Common Phrases You Might Be Using Incorrectly

December 9, 2020 · CLASSMATES FUN

English can be a confusing language. There are words that sound alike but are spelled differently and have different meanings (called a homophone), like break/brake and sell/cell, and words that are spelled the same but have different meanings or pronunciations (a homonym), like bat, fair, or project.

And if that just isn’t confusing enough, we also run into common words and phrases that seem to make sense, but we’ve actually been mishearing them all along. Here are some examples of phrases we often use incorrectly.


It’s “Intents and purposes” and not “Intensive purposes”

“Intensive purposes” literally means “thorough purposes,” which doesn’t make sense, but “all intents and purposes” means “the reasons I did this and the outcomes,” which is probably what we’re trying to say.


It’s “Nip it in the bud” and not “Nip it in the butt”

We’re most likely not planning on biting somebody on their behind, which is what the second phrase refers to. “Nip it in the bud” is “to suppress or destroy something at an early stage.”


It’s “Deep-seated” and not “deep-seeded”

Although it’s possible for something to be planted deeply, it’s the term “deep-seated” that means “to fix firmly in place.”


It’s “Case in point” and not “Case and point”

“Case and point” refers to “case” and “point” being two different things, but we probably want to say “here’s an example I’m trying to make,” which is what the first phrase means.


It’s “I couldn’t care less” and not “I could care less”

This one is difficult. The former means “you care so little that it is impossible to care less (you don’t care at all)”, and the latter is “you do care, so there is room for you to care less.”


It’s “You’ve got another think coming” and not “You’ve got another thing coming”

The second phrase seems to make sense but isn’t actually correct. If you thought that it was, then you have another think coming.


It’s “A complete 180” and not “A complete 360”

We have to refer back to geometry for this one. A 360 degree turn means it’s coming all the way back around, whereas something that’s made a 180 degree turn has changed to the opposite side.


It’s “It’s a dog eat dog world” and not “It’s a doggy dog world”

The first phrase demonstrates that it’s a tough world out there, where dogs will eat other dogs. The second phrase sounds cute but doesn’t mean anything.


It’s “Regardless” and not “Irregardless”

Your autocorrect will help you with this one, as “irregardless” is hardly ever used correctly. Adding the suffix “less” means “without,” so “regardless” means “without regard,” or “no regard,” but the prefix “ir” means “no” and negates the phrase, so you’re adding the word “not” to a phrase that already says “no.”


It’s “Hunger pang” and not “Hunger pain”

This is one of the more surprising ones. It’s true that you can experience pain from being hungry, but the standard phrase is actually “hunger pang,”



Did any of these surprise you?