll leave it up to all as to which word creates a sensation similar to running your fingernails down a blackboard!

  65. The absolute worst is when people say ‘if I would have (known, gone, done, etc., etc.)  It is so awful – the correct grammar is ‘If I HAD KNOWN, or HAD GONE or HAD SEEN, etc.  PLEASE pay attention!  This is so improper and it is lazy!!!!

  66. Please spread the word regarding “laxadaisical.” 
    People have grown so lackadaisical with the misuse of that word that it’s now reached the point of 50-50 use/misuse…at best!

  67. You never need to say “reason why”;  the “why” is unnecessary unless you’re reciting Tennyson, in which case, “reason” is a verb, not a noun.

    1.  I may be wrong, but where I come from, you’re making a mistake on that one. Why would you “make a mistake,” but “take a decision”? This is probably an example of a regionalism; are you from England or some other country than the United States? I’ve never heard an American speak of “taking” a decision.

      1. I live in Alaska, still a  part of the United States. ‘Decision’ is a word which comes from middle- French which means “to cut off”. Taking a decision is “choosing between” 2 or more options, nothing is ‘made’. 
        So, you can “form an opinion” leading you to “take a decision” and hope you do not “make a mistake” in so doing. 

    2.  I may be wrong, but where I come from, you’re making a mistake on that one. Why would you “make a mistake,” but “take a decision”? This is probably an example of a regionalism; are you from England or some other country than the United States? I’ve never heard an American speak of “taking” a decision.

    3.  I may be wrong, but where I come from, you’re making a mistake on that one. Why would you “make a mistake,” but “take a decision”? This is probably an example of a regionalism; are you from England or some other country than the United States? I’ve never heard an American speak of “taking” a decision.

  68. how about when people in kansas say something like, “I need to drive up to texas ” or “i need to drive down to nebraska”  . thats bugs me like crazy. If you are headed to the south, you should say “down” and if you are headed to the north, you should say “up” .

  69. Also, one does not graduate high school; ond graduates from high school.

  70. You forgot you’re vs. your. Many people type your when they mean you’re

  71. You never mean: Could care less
    You always mean: Couldn’t care less—I disagree.
    Could care less is correct also.  It is said sarcastically, such as, ” I could care less what you think!”
    with emphasis on ‘less’, meaning that you really could NOT care less.

  72. When invited to a function such as a party, though, is the point of view the location of the function?  In other words, “I’ll bring dessert,” or, “Shall I bring the wine?”

  73. At risk of embarrassing myself, I don’t understand this pun: : “The charge that over is inferior to more than is a baseless crotchet.”

  74. Where I live, we don’t use whom.  Everybody uses ‘who’ like ‘whom’ doesn’t exist. 

    I know one guy that says ‘whom’, and when he does, it sounds weird. 

  75. What about exspecially (not a word?) vs. especially?  or Irregardless (not a word?) vs. Regardless?  Orientate vs. orient (verb)?

  76. I’m glad somebody still knows difference between ‘bring and take” I wish we could stop using ‘convince’ when we mean ‘persuade, ‘fault’ when we mean ‘blame’ and most of all ‘ I” when we mean ‘me”  Ogickas, a similiar one that gets to me is “What are you still doing here?’  Should be “What are you doing, still here?’ Or better, ‘ Why are you still here?”

  77. Texet-ed…I never text Ed.
    At about…it’s either at 8 o’clock or about 8 o’clock but will never be both.

  78.  I want to throw my telescope at the science documentaries on tv that continually use further instead of farther for distance…Saturn is FARTHER from Earth than Mars. The Brits use further for distance all the time, so it may be a regionalism on their part. However, Americans have no such excuse. Then there’s discrete and discreet. It’s a DISCREET encounter. Discrete means a fine gradation Arghhhhh! And then there are the folks that use an apostrophe and the plural s…toy’s for sale, boy’s and girl’s dance.

  79.  I want to throw my telescope at the science documentaries on tv that continually use further instead of farther for distance…Saturn is FARTHER from Earth than Mars. The Brits use further for distance all the time, so it may be a regionalism on their part. However, Americans have no such excuse. Then there’s discrete and discreet. It’s a DISCREET encounter. Discrete means a fine gradation Arghhhhh! And then there are the folks that use an apostrophe and the plural s…toy’s for sale, boy’s and girl’s dance.

