Stop Misusing These 7 Words and Phrases

I might spontaneously combust if I hear them one more time

Photo by Fausto García-Menéndez on Unsplash

I don’t know why some misused words and phrases irritate me so much, but they do. Sure, we all make mistakes from time to time, but some people seem to take a perverse delight in misusing certain words and phrases.

These are the misused words and phrases that irritate me the most.

1. Would of

I have a friend that says this all the time. And I mean… All. The. Time. Even though I’ve pointed out how wrong it is, she just doesn’t care. I’m beginning to wonder if she keeps saying it just to annoy me. It’s a possibility.

Would have” is the correct term. It can be shortened to would’ve. Maybe some people hear “would of” when someone says “would’ve”.

2. Pacific

There is nothing wrong with this word if you’re referring to the Pacific Ocean. However, I’ve heard quite a few people say it when they mean “specific”. They might say “Is there anything Pacific you want to discuss?“. Aaargh!

3. Advices

If you’re a regular reader on Medium, you are bound to have come across the misuse of this word in story titles. Here are a few samples:

  • The Best Advices By The Fashion Legend
  • Experts Offer Their Best Advices For Making 2022 Your Most Productive Year Ever
  • Best Advices for Forex trading

Where do I even begin? Advice is an uncountable noun. You should say “best advice for forex trading”, not “best advices for forex trading”.

4. For all intensive purposes

Guys, it’s “for all intents and purposes”. This is a phrase that means “essentially” or “in effect”. When spoken, the phrase may sound like “for all intensive purposes”, but that’s not an excuse to say or write it.

5. I could care less

This one really bugs me big time. People use this when they mean “I couldn’t care less”. If you couldn’t care less, your caring is at the lowest point. It can’t get any lower. You don’t care at all.

But if you say “I could care less”, that means it’s possible to care less than you do. In effect, you’re saying you do care. At least a little.

6. Irregardless

This is a strange one. The correct word to use is “regardless”. There is no such word as “irregardless”. But wait, it’s in the dictionary. Yes, that’s right. So many people misuse it that it’s now (wrongly) considered a word.

Maybe I just need to move with the times. Language is dynamic, not static. That means that new words are invented, some words disappear, some change meaning, etc.

7. Less

I often use this word when I mean “fewer”. It annoys me that I get this one wrong. But so many people get this wrong that I will just have to accept seeing it.

The rule here is that “fewer” is used when referring to things that can be counted (e.g. fewer people, fewer words), while “less” refers to things that can’t be counted (e.g. less sugar, less time).

Running this article through Grammarly was a nightmare. It wanted me to correct all the “mistakes” that are meant to be there. Grammarly certainly has its limitations.

Which misused words or phrases drive you crazy?

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