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15 Commonly Misspelled Phrases

15 Commonly Misspelled Phrases

There are many phrases floating around out there in which a vital word has been misspelled, thus either changing the entire meaning of the sentence, or rendering it unintelligible. Generally, it’s because the word chosen sounds very similar to the one that should have been used, and is a more commonly used term as well, but it’s important to know what the correct expressions are so you don’t end up looking like an illiterate hack. Here are a few of the more common errors so you can familiarize yourself with them:

“This peaked my interest”

The proper phrase should be: “this piqued my interest”. Although the words peak, peek, and pique all sound the same (hooray for homophones!), they all mean very different things. You can peek around the corner or climb to the peak of a mountain, but if your curiosity has been piqued, it has been aroused or excited.

“Waiting with baited breath”

Unless you’re sitting there with a herring tucked into your cheek with the hope of attracting a pike, you’ll want to use “bated breath” instead. “Bated” means “reduced in force or amount”, like holding your breath because you’re anxious to hear an election result or similar.

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Chomping at the bit”

Although this does make sense in a way, the phrase should be “champing at the bit”. This refers to a horse gnawing noisily upon the bit in its mouth because it’s eager to go and run, but it’s being held back for some reason or another.

“A Fragrant Error”

Unless you’re referring to a miscalculation of proportions when creating perfume, you probably mean “a flagrant error” instead. “Fragrant” refers to something having an odour or scent, while something “flagrant” is horrendous, and not easily ignored. As an example, accidentally emailing your boss a scan of your backside would be a flagrant error.

Low and Behold”

That should actually be “lo and behold”, implying that something was a surprise to see. “Low” refers to either the sound a cow makes, or the state of not being elevated.

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Flaunt the Law”

This one only comes up on occasion, but it’s giggle-worthy. To “flaunt” means to show off, while to “flout” means to break openly, as in to break rules. Thus, the correct expression is “flout the law”.

“Given Free Reign”

Although kudos should be given for using “reign” in a sentence, the correct phrase is “given free rein“: this has to do with horses, namely letting their reins loose so they can gallop around happily without restriction.

Rye Smile”

One would assume that someone wouldn’t give a huge, toothy grin after taking a nice big bite of their rye sandwich, considering the mouthful of bread bits and such. The expression that should be used here is a “wry smile”, i.e. one that is bent or twisted out of shape, usually due to irony.

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“Nip It in the Butt

Please refrain from taking a bite out of anyone’s rear end. If you nip something “in the bud“, it means that you stopped it before it was able to grow to its full potential, like cutting off a rose bud before it opens into full bloom.

“Taken for Granite

What, someone mistook you for a lump of stone? How terribly unfortunate. The correct phrase should be “taken for granted“, which refers to not appreciating a person or situation because you assume they (or it) will always be available.

Escape Goat

I came across this one recently and nearly choked to death. Unless someone is referring to a goat that they have trained to be a ruminant Harry Houdini, they probably mean “scapegoat” instead.  Way back when, the Jewish people would choose a goat at Yom Kippur and symbolically place the sins of all the people in the village upon its head. The goat would then be kicked out of town to wander in the wilderness, taking everyone’s sins along with it.

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Statue of Limitations”

The expression above may describe a sculptural installation that depicts the extent to which special-needs folks may be allowed to succeed, and no-one wants to see that kind of art anywhere. This phrase should be the “Statute of Limitations”, referring to an enactment that sets the maximum time after an event that legal proceedings based on said event may be initiated. For example, there is no statute of limitations on murder.

“No Holes Barred”

Really? What is this—an adventurous escort’s menu list? The correct phrase is “no holds barred”, referring to not having any restrictions. I believe this expression hails from the wrestling world, in which a “no-holds-barred match” is one in which all grips and holds are permitted.

“Shakespeare Was a Great Playwrite

You know, I can understand why this one keeps popping up, as the great bard did in fact write all of those plays, but no: the correct term is playwright. The word “wright” comes from the Old English wrytha, which meant “maker”, thus a wheelwright is a person who makes wheels, and a playwright is someone who makes plays.

“…Sing a Little Diddy

Um, no. The word that should be used here is “ditty“, as that word refers to a short little song. A “little Diddy” may refer to a very diminutive Sean Combs, but no-one wants to think about that at all.