  80. You might say “24 Things You might Say Wrong”.
    Interestingly enough, the headline of your article contains the very kind of errors you go on to correct.You should say:  “24 Things You might Say Incorrectly”.

  81. After reading this, I am going to drive on the parkway until I get home to park in the driveway.

  82. “Very unique”

    There are no levels of “uniqueness”.  You would never say, “that trinket is very one-of-a-kind.”

  83.  They forgot two of my biggest irritations–when someone says “invested” when they mean “vested” as in “By the power VESTED in me, I now pronounce you man & wife”, but instead I repeatedly hear people use the word ‘invested’ instead.  Another one is “Butt naked”.  No, it’s BUCK naked.

  84. So like she goes, “What’s your problem?”  And I’m like, “None uh your business.”

  85. Some of my pet peeves are using “would have” instead of “had”. I don’t know the grammatical rules, but I cringe when I hear people say things like, “If he would have listened to the directions…”, instead of, “If he had listened to the directions..”. Or, “If I would have known you were coming, I’d have baked a cake”, instead of “If I HAD known that you were coming, I would have baked a cake.”

  86. Some of my pet peeves are using “would have” instead of “had”. I don’t know the grammatical rules, but I cringe when I hear people say things like, “If he would have listened to the directions…”, instead of, “If he had listened to the directions..”. Or, “If I would have known you were coming, I’d have baked a cake”, instead of “If I HAD known that you were coming, I would have baked a cake.”

  87. Language is merely consensus, people.  The English spoken five hundred years ago sounds almost nothing like what we speak today because all of the mispronunciations, foreign influences, and all the other factors that influence language became so pervasive that they unavoidably went from being regarded as vulgar or incorrect to becoming a legitimate part of the language.  I’d so love to hear how English sounds five hundred years from now!

  88. More supposed “words”, misused and mispronounced words I hear  a lot.

    -kindergarden instead of kindergarten
    -liberry instead of library
    -spinage instead of spinach
    -Walmark instead of Walmart
    -then instead of than.  More then words…

    Saying you have a temperature, when you mean fever or elevated temperature..  Everyone has a temperature.

    -whole entire. As in: “I think this is the whole entire list”.  There are alot more… but I think I will end with that misspelling of a lot.  

  89. Asking a question: Where is it at?   You don’t need to add the word at.
    Correct: Where is it?

    1.  “Prolly” or “probly” instead of “probably”, “joo-lery” instead of “joo-well-ry”, “tempachur” instead of “temperature”. One of my favorite ways to confuse a child is the old “yes you can, but you may not” game.

       Also, if ignorance of proper use of language renders it obsolete, I give up.

  90. My pet peeve:  eager and anxious.  “I am anxious to see my boyfriend tonight.  We will have so much fun!”  Don’t you mean that you are “eager” to see your boyfriend?  Why would you be “nervous” “anxious” to see your boyfriend?  Wouldn’t you be “eager” “excited” to see him?

  91. ‘More than’ and ‘Over’ should not be used interchangeably. Over is a position as is under or beside. More than is a numerical expression used when quantities are being discussed.

    He threw his hat OVER the fence which was MORE THAN hundreds on the ground.

  92. Wow… irony… how about trying one of these – “24 Things You Might be Saying Incorrectly/Wrongly” or “24 Things You Might be Saying in a Manner that is Wrong”

  93. Unsurprisingly, the very title of this grammar tutorial contains the common grammatical error of confusing “may” with “might”. Usually the error is in the opposite direction, though. Dear Melissa and Paul, “might” is used in a hypothetical construction OR as the past form of “may”, neither of which is happening here.

  94. Ax
    Ash
    Ask
    Yo dog let me ax you a question. Hey, let me ash you something.
    What you really mean to say is, hey may I ask you sumpin?

