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12 Commonly Misused Phrases

By Nkem Egenuka on Wed, 15/03/2017 - 17:15

So many of us are so used to wrong expressions, we do not even know they are wrong and we do not know the right one.

Here is a list of some common mistakes we make when speaking. The left is incorrect while the right is correct.


1. ‘Wreck havoc’ and ‘Wreak havoc’

A lot of people are so used to saying ‘wreak havoc’ but the correct phrase is ‘wreak havoc’

2. ‘Nip it in the butt’ and ‘Nip it in the bud’

To nip something in the bud means ‘to quickly put an end to something before it starts. Nipping something in the butt means you’re biting its behind.

3. ‘I could care less’ and ‘I couldn’t care less’

That one could care less about a something implies that he or she cares about it at least a little. Whereas you mean is that you don’t care at all. Therefore“I couldn’t care less” is the correct one.

4. ‘Hunger Pain’ and ‘Hunger Pangs’

The correct phrase is ‘hunger pangs’.

5. ‘One in the same’ and ‘One and the same’

The correct phrase is “one and the same” because it means that two things are the same.

6. ‘You have got another thing coming’ and ‘You have got another think coming’

The correct version only makes sense if you use the entire sentence. Which is“if that is what you think, you have got another think coming.”

How it works:

a)     You think something.

b)     Someone thinks you are wrong

c)     You have another think coming

7. 'For all intensive purposes' and 'For all intents and purposes'

The correct phrase means that you are covering all possibilities and circumstances. Therefore, it is ‘for all intents and purposes’

This phrase means that a person is covering all possibilities and circumstances.

8. 'Extract revenge' and 'Exact revenge'

To extract something, means you are taking it out of something else. When you exact onto something, you are administering. ‘Exacting revenge’ on someone means taking your revenge out on someone.

9. 'Old timer's disease' and 'Alzheimers disease'

This is a mistake we make because of our ignorance. The correct one is Alzheimer’s disease.

10. 'I am giving you a leadway' and 'I am giving you a leeway'

Leeway means extra space and freedom, while Leadway is not a word. The correct one is ‘ I am giving you a Leeway.

11. 'Scotch free' and 'Scot Free'

The correct one is ‘Scot-free’ because it means ‘without suffering any punishment or injury.

12.‘Out on a whim’  and ‘Out on a limb’

Out on a limb is the correct one and it means to be isolated.






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