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Commonly misused phrases
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Ataahua
Superuser / Moderator


May 23 2012, 11:16pm

Post #1 of 187 (2941 views)
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Commonly misused phrases Can't Post

This article is in our staff magazine and I thought the word-lovers among us would appreciate it.

Here is a short list of well-known phrases that are often repeated inaccurately or with with a key word misspelled. (Have you come across any others? Are there differences between countries?)

1. Hunger Pangs
Although hunger may indeed cause discomfort, there’s no such thing as a ‘hunger pain’. Hunger pangs, on the other hand, are the gnawing, severe muscle contractions that signal it’s time for dinner.

2. Whet Your Appetite
You might want to satisfy those hunger pangs with a tasty beverage, but ‘wetting your appetite’ is incorrect. To whet one’s appetite means to sharpen it, such as using a whetstone to sharpen or hone a knife.

3. For All Intents and Purposes
Not ‘all intensive purposes’, no matter how thorough those purposes might be.

4. Couldn’t Care Less
You care not one little bit, making a lesser level of caring impossible; whereas if you ‘could care less’, you do care at least a little bit, which is the opposite of the point you’re making.

5. Pique My Curiosity
To pique means to prick or stimulate, which is not to be confused with the homonyms peak (meaning apex) or peek (meaning glimpse).

6. With Bated Breath
‘Bated’ is a shortened form of ‘abated’, meaning held off or postponed. I would only bait my breath if I thought eating tuna then breathing out would lure in a cat.

7. Sleight of Hand
Although magicians might have slight hands with nimble and slender fingers, their art is called ‘sleight of hand’, which means deceit or dexterity.

8. Cut Your Coat According to Your Cloth
Sure you can just cut your cloth, but wouldn’t you rather make something out of the material?

9. Proof of the Pudding is in the Eating
This is often shortened to proof of the pudding which, while still correct, is annoyingly non-specific.

10. Hold the Fort
You do not ‘hold down the fort’ unless the fort is inflatable and it’s a windy day.

11. Champing at the Bit
If you don’t stop ‘chomping at the bit’ you’ll chew right through it – whereas champing means you’re impatient due to delay or restraint.

12. Change of Tack
While a socially awkward person might have a ‘change of tact', a person who tries a new approach will ‘change their tack’ (just like a yachtie does when sailing).

Celebrimbor: "Pretty rings..."
Dwarves: "Pretty rings..."
Men: "Pretty rings..."
Sauron: "Mine's better."

"Ah, how ironic, the addictive qualities of Sauron’s master weapon led to its own destruction. Which just goes to show, kids - if you want two small and noble souls to succeed on a mission of dire importance... send an evil-minded b*****d with them too." - Gandalf's Diaries, final par, by Ufthak.


Ataahua's stories


Annael
Half-elven


May 23 2012, 11:22pm

Post #2 of 187 (1884 views)
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that doesn't faze me [In reply to] Can't Post

but I may just be going through a phase Wink

The way we imagine our lives is the way we are going to go on living our lives.

- James Hillman, Healing Fiction

* * * * * * * * * *

NARF and member of Deplorable Cultus since 1967


Hamfast
Rohan


May 23 2012, 11:27pm

Post #3 of 187 (1808 views)
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I know i'm guilty of using [In reply to] Can't Post

# 5 and 7 Blush

That was cool Ataahua, I learned something !


Hamfast
Rohan


May 23 2012, 11:37pm

Post #4 of 187 (1872 views)
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OMG I just did this.... [In reply to] Can't Post

or is that why you remember it ? We were discussing scary movies and I mentioned that all of this scary stuff doesn't phase me....LaughLaughLaugh

I didn't catch it until after the edit window slammed shut. I'm such a loser.


Longbottom Leaf
Rivendell


May 24 2012, 12:41am

Post #5 of 187 (1850 views)
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This was quite interesting.... [In reply to] Can't Post

and humorous. Thanks! It's funny how we use these incorrect common phrases sometimes without actually thinking about them. I'm guilty of #3 and now that I see it it seems so obvious. I guess I'm just a sheep in the ways of the phrase ha!

The best weed in the southfarthing!


Compa_Mighty
Tol Eressea


May 24 2012, 1:00am

Post #6 of 187 (1820 views)
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Thanks for that! Really interesting! // [In reply to] Can't Post

 

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Magpie
Immortal


May 24 2012, 1:57am

Post #7 of 187 (1856 views)
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I do pretty well with those [In reply to] Can't Post

although, I have to look up 'tack' to make sure I get it spelled correctly. I even got a compliment on an old post where I used 'bated breath' for getting it right.