  95. I receive telephone solicitation calls in which the caller wants to “ax” me a question. No sale, dumbo.

  96. How about the difference between “between” and “among?”  Or “different than” (comparative), not “different from?”

  97. I can’t believe it. Nobody mentioned my pet peeve. It is so widespread, I see it online daily. Many people use the word “of” instead of “have”. I think it comes from hearing the contractions could’ve, should’ve, would’ve, etc. It sounds like “could of” instead of “could have”, which is what the contraction means. I’ve seen this in otherwise well written pieces.

    1. This irks me to no end as well! I hate when people do this.

      I actually commented on this exact mistake before seeing your comment on it. I’m glad I’m not the only one that’s noticed this.

  98. Zackly, meaning his breath smells zackly like his bum! Example:  Obummy has a case of the zacklies!

  99. What about the biggie that I almost never hear said correctly, the phrase,  “in vogue”…it’s redundant…  “vogue” mean “in fashion.”  So if you’re saying “The dress is in vogue”…you’re really saying: “The dress is IN IN fashion.”  It should be said:  The dress is vogue.

  100. Re the article by Melissa DeMeo and Paul Silverman from Reader’s Digest | September 2010.

    24 Things You Might Be Saying Wrong.
     Did you mean to say:”24 things you might be saying wrongly”?  (adverb)

      I was also very disappointed to not see you  include the commonly misused words:  there, their, they’re.  Just a glance at professionally written articles every day in the media will show the misuse of these words.

  101. Its funny when someone tries to say that the others use of language is incorrect. Language evolves over time, and these self limiting rules are only built to make some people feel superior to others. Your systems of control get old to those who see through them.

  102. Its funny when someone tries to say that the others use of language is incorrect. Language evolves over time, and these self limiting rules are only built to make some people feel superior to others. Your systems of control get old to those who see through them.

  103. Uhh, how about the title?  It should read “24 Things You Might Be Saying WrongLY”  or “…Incorrectly” as someone else suggested.

    You guys should have covered this common error, where folks drop the “-ly” when saying things like “This article was written perfect.”

  104. Don’t forget the confusion between there, their and they’re, as well as to, too and two. 

  105. It’s amazing how many people want to spend time on a “desert” island instead of a deserted island.

  106. How about irregardless…hear this all the time…regardless of how incorrect it is!

  107. Since my boyhood I have been learning from Reader’s Digest.  How could I ever forget:  Quotable Quotes, and so many other words of wisdom.  Bravi!! Please keep up the wonderful work.  My sincere thanks and gratitude……Samir, NY

  108. The one that really gets me is ‘these ones’ when you should just say ‘these’.

  109. Holes in one?  So, if I get three holes in one, that would imply that I swung once, and got my ball in three holes.  Perhaps you mean, three hole-in-ones, which would indicate that a “hole-in-one” is a discrete thing, of which there can be more than one, as opposed to holes, which are multiple, and one, which is singular.

  110. In the example “the money that is on the table”  sounds much better when we drop ‘that is’ and simply say, “The money on the table is yours.”

  111. In the example “the money that is on the table”  sounds much better when we drop ‘that is’ and simply say, “The money on the table is yours.”

  112. I sincerely hope this is read by everyone.  There is a LOT of confusion out there and I am so tired of having my attention diverted from the real point of the conversation to a point of grammar

  113. Please stop saying (for-tay) when you mean (fort). Yes, they are both spelled “forte”, but they are not the same word. (Fort) is a personal strength, (For-tay) is a musical term. 

    Also, the correct phrase is “old stamping grounds” (as in the area of grass stamped down by animal hooves). You’re wrong if you say “old stomping grounds.”

    Just because “everyone uses it that way” doesn’t make it right. Common usage be damned, rules is rules. 

  114. Finally! I’m so glad I’m not the only person on the planet that still notices these things. For a while, I was worried that no one cared anymore!

    1. No…you are not the only person on the planet WHO still notices these things.  You are a WHO, not a THAT. 

  115. very helpful for a second language teacher like me..thanks so much!

  116. “Any more questions for Judi or I?”..

    It drives me nuts when people choose the case of their pronouns based on nothing more than “what sounds right”.

