11 Turns Of Phrase Commonly Misused

Monday, December 22 min read

It’s not always easy to hear things correctly the first time. Sometimes common phrases get bungled in transit, and we’re stuck saying them wrong for years. Here are some of the most common phrases that people say wrong — see how many you've been using incorrectly.

Nip it in the butt

It’s not a pleasant image when you put it that way. The actual phrase is "nip it in the bud," meaning to end something before it grows and gets out of hand. No butts involved.

On accident

It's correct to say "on purpose," so naturally "on accident" is the opposite, right? Wrong. The correct usage is "by accident."

I could care less

If you could care less about something, that means you still care about it. If you really want to tell someone how few rat tails you have to give, tell them you "couldn’t care less."

Could of

Yes, it may sound like "could of" when said out loud, but it’s spelled "could’ve." It’s a contraction of two words — could and have.

Worse comes to worse

If worse comes to worse, isn't that just the same thing? But if "worse comes to worst," then you can worry. Get in your bunker and prepare for the worst.

Deep seeded

This one kind of makes sense — a seed is planted deep in the ground. But the metaphor is still wrong. The correct phrase is "deep seated," to mean it’s rooted in place and likely hidden.

Do a 360

If you’re trying to change yourself, a 360 will land you right back at the starting position, as it's a full circle. If you’re trying to be different, try doing a 180.

Statue of limitations

While there’s no "statue" dedicated to limitations, there is a "statute (law) of limitations" that dictates how long justice can legally be served after a crime was committed.

Pawn off

This one is tricky because you could indeed get rid of unwanted items in a pawn shop. Except the correct usage is "palm off," and it means to trick someone into doing something so you don’t have to.

Hone In

Skills can be honed, but you can’t hone in on something. The term is "home in," like a homing pigeon bred to find its way home. If you’re homing in, you’re getting close to your goal.

Extract Revenge

If you want revenge on someone, you don’t want to extract it. You want to exact it. "Exacting revenge" means you demand your desire for revenge is satisfied.

Main photo credit: busracavus/ iStock

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