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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 January 21, 2020

How to Motivate People Around You and Inspire Them

How to Motivate People Around You and Inspire Them

If I was a super hero I’d want my super power to be the ability to motivate everyone around me. Think of how many problems you could solve just by being able to motivate people towards their goals. You wouldn’t be frustrated by lazy co-workers. You wouldn’t be mad at your partner for wasting the weekend in front of the TV. Also, the more people around you are motivated toward their dreams, the more you can capitalize off their successes.

Being able to motivate people is key to your success at work, at home, and in the future because no one can achieve anything alone. We all need the help of others.

So, how to motivate people? Here are 7 ways to motivate others even you can do.

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1. Listen

Most people start out trying to motivate someone by giving them a lengthy speech, but this rarely works because motivation has to start inside others. The best way to motivate others is to start by listening to what they want to do. Find out what the person’s goals and dreams are. If it’s something you want to encourage, then continue through these steps.

2. Ask Open-Ended Questions

Open-ended questions are the best way to figure out what someone’s dreams are. If you can’t think of anything to ask, start with, “What have you always wanted to do?”

“Why do you want to do that?”

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“What makes you so excited about it?”

“How long has that been your dream?”

You need this information the help you with the following steps.

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3. Encourage

This is the most important step, because starting a dream is scary. People are so scared they will fail or look stupid, many never try to reach their goals, so this is where you come in. You must encourage them. Say things like, “I think you will be great at that.” Better yet, say, “I think your skills in X will help you succeed.” For example if you have a friend who wants to own a pet store, say, “You are so great with animals, I think you will be excellent at running a pet store.”

4. Ask About What the First Step Will Be

After you’ve encouraged them, find how they will start. If they don’t know, you can make suggestions, but it’s better to let the person figure out the first step themselves so they can be committed to the process.

5. Dream

This is the most fun step, because you can dream about success. Say things like, “Wouldn’t it be cool if your business took off, and you didn’t have to work at that job you hate?” By allowing others to dream, you solidify the motivation in place and connect their dreams to a future reality.

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6. Ask How You Can Help

Most of the time, others won’t need anything from you, but it’s always good to offer. Just letting the person know you’re there will help motivate them to start. And, who knows, maybe your skills can help.

7. Follow Up

Periodically, over the course of the next year, ask them how their goal is going. This way you can find out what progress has been made. You may need to do the seven steps again, or they may need motivation in another area of their life.

Final Thoughts

By following these seven steps, you’ll be able to encourage the people around you to achieve their dreams and goals. In return, you’ll be more passionate about getting to your goals, you’ll be surrounded by successful people, and others will want to help you reach your dreams …

Oh, and you’ll become a motivational super hero. Time to get a cape!

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Featured photo credit: Thought Catalog via unsplash.com

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