  117. Jewelry– not jewl-ery
    Realtor–not real-a-tor
    Realty—not real-a-ty

  118. But…the plural of “cul-de-sac” IS “culS-de-sac, so it isn’t an exception to that rule. Thanks, Gilmore Girls, for teaching me that!

  119. I suggest we all defer to the wisdom of Norm Crosby and Yogi Berra for these matters. 

  120. ‘None of us here is perfect’ NOT ‘None of us here are perfect’ . I feel saddened that an African like me  had to correct a Stanford English graduate!

  121. News reporters have replaced yes and no to a question with absolutely. Also, it appears that sunk has replaced sank in many articles and newscasts. “The ship sunk off the coast yesterday.” What’s going on? However, in day-to-day speech, it often sounds pretentious to end a sentence correctly by using “I” rather than “me.”

    1. Arizzo313, it depends on the sentence. Correct: “You are more talented than I” (am is understood). Incorrect: “They gave a party for Dan and I” (should be me). It’s true that the first sentence, which correctly ends with “I,” is correct, but sounds pretentious. Because of that, I usually add the understood “am.”

  122. I hate it when people pronounce “especially” as “ek-specially”. 

    1. What about when people say “just between you and I”. I hear this all the time on TV and movies. Using the nominative case after a prepositions is a no-no. It is such a give-away that the person using such as “she gave Bob and I a lecture on etiquette”.

      1. correction – preposition – sorry should have proofed it before posting

      2. correction – preposition – sorry should have proofed it before posting

      3. correction – preposition – sorry should have proofed it before posting

    2. What about when people say “just between you and I”. I hear this all the time on TV and movies. Using the nominative case after a prepositions is a no-no. It is such a give-away that the person using such as “she gave Bob and I a lecture on etiquette”.

    3. What about when people say “just between you and I”. I hear this all the time on TV and movies. Using the nominative case after a prepositions is a no-no. It is such a give-away that the person using such as “she gave Bob and I a lecture on etiquette”.

    4. What about when people say “just between you and I”. I hear this all the time on TV and movies. Using the nominative case after a prepositions is a no-no. It is such a give-away that the person using such as “she gave Bob and I a lecture on etiquette”.

    1. ‘Ain’t Nothing” is, of course, incorrect, but ‘ain’t’ is often used as slang for emphasis, by people who usually speak correctly.

  123. I might have titled this article “24 Things One Might Be Saying Wrongly”.

    -Ivy League a-hole
    @martykayzee:disqus 

  124. I might have titled this article “24 Things One Might Be Saying Wrongly”.

    -Ivy League a-hole
    @martykayzee:disqus 

  125. Love this! another pet peeve of mine is is the use of Historical when theny mean historic.  Current events (the election and inauguration of Pres. Obama, The capture of Bin Laden, etc) are not Historical, they are historic…

    Historic: 
    Famous or important in history, or potentially so

    Historical : 
    Of or concerning history; concerning past events.Belonging to the past, not the present.

  126. My favorite — Say “J C Penney”, not “J C Penny”.  Excuse me.  I write those, not say those.  When spoken, who can tell how it is spelled.

  127. My favorite — Say “J C Penney”, not “J C Penny”.  Excuse me.  I write those, not say those.  When spoken, who can tell how it is spelled.

  128. Oh, yes – it’s not k’laaa’meh’duh, it’s kil’o’meter.

    1. According to McMillan and American Heritage dictionaries, there is no long “o” in kilometer and the emphasis is on the second syllable.  Just sayin’.

  129. their/there/they’re; to/too; its/it’s, apostrophes where they don’t belong, not using an object after a preposition (between him and me, not between he and I), starting a sentence with “Me and him…” and a few others, like “could of” and “minus well” (might as well)… English can be such a beautiful language when it’s used correctly!

  130. It’s actually culs-de-sac, NOT cul-de-sacs.  It works the same as brothers-in-law.

  131. Here are several grammatical faux pas that I find a little annoying, mostly because they tend to make people sound uneducated.
    … using a preposition to end a sentence.
    “Let’s find out where we’re at.” [“Let’s find out where we are.”]
    … using a plural attributive adjective when gender is unknown.
    “Someone left their dog in the car.”
    [“Someone left his or her dog in the car.”]
    … the completely inexplicible pluralization of something that can’t possibly be plural.
    “This is your book. I’ve got mines.”