Now that you’re more aware of what the correct terms should be, you can yell at others for misusing them.

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Catherine Winter

Catherine is a wordsmith covering lifestyle tips on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on March 30, 2020

What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

Have you ever walked into a room and felt like your nerves simply couldn’t handle it? Your heart beats fast, you start to sweat, and you feel like all eyes are on you (even if they’re really not). This is just one of the many ways that being self-conscious can rear its ugly head.

You may not even realize you’re self-conscious, and you may be wondering, “What does self-conscious mean?” That’s a good place to start.

This article will define self-consciousness, show how practically everyone has faced it at one point or another, and give you tips to avoid it.

What Does Self-Conscious Mean?

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, self-conscious is defined as “conscious of one’s own acts or states as belonging to or originating in oneself.”[1]

Not so bad, right? There’s another definition, though — one that speaks more to what you’re going through: “feeling uncomfortably conscious of oneself as an object of the observation of others.” For those of us who regularly deal with extreme self-consciousness, that second definition sounds about right.

There are many different ways self-consciousness can spring up. You may feel self-conscious around people you know, like your family members or closest friends. You may feel self-conscious at work, even though you spend hours every week around your co-workers. Or you may feel self-conscious when out in public and surrounded by strangers. However, you probably don’t feel self-conscious when you’re home alone.

How to Stop Being Too Self-Conscious

When you’re in the throes of self-consciousness, it’s nearly impossible to remember how to stop feeling that way. That’s why it’s so important to prepare ahead of time, when you’re feeling ready to tackle the problem instead of succumbing to it.

Here are a variety of ways to feel better about yourself and stop thinking about how others see you.

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1. Ask Yourself, “So What?”

One way to banish negative, self-conscious thoughts is to do just that: banish them.

The next time you walk into a room and feel your face getting red, think to yourself, “So what?” How much does it really matter if people don’t like how you look or act? What’s the worst that could happen?

Most of the time, you’ll find that you don’t have a good answer to this question. Then, you can immediately start assigning such thoughts less importance. With self-awareness, you can acknowledge that your negative thoughts are present and realize that you don’t agree with them.[2] They’re just thoughts, after all.

2. Be Honest

A lie that self-consciousness might tell is that there’s one way to act or feel. Honestly, though, everyone else is just figuring life out as well. There isn’t a preferred way to show up to an event, gathering, or public place. What you can do is be honest with your feelings and thoughts.[3]

If you feel offended by something someone says, you don’t have to smile to be polite or laugh to fit in with the crowd. Instead, you can politely say why you disagree or excuse yourself and find a group of people who you relate to better. If you’re nervous, don’t overcompensate by trying to look relaxed and casual — it’ll be obvious you’re putting on a front. Instead, nothing is more endearing than saying, “I’m a little nervous!” to a room of people who probably feel the exact same way.

On the same note, if you don’t understand why someone wants you to do something, question it. You can do this at work, at home, or even with people you don’t know well. Nobody should force you to do something you don’t want to do.

Also, even if you’re willing to do what’s asked of you, there’s nothing wrong with asking for more clarification. People will realize that you’re not a person to be bossed around.

3. Understand Why You’re Struggling at Work

Being self-conscious at work can get in the way of your daily responsibilities, your relationships with co-workers, and even your career as a whole. If you’re facing some sort of conflict but you’re too nervous to speak up, you may be at the whim of what happens to you instead of taking some control.

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If you’re usually confident at work, you may be wondering where this new self-consciousness is coming from. It’s possible that you’re dealing with burnout.[4] Common signs are anxiety, fatigue and distraction, all of which can leave you feeling under-confident.

4. Succeed at Something

When you create success in your life, it’s easier to feel confident[5] and less self-conscious. If you feel self-conscious at work, finish the project that’s been looming over your head. If you feel self-conscious in the gym, complete an advanced workout class.

Exposing yourself to what you’re scared of and then succeeding at it in some way (even just by finishing it) can do wonders for your self-esteem. The more confidence you build, the more likely you are to have more success in the future, which will create a cycle of confidence-building.

5. Treat All of You — Not Just Your Self-Consciousness

Trying to solve your self-consciousness alone may not treat the root of the problem. Instead, take a well-rounded approach to lower your self-consciousness and build confidence in areas where you may struggle.

