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12 Grammatical Errors Even Smart People Make

You may think you’re a stickler for all things grammar-related, but don’t be surprised if you realize you’re guilty of these tricky mistakes.

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couldn't careNicole Fornabaio/rd.com, shutterstock

I could care less

You probably mean “I couldn’t care less,” which means that you flat out don’t care at all. You care about whatever that thing is—say, grammatical errors—in the least possible amount. If you could care less, then you do care about grammatical errors a little bit, and it would technically be possible for you to care even less than you do now. Make sure you also avoid these grammar mistakes that editors hate the most.

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intents andNicole Fornabaio/rd.com, shutterstock

For all intensive purposes

People have started using this incorrect saying because it sounds just similar enough to the original expression, which is the cause of many grammatical errors. The correct expression, in this case, is “for all intents and purposes.” According toBusiness Insider, it came from an old English law that used the phrase “to all intents, constructions, and purposes” to mean “officially” or “effectively.” The condensed version we use today means “in every practical sense.” Here are 10 more sneakily similar word pairs that everyone screws up.

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case in pointNicole Fornabaio/rd.com, shutterstock

Case and point

Usually, you cite a specific case in order to make a point about something; they don’t happen simultaneously. That’s how you can remember that the correct expression of this sentiment: case in point. Yes, you still have to follow grammar rules on social media. These are the ones you can’t ignore.

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bareNicole Fornabaio/rd.com, shutterstock

Bear

You already know to use this spelling when writing about huge furry mammals of the grizzly or polar variety, but the difference between bare and the other definition of bear can be confusing. As an adjective, bare means not clothed or basic and simple. The verb bare means to uncover or expose something. Bear as a verb means to carry or hold up something for support. Here are some other grammar mistakes that are making you look bad.

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seatedNicole Fornabaio/rd.com, shutterstock

Deep-seeded

Sorry gardeners, this is the incorrect spelling of this adjective. The right way to describe something that is firmly established at a deep or profound level is deep-seated. If that dash confuses you, check out these 7 weird facts about punctuation marks you see everywhere.

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peaceNicole Fornabaio/rd.com, shutterstock

Piece of mind

This grammatical error is likely a combination of “piece of my mind” and the correct version of this phrase, “peace of mind.” The latter refers to a feeling of being safe and protected; it is an absence of worry. Check out these 10 hilarious typos that you won’t believe are real.

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piquedNicole Fornabaio/rd.com, shutterstock

Peaked my interest

Like many grammatical errors, this phrase seems perfectly normal. It means that your interest has reached its highest level, its peak, no? No, it doesn’t. The correct saying is “piqued my interest,” where “piqued” means “aroused or excited.” These are the 20 most confusing rules in the grammar world.

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thawNicole Fornabaio/rd.com, shutterstock

Unthaw

At first glance, you probably believe this word to mean “thaw out.” But let’s take a closer look. When something thaws, it gets warmer because it was previously cold or frozen. Unthaw, then, must mean the opposite; it’s making something get colder or re-freezing. The next time someone tells you to unthaw the chicken, just leave it in the freezer. Don’t miss these 15 things people say aren’t words (but they actually are).

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immigrateNicole Fornabaio/rd.com, shutterstock

Emigrate to

Whoever decided to make emigrate and immigrate such similar sounding words must have liked creating utter confusion. Emigrate means to leave one’s country for another, in other words, to come from somewhere. Immigrate means to come to another country, or to go somewhere else. Therefore, the phrase “emigrate to” makes no sense; you can only emigrate from a place. Likewise, you can only immigrate to a new country.

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Honed in

You may think you are honed in on your end-of-quarter presentation, but you’re not. You are homed in. “Hone” means to sharpen. Look out for these 7 common punctuation mistakes that make smart people look dumb.

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budNicole Fornabaio/rd.com, shutterstock

Nip it in the butt

The correct expression is nip it in the bud. Since nip means to pinch or bite, “nip it in the bud” means to suppress or end something at an early stage, just as a bud is an early stage of a flower. Why anyone would want to literally nip something or someone in the butt, we’re not sure. Another pain in the behind are these 11 spelling and grammar rules no one can agree on.

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espressoNicole Fornabaio/rd.com, shutterstock

Expresso

That strong coffee served in little cups you love so much is actually espresso, not expresso. Merriam-Webster says the misspelling came from the similarities between the Italian word “espresso” and the English word “express,” plus the “promise of coffee being prepared with relative swiftness in contrast to percolating devices.” However, “expresso” was used enough to be entered into the dictionary, even though it’s not what the drink was originally called. Next, make sure you correct these 9 spelling and grammar mistakes that even spell check won’t catch.