    1. I’m sorry, but “Someone left his or her dog in the car” sounds ridiculous. As long as he or she (see?) doesn’t spell it “they’re”, I’m not going to complain.

      1. I think, “he or she” sounds correct, not ridiculous. However, I appreciate your opinion.

        1. ‘His or her’ is correct, their is plural, and should not be used to indicate one person.. 

      2. Since the ownership of the dog is in question why not say “Someone left a dog in the car”?

  132. ‘vehicle’ is one of my “nails across a blackboard” .personal preference is vee-i-kl.  not vee-hi-kl.

  133. I’m from Ohio and I want to clearifiy the comment about pecans.  In refering to the nut, the proper pronounication is pe-con.  A pee-can is what we use on the boat to relieve ourselves.

  134. they missed my biggest pet peeve – The Phrase “these ones”…  As in “I want these ones here to be taken over there.”  its redundant….  These is sufficient… there is no need for “ones” to be added!

  135. they missed my biggest pet peeve – The Phrase “these ones”…  As in “I want these ones here to be taken over there.”  its redundant….  These is sufficient… there is no need for “ones” to be added!

  136. I’ve noticed recently that there are too many people using the work “peak” when they mean “peek.”  I’ve seen lots of references to “sneak peaks” relating to movies, gifts and the like.  “Peak” refers to the top of something, such as a mountain or a career path.  “Peek” refers to looking briefly, as in “peekaboo.”

  137. My biggest pet peeve is “irregardless”. IRREGARDLESS IS NOT A WORD! The word is just simply, “regardless”. I’ve heard countless people use this and it drives me crazy every time. Especially when it’s a college professor or a teacher.

  138. This is one anal retentive author here. I couldn’t care less how people use these cliches….

  139. Some have said we need to consider regional variations when dealing with pronunciation.  No, we don’t.  People pronounce words correctly or they don’t.  People use proper grammar or they don’t.

    I listen to audiobooks and notice that the number of narrators who pronounce words incorrectly in increasing.

    1. You are wrong. Pronunciations vary by region. So do words themselves. Go to England and “orientate” yourself.  Have some PE-can pie in Georgia and some chocolate “pe-CAN” ice cream in Ohio. Just because somebody does not pronounce a word the way you were taught does not make them wrong. 

      1. Indeed. Language isn’t fixed, but extremely dynamic. The pronunciation and meaning of words shift constantly over time. New words are created and old ones effectively die from disuse. The best we can say for correctness is, “this is the most common usage”. Oddly enough, it is the acknowledgement of this dynamic nature of language that makes me appreciate a thoughtful adherence to common standards: I hate the idea that, “This was like, so awesome” may someday be considered “correct”.

      2. No, you are only describing “speech impediments.”  The rules and pronunciations do not change just because you live near a lot of illiterate people.  There is no “orientate,” unless you didn’t pay attention.   As for PEcan,  it’s from the south,  where the accents are from mush-mouthed laziness and lack of education.    That is precisely why major universities have
        “remedial English” for those who had a bad education in English, or grew up in the south.
        You will not be employed in a Fortune 500 company if you sound “suthren.”

  140. There are actually 25 things, not 24. The title of the above article “24 Things You Might Be Saying Wrong” is, in itself, incorrect. “Wrong” is an adjective, as in “He’s the wrong man.” Hence, the ADVERB should be used here, making the correct statement to be “24 Things You Might Be Saying Wrongly.”  I guess the authors behaved badly!

    1. Well, if you have an English grammar or a dictionary, check it out and you’ll see that the word “wrong” is both and adjective and an adverb.  The authors can be bad at maths, but there is no grammar mistake.

  141. They missed:

    You never mean:  chomping at the bit
    You always mean:  champing at the bit

  142. Ensure: taking action so something will happen.

    Insure: taking out a policy

  143. irregardless – adding a negating prefix to a word does not give it emphasis, it makes sound like a fool.
    pet peeve – if something peeves you don’t keep it as a pet

  144. Or my personal favorite:  a ‘left- (or -right) hand turn.’  Turns, of course, don’t have hands.  You mean to say a ‘left (or right) turn.’  Or lane, or side…. well, you get the idea.

