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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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Last Updated on May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

Example 1

You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

Example 2

You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

Example 4

You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

  • Understand your own communication style
  • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
  • Communicate with precision and care
  • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

1. Understand Your Communication Style

To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

2. Learn Others Communication Styles

Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

“How do you prefer to receive information?”

This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

3. Exercise Precision and Care

A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

The Bottom Line

When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

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