Though it may not be cool to speak and write well in today’s texting, tweeting, and Facebooking-obsessed society, there are still a proud few of us left who feel it’s a noble cause. So, let me take this opportunity to correct a few words and phrases that are consistently misused, misspelled and mispronounced—just humor me and I’ll jump off this soapbox before you can say “irregardless.”
For all intents and purposes: This phrase is commonly written and said as “for all intensive purposes.”
Regardless: At the risk of an onslaught of mockery and jokes from my best friends who know this is my ALL-TIME biggest grammar pet peeve, I still must right this wrong. Regardless IS a word—IRREGARDLESS IS NOT. Please, stop using this word for the sake of my sanity.
Spit and Image: I actually made this common mistake up until a couple years ago, but when describing the likeness between two people, most people say, “You are the spitting image of my sister.” In fact, the original phrase is spit and image.
I couldn’t care less:
Betty: So, you’re saying you don’t care at all?
Fred: No, I could care less.
So, Fred, you’re saying you DO care? What Fred meant to say was, “I COULDN’T” care less.” Saying, “I could care less,” actually negates your entire implication, so make this correction and start saying what you truly mean!
Often: Folks, please stop pronouncing the “t.” It’s not a matter of preference, it’s just plain wrong—the “t” is silent.
Would/Could/Should Have: OK, when saying these words in the contracted form, “should’ve/would’ve/could’ve,” the ‘ve sounds similar to “of,” but this is not correct.
The ‘ in should’ve is replacing the “ha” in “have,” so just because it sounds like “of,” it’s not, it’s “have.” So, my eyes would greatly appreciate it if they no longer had to read people write, “I should of gone to work today.”
Take vs. Bring: This is a very common, very tricky, grammar mishap. I often (with a silent “t”) see and hear these words used incorrectly.
Bring should be used when the action is coming to where you are located.
“Bring me a glass of water.”
“Bring that book to me.”
Take is used when you are moving the sentence’s action to another location.
“Take that book to Joe.”
“Take me to work.”
Remember this: You take out the trash and bring in the mail.
Free Rein: Free rein is referring to reins, like on a horse. Commonly, people write this as “free reign,” which refers to the time a queen or king spends ruling their kingdom.
February: It may seem clumsy as it rolls of the tongue, but that first “r” is there for a reason!
Prescription: PER-scription is not the correct way to say this—please note the order in which the “r” and “e” are written!
Espresso/Especially: Neither of these words contains an “x,” that is an “s!”
Probably: Let those lips bounce and say “Pro-bab-ly” instead of “Pro-bly” or “Prolly.” It’s actually a pretty fun word to say!
Oh, and the list goes on, but I’ll save some fun for another article!