Even professional counselors are embracing this holistic type of treatment[6] because they feel that the health of the mind and body are inextricably linked. This approach combines physical, spiritual, and psychological components. Common activities and treatments include meditation, yoga, massage, and healthy changes to diet and exercise.

If much of this is new to you, it will pay to give it a try. You never know how it will impact you.

If you’re feeling self-conscious about how your body looks, a massage that makes you feel great could boost your confidence. If you try a new workout, you could have something exciting to talk about the next time you’re in a group setting.

Putting yourself in a new situation and learning that you can get through it with grace can give you the confidence to get through all sorts of events and nerve-wracking moments.

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6. Make the Changes That Are Within Your Control

Let’s say you walk into a room and you’re self-conscious about how you look. However, you may have put a lot of time and effort into your outfit. Even though it may stand out, this is how you have chosen to express yourself.

You have to work on your internal confidence, not your external appearance. There’s nothing to change other than your outlook.

On the other hand, maybe there’s something that you don’t like about yourself that you can change. For example, maybe you hate how a birthmark on your face looks or have varicose veins that you think are unsightly. If you can do something about these things, do it! There’s nothing wrong with changing your appearance (or skills, education, etc.) if it’s going to make you more confident.

You don’t have to accept your current situation for acceptance’s sake. There’s no award for putting up with something you hate. Confidence is also required to make changes that are scary, even if they’re for the better. Plus, it may be an easier fix than you thought. For example, treating varicose veins doesn’t have to involve surgery — sometimes simple compression stockings will take care of the problem.[7]

7. Realize That Everyone Has Awkward Moments

Everyone has said something awkward to someone else and lived to tell the tale. We’ve all forgotten somebody’s name or said, “You too!” when the concession stand girl says to enjoy our movie. Not only are these things uber-common, but they’re not nearly as embarrassing as you feel they are.

Think about how you react when someone else does something awkward. Do you think, “Wow, that person’s such a loser!” or do you think, “What a relief, I’m not the only one who does that.” Chances are good that’s the same reaction others have to you when you stumble.

Remember, self-consciousness is a state of mind that you have control over. You don’t have to feel this way. Do what you need to in order to build your confidence, put your self-consciousness in perspective, and start exercising your “I feel awesome about myself” muscle. It’ll get easier with time.

When Is Being Self-Conscious a Good Thing?

Self-consciousness can sometimes be a good thing[8], but you have to take the awkwardness and nerves out of it.

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In this case, “self-aware” is a much better term. Knowing how you come off to people is an excellent trait; you’ll be able to read a room and understand how what you do and say affects others. These are fantastic skills for people work and personal relationships.

Self-awareness helps you dress appropriately for the occasion, tells you that you’re talking too loud or not loud enough, and guides a conversation so you don’t offend or bore anyone.

It’s not about being someone you’re not — that can actually have adverse effects, just like self-consciousness. Instead, it’s about turning up certain aspects of yourself to perform well in the situation.

Final Thoughts

When you’re self-conscious, you’re constantly battling with yourself in an effort to control how other people view you. You try to change yourself to suit what you think other people want to see.

The truth, though, is that you can’t actually control how other people view you — and you may not even be correct about how they view you in the first place.

Being confident doesn’t happen overnight. Instead, it happens in small steps as you slowly build your confidence and say “no” to your self-consciousness. It also requires accepting that you’re going to feel self-conscious sometimes, and that’s okay.

Sometimes worrying that there is a problem can be more stressful than the problem itself. Feeling bad for feeling self-conscious can be more troublesome than simply feeling it and getting on with the day.

Forgive yourself for being human and make the small changes that will lead to better confidence in the future.

More Tips for Improving Your Self-Esteem

Featured photo credit: Cata via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Merriam-Webster: Self-conscious
[2] Bustle: 7 Tips On How To Stop Feeling Self-Conscious
[3] Marc and Angel: 10 Things to Remember When You Feel Unsure of Yourself
[4] Bostitch: How to Protect Small Businesses From Burnout
[5] Psychology Today: Self-conscious? Get Over It
[6] Wake Forest University: Embracing Holistic Medicine
[7] Center for Vein Restoration: What Causes Venous Ulcers, and How Are They Treated?
[8] Scientific American: The Pros and Cons of Being Self-Aware

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