  145. Once I get started, I could write a book on this subject. Things like “could care less”, “anyways”, and that one where people double the “is”, can’t think of an example right now, are like fingernails on a chalkboard to my ear. Another one: “alls it is is”, or “alls I’m saying is”. People get offended if you correct them in any way, but I would welcome being informed if I’m saying something grammatically incorrect. There are ways to correct, but most people don’t want to think about speech before speaking. My own mother carries a grudge for decades when her ignorance is gently informed. I admit to being embarrassed when my children and grands laugh at some old-fashioned or regional speech patterns I use, and some I won’t change because it boils down to tomato-tomato ? thinking. But when it’s something that is saying the opposite of what we mean, we need to reconsider, at least. 

    1. Oh, I hate the double “is”.  I know exactly what you’re talking about and I’m making it my mission to come back here with an example.  Isn’t it funny how none comes to mind when you need it?  (None = Not one.  Singular, right?)

    2. Oh, I hate the double “is”.  I know exactly what you’re talking about and I’m making it my mission to come back here with an example.  Isn’t it funny how none comes to mind when you need it?  (None = Not one.  Singular, right?)

  146. People, mostly teens, can’t make a sentence without using “like”. I’m like…its like…shes like…
    You sound  as if you are from the west coast.  Nothing is “like”…it either is or it isn’t.  Even  supposedly educated adults are running it into the ground.  Ignorance runs rampant.

  147. People, mostly teens, can’t make a sentence without using “like”. I’m like…its like…shes like…
    You sound  as if you are from the west coast.  Nothing is “like”…it either is or it isn’t.  Even  supposedly educated adults are running it into the ground.  Ignorance runs rampant.

  148. People, mostly teens, can’t make a sentence without using “like”. I’m like…its like…shes like…
    You sound  as if you are from the west coast.  Nothing is “like”…it either is or it isn’t.  Even  supposedly educated adults are running it into the ground.  Ignorance runs rampant.

  149. This article is stupid and I could care less. Is this writer an English major. If not, he/she does not have the authority to tell people what they are saying wrong.

    1. Are YOU an english major? If not, you don’t have the authority to tell others that they don’t have the authority to tell others they are wrong.  You probably won’t understand that…

      1. No one receives an “authority badge” to correct others, and–believe it or not–some non-majors even know English rules! It’s a disconcerting sign of the times that too many people can’t use English properly.  I majored in two foreign languages but I most definitely know my mother tongue well enough to spot glaring errors.  

    2. Your second sentence should probably have a question mark, not a period.

  150. What about the improper use of “I?”. So often used in place of “me.”

  151. I hate these Grammar Nazis, they forget about regional variations and believe the world needs to follow their parochial orthodoxy.

    1. I agree with this point in abstract. I speak using different accents because I was raised in theater but some people really don’t know how strange an accent can sound to one who may be foreign to the region of it’s origin.

      While I will agree that the preservation of the patriotically orthodoxy may seem oppressing and threatening know this: That simply the English Language is composed of standards and rules that must be strictly observed and adhered to in their truest form.

      However, no one ever said the Nazis had to wipe everyone else out.

      With greatest respect to the colorful and charming nature of your regional variations!

      1.  Your use of “region of it’s (sic) origin”  contains a misspelling of its.

      2. Jewlery instead of jewelry. Also “I’m done”. Cakes are done, people are finished. Yak!

  152. Pet Peeve: Wanna-be editors who think it is improper to split an infinitive under any circumstances, when in fact the majority of modern English usage guides have dropped the objection to the split infinitive. So to them I say to boldly go where most grammar authorities have gone…..and get over it, fecause when you insist on never splitting an infinitive, you end up sounding like some rigid, pretentious English snob from the 19th century.

    1. Yes, I have finally been dragged kicking and screaming to the realization that English is always evolving.  At 60, I am learning to be flexible.