It's a spelling thing.. not a phrase thing... but I always look up jibe - as in, two things that agree - to make sure I spell it right.

I probably say 'hold down the fort'.

One that people get wrong a lot - although it's a different category - is to substitute 'of' for the contraction 've. So would've becomes would of. Someone just made a joke on imdb that it was about time we joined the masses (that make that mistake) and made it Lord've the Rings.


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SirDennisC
Half-elven


May 24 2012, 2:16am

Post #8 of 187 (1826 views)
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"Anchors aweigh" not "anchors away" // [In reply to] Can't Post

 


Delrond
Rohan


May 24 2012, 2:31am

Post #9 of 187 (1793 views)
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Hot water heater. [In reply to] Can't Post

I'd say it's just a water heater. When the water is heated to "hot", it shuts off. If it didn't, you would have a steam generator, and a very dangerous one at that.

A few harmless flakes working together can unleash an avalanche of destruction.


Silverlode
Forum Admin / Moderator


May 24 2012, 2:33am

Post #10 of 187 (1803 views)
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Oh, "could of" drives me nuts. [In reply to] Can't Post

Along with "pouring" over documents instead of poring over them. And I just saw someone on another site lamenting our nation's "deep seeded" issues, instead of our deep seated ones. *sigh* I guess most people have not been taught the context or meaning of a lot of these and so just go by ear.

Silverlode

"Of all faces those of our familiares are the ones both most difficult to play fantastic tricks with, and most difficult really to see with fresh attention. They have become like the things which once attracted us by their glitter, or their colour, or their shape, and we laid hands on them, and then locked them in our hoard, acquired them, and acquiring ceased to look at them.
Creative fantasy, because it is mainly trying to do something else [make something new], may open your hoard and let all the locked things fly away like cage-birds. The gems all turn into flowers or flames, and you will be warned that all you had (or knew) was dangerous and potent, not really effectively chained, free and wild; no more yours than they were you."
-On Fairy Stories


Ataahua
Superuser / Moderator


May 24 2012, 2:54am

Post #11 of 187 (1819 views)
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LOL! [In reply to] Can't Post

I haven't come across 'deep seeded' before! I wonder if he thinks these deep-seeded issues will grow into problems if not nipped in the bud? Sly

Celebrimbor: "Pretty rings..."
Dwarves: "Pretty rings..."
Men: "Pretty rings..."
Sauron: "Mine's better."

"Ah, how ironic, the addictive qualities of Sauron’s master weapon led to its own destruction. Which just goes to show, kids - if you want two small and noble souls to succeed on a mission of dire importance... send an evil-minded b*****d with them too." - Gandalf's Diaries, final par, by Ufthak.


Ataahua's stories


Annael
Half-elven


May 24 2012, 3:05am

Post #12 of 187 (1824 views)
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it wasn't you who piqued my response [In reply to] Can't Post

I've caught a peek of this same mistake in the writings of many a person.

I blame Star Trek.

The way we imagine our lives is the way we are going to go on living our lives.

- James Hillman, Healing Fiction

* * * * * * * * * *

NARF and member of Deplorable Cultus since 1967

(This post was edited by Annael on May 24 2012, 3:08am)


Elberbeth
Tol Eressea


May 24 2012, 3:08am

Post #13 of 187 (1804 views)
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That was great! [In reply to] Can't Post

I fear for the state of the English language sometimes, especially reading 'comments' on the Net. And I'd like to be on the grammar police sometimes.

"There are some things that it is better to begin than to refuse, even though the end may be dark."


Elberbeth
Tol Eressea


May 24 2012, 3:09am

Post #14 of 187 (1769 views)
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Oh, and what about 'flaunt' and 'flout'?// [In reply to] Can't Post

 

"There are some things that it is better to begin than to refuse, even though the end may be dark."


Eowyn of Penns Woods
Valinor


May 24 2012, 3:12am

Post #15 of 187 (1844 views)
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*weeps, wails, gnashes teeth, pulls out a few hairs* Find a happy place! Find a happy place! [In reply to] Can't Post

Any room in the asylum for another? ;)

**********************************


NABOUF
Not a TORns*b!
Certified Curmudgeon
Knitting Knerd
NARF: NWtS Chapter Member since June 17,2011


Morthoron
Gondor


May 24 2012, 3:24am

Post #16 of 187 (1821 views)
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For all intensive purposes... [In reply to] Can't Post

This is a mute point, but we must not take it for granite. Sometimes what we say doesn't jive with what we mean and we redundantly repeat the same thing over and over again. Irregardeless, there is no escape goat and we must tow the line. There is no free rain when it comes to good grammer. We must hone in on what others say to, because it takes two to tangle.

