This week: Spellcheck Won't Save You From These Edited by: I like big books #2233315
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"We learn from failure, not from success!"
― Bram Stoker, Dracula
Common phrases are written and spoken incorrectly more often than some people realize.You'll probably recognize several of the phrases below but you'll see them written incorrectly all over the internet, even at respected sites. A little slip if a key and Prostate Cancer turns to Prostrate Cancer. (You'd be surprised to know how much this happens even on something as professional as the CDC website.) It's easy to miss words that are misspelled when automated checkers don't see anything wrong. Words like aisle and isle or even medical and medial can be easily missed (and are thousands of times). Heck, even a space in the wrong place can turn "does not" into "doe snot" But today I'd like to share half a dozen phrases for you to start with. Make sure you are using them correctly in your writing. In the comments why not share a phrase you see people commonly misuse.
I could care less
This is one of my most hated phrases. It's one that isn't just written but spoken incorrectly as well. "I couldn't care less" is what you should be saying to express complete apathy toward a person or situation. Using the incorrect version above implies you could care less which indicates that you still have care left to give.
This is actually more of a grammatical mistake but one made often enough that it's worth mentioning. The verb "emigrate" should be used with the preposition "from," at all times. The word immigrate is always used with the preposition "to." To emigrate means to come from another place, while to immigrate means to go to another place. What makes this confusing is the words essentially mean the same thing but how you choose them depends on the sentence. "Judy emigrated from Syria to the United States" means the same thing as "Judy immigrated to the United States from Syria." The difference is how the word is being used -- coming or going.
Slight of hand
"Sleight of hand" is a phrase you hear when people discuss magic and illusion. The word sleight originated from Middle English and means skill or dexterity. The wrong word is slight which is also derived from Middle English and when used as an adjective means of little importance, as a noun (how it's used here) means a discourtesy or in other words, being rude on purpose.
This mistake makes me laugh. It conjures up a bizarre visual in my head of someone eating fish bait. The correct word should be "bated" which is an adjective that shows suspense. Originating from the verb "abate," it means to stop or lessen. As you can see, "to wait with bated breath" makes more sense because it means to hold your breath with anticipation. The verb "bait," on the other hand, means to trap, or tease someone. The noun version is what I pictured as used when a person fishing baits his line to catch a fish. There are clearly two completely different meanings when you use the incorrect form of the word.
Piece of mind
This one makes me chuckle too as it gives me the visual image of someone handing out small morsels of his brain. Clearly this should be peace which means a state of harmony or serenity. I definitely prefer the correct visual versus someone slicing up parts of my brain as gifts.
This one is confusing for many people as it almost looks as if it's correct. The correct phrase is a business term that really means to investigate and do your homework before signing your name on the bottom line. To do diligence sounds like you are working diligently. Some people would say, same thing, right? No, it's not. "Due diligence" is a legal term and before engaging in a business deal you should do your due diligence and make sure the person or business is what it seems to be.
I hope you found these interesting! How many did you already know?
Write and Review on! ~ Brooke
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