    2. I accept that split infinitives should no longer be considered to be incorrect. Nevertheless, they  sound awkward to me and I am reluctant to split infinitives myself. I do not think this makes me a rigid pretentious English snob from the 19th century. 
      In the same vein, I no longer inveigh against those who use the recently (c 1976) invented “centennial” as in “bicentennial”. Centenary and bicentenary, which have been in the language for about 400 years, which are used in the UK, and which were in general use in the United States until the bicentenary of the War of Independence, seem adequate to me, but no-one can stand in the way of linguistic developments.

  153. ‘Very unique’.  A thing is either unique or it isn’t, no need to qulify the description.

  154. Sorry, but above is wrong on more than and over: More indicates quantity. Over indicates location.

      1. Well, actually “wrong” is both an adjective and an adverb, according to Cambridge dictionary.

    1. I this has a lot to do with dialect and what part of the United States a person is from. Southern people tend to pronounce it as Qupon. I know I do.

      1.  I am from the south. I pronounce it coo-pon. Maybe certain parts of the south pronounce it Qupon. I’m from Mississippi, raised in Florida, and have lived in Texas most of my adult life.

      2.  I am from the south. I pronounce it coo-pon. Maybe certain parts of the south pronounce it Qupon. I’m from Mississippi, raised in Florida, and have lived in Texas most of my adult life.

  155. I hate those news reraders on TV who insist on pronouncing “international” as “innernational.”

    1. Yes, but I frequently see mano y mano or mano e mano which mean hand and hand in Spanish and, I think, Italian.

  156. Ironically, a “related video” below this article is titled “How to Eat Less Calories”.

  157. If I WERE (or is it if I WAS) … as in, “If I *were* a rich man …” (singing)

      1. CONJUGATING THE VERB “TO BE”: I WAS; YOU WERE; HE,SHE OR IT WAS.

        1. Correct, in the indicative mood.  “If I were” is in the subjunctive mood. 

  158. You also omitted my pet peeve – those who pronounce the word Nuclear, as Nuke-You-ler !
    LOOK at the spelling!   The word does NOT contain the letter ‘U’!

    1. Ugh, I agree! I’m surprised at how many people mispronounce this word, many of them well-educated. It boggles my mind!

    2.  I agree. That sounds like fingernails on a chalk board to me. My response is that if something is difficult to comprehend, does that mean that it’s unkular?

    3. I did look at the spelling; “Nuclear” does contain the letter ‘U.’

    4. Nemo,
      I think you should check out the second letter of the word nuclear.  It is a u.

    5. I know!  And don’t you also hate it when people pronounce “colonel” as if it has an “r” in it?

  159. You also omitted my pet peeve – those who pronounce the word Nuclear, as Nuke-You-ler !
    LOOK at the spelling!   The word does NOT contain the letter ‘U’!

  160. You forgot Just can’t when you mean, Can’t just. This one really gets to me.

  161. You forgot Just can’t when you mean, Can’t just. This one really gets to me.

    1. As in: you can’t just USE INCORRECT GRAMMAR IN THE TITLE OF AN ARTICLE ABOUT THE USE OF BAD GRAMMAR!! Unbelievable. Should be: ‘Saying INCORRECTLY’, not ‘Saying Wrong.’ Sheesh! They pay their copy editors?!

          1. Yes, “incorrectly” may be preferred, but Merriam-Webster says that “wrong” may be used as an adverb. 

          2. Yes, “incorrectly” may be preferred, but Merriam-Webster says that “wrong” may be used as an adverb. 

          1. I hope that was a joke.  Hopefully has been used incorrectly for years.Nance is correct.

      1.  Webster’s New Twentieth Century Dictionary, Unabridged (the bible of dictionaries, and, if you don’t have one, you should get one): wrong, adv., amiss; incorrectly; in a wrong manner, direction, etc. …. In other words, like “fast,” “wrong” can be either an adjective or adverb. I’d suggest you be a bit more careful before blasting someone for using incorrect grammar.

      2. Any publication,- from small town fishwrap to major metropolitan newspapers and nationaly distributed magazines, it never fails that I find simple errors that a third grader should be able to spot.

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