Please visit my blog...The Dark Elf File...a slighty skewed journal of music and literary comment, fan-fiction and interminable essays.



zarabia
Tol Eressea


May 24 2012, 3:29am

Post #17 of 187 (1758 views)
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Misteaks, I've maid a few... but then again, two few too mention ;) [In reply to] Can't Post

I don't think I've committed any of these mistakes, but goodness nose, I've maid many a mistake in my thyme. I usually no better, but I sometimes get in a hurry, or else I right while distracted. Precise expression is important, but its possible that sometimes in worrying two much about details, we may not give free rain too are thoughts. Wink



zarabia
Tol Eressea


May 24 2012, 3:51am

Post #18 of 187 (1755 views)
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This thread was a great ideal ;) [In reply to] Can't Post

I used to work with a woman who would always say, "What a good ideal!" She was such a sweet woman, but it took all my will power to not scream, "Good idea! It was a good IDEA, not ideal!"


Ataahua
Superuser / Moderator


May 24 2012, 4:13am

Post #19 of 187 (1715 views)
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Oh well done. [In reply to] Can't Post

You may be Evil, but you use your Evil for good. :D

Celebrimbor: "Pretty rings..."
Dwarves: "Pretty rings..."
Men: "Pretty rings..."
Sauron: "Mine's better."

"Ah, how ironic, the addictive qualities of Sauron’s master weapon led to its own destruction. Which just goes to show, kids - if you want two small and noble souls to succeed on a mission of dire importance... send an evil-minded b*****d with them too." - Gandalf's Diaries, final par, by Ufthak.


Ataahua's stories


Radhruin
Rohan


May 24 2012, 4:24am

Post #20 of 187 (1825 views)
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Can anyone tell me where [In reply to] Can't Post

"Speaking to" an issue originated?

As in "I can/can't speak to that".

I hear it so often on Public Radio, and it confuses me. This phrase is so pervasive in radio, or at least public radio. Where did it originate? I would love to hear why it is used so often, and where I am wrong in cringing when I hear it.

It seems as though "I can't comment on that", or "I agree/disagree with that" would suffice. What does it mean to "speak to" something, grammatically?

Great list! The words pang, whet, sleight, bate, and tack are likely to make even an English major twitch.

Words are wonderful, use them wisely. (I fail quite often, but I love learning)


Eowyn of Penns Woods
Valinor


May 24 2012, 4:34am

Post #21 of 187 (1720 views)
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You're not alone. // [In reply to] Can't Post

 

**********************************


NABOUF
Not a TORns*b!
Certified Curmudgeon
Knitting Knerd
NARF: NWtS Chapter Member since June 17,2011


Starling
Half-elven


May 24 2012, 5:15am

Post #22 of 187 (1761 views)
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I can't tell you where it came from, but I know where I'd like to put it [In reply to] Can't Post

I'll speak to that one.
If there's one phrase I cannot stand, it's the above.
It is very common in the education sector here, and I absolutely hate it. Mad
People I work with are getting used to me rolling my eyes when someone says, "I'll talk to that report" or "I am going to speak to that achievement summary". I have been known to suggest that they talk about it instead. Or I may ask them if the report is going to talk to them, and whether the rest of us may join their conversation. Crazy


Starling
Half-elven


May 24 2012, 5:18am

Post #23 of 187 (1758 views)
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Well, I would of mentioned that one [In reply to] Can't Post

because it drives me crazy too. But you all of beaten me to it.
I think I have some sort of deep seeded issue.


Nienna
Rohan


May 24 2012, 6:26am

Post #24 of 187 (1785 views)
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You really shouldn't encourage me like this! [In reply to] Can't Post

My pet peeves aren't phrases, just words. For example:

The guy has prostrate cancer (I bite my tongue to keep quiet!)

They're playing the State of Oregon (this is a NZ/Aussie one - it's the players' State of Origin)

And the one that really annoys me is when I've said that a person hanged himself and people correct me saying that he hung himself - where on the wall?
Evil


dormouse
Half-elven


May 24 2012, 7:06am

Post #25 of 187 (1815 views)
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Not a phrase, but a word... [In reply to] Can't Post

... which I keep coming across online and it catches me out every time..

Coworker

I know it's correct - well, I suppose it is. I know it's 'co-worker' but I just can't read it like that. Every time I see it written down I read cow-orker and think - 'what???'

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