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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 July 16, 2019

7 Ways to Get Rid of Negative Energy and Become Positive

7 Ways to Get Rid of Negative Energy and Become Positive

Negativity affects ourselves and everyone around us. It limits our potential to become something great and live a fulfilling, purposeful life. Negativity has a tangible effect on our health, too. Research has shown that people who cultivate negative energy experience more stress, more sickness, and less opportunity over the course of their lives than those who choose to live positively.

When we make a decision to become positive, and follow that decision up with action, we will begin to encounter situations and people that are also positive. The negative energy gets edged out by all positive experiences. It’s a snowball effect.

Although negative and positive thoughts will always exist, the key to becoming positive is to limit the amount of negativity that we experience by filling ourselves up with more positivity.

Here are some ways to get rid of negativity and become more positive.

1. Become Grateful for Everything

When life is all about us, it’s easy to believe that we deserve what we have. An attitude of entitlement puts us at the center of the universe and sets up the unrealistic expectation that others should cater to us, our needs, and our wants. This vain state of existence is a surefire way to set yourself up for an unfulfilled life of negativity.

People living in this sort of entitlement are “energy suckers”–they are always searching for what they can get out of a situation. People that don’t appreciate the nuances of their lives live in a constant state of lacking. And it’s really difficult to live a positive life this way.

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When we begin to be grateful and appreciate everything in our lives–from the small struggles that make us better, to the car that gets us from A to B every day–we shift our attitude from one of selfishness, to one of appreciation. This appreciation gets noticed by others, and a positive harmony begins to form in our relationships.

We begin to receive more of that which we are grateful for, because we’ve opened ourselves up to the idea of receiving, instead of taking. This will make your life more fulfilling, and more positive.

2. Laugh More, Especially at Yourself

Life gets busy, our schedules fill up, we get into relationships, and work can feel task oriented and routine-driven at times. Being human can feel more like being a robot. But having this work-driven, serious attitude often results in negative and performance oriented thinking.

Becoming positive means taking life less seriously and letting yourself off the hook. This is the only life that you get to live, why not lighten up your mood?

Laughter helps us become positive by lightening our mood and reminding us not to take life so seriously. Are you sensitive to light sarcasm? Do you have trouble laughing at jokes? Usually, people who are stressed out and overly serious get most offended by sarcasm because their life is all work and no play.

If we can learn to laugh at ourselves and our mistakes, life will become more of an experiment in finding out what makes us happy. And finding happiness means finding positivity.

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3. Help Others

Negativity goes hand in hand with selfishness. People that live only for themselves have no higher purpose in their lives. If the whole point of this world is only to take care of yourself and no one else, the road to a long-term fulfillment and purpose is going to be a long one.

Positivity accompanies purpose. The most basic way to create purpose and positivity in your life is to begin doing things for others. Start small; open the door for the person in front of you at Starbucks or ask someone how their day was before telling them about yours.

Helping others will give you an intangible sense of value that will translate into positivity. And people might just appreciate you in the process.

4. Change Your Thinking

We can either be our best coach or our best enemy. Change starts from within. If you want to become more positive, change the wording of your thoughts. We are the hardest on ourselves, and a stream of negative self talk is corrosive to a positive life.

The next time you have a negative thought, write it down and rephrase it with a positive spin. For example, change a thought like, “I can’t believe I did so horribly on the test–I suck.” to “I didn’t do as well as I hoped to on this test. But I know I’m capable and I’ll do better next time.”

Changing our self-talk is powerful.

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5. Surround Yourself with Positive People

We become most like the people that we surround ourselves with. If our friend group is full of negative energy-suckers and drama queens, we will emulate that behavior and become like them. It is very difficult to become more positive when the people around us don’t support or demonstrate positive behavior.

As you become more positive, you’ll find that your existing friends will either appreciate the new you or they will become resistant to your positive changes. This is a natural response.

Change is scary; but cutting out the negative people in your life is a huge step to becoming more positive. Positive people reflect and bounce their perspectives onto one another. Positivity is a step-by-step process when you do it solo, but a positive group of friends can be an escalator.

6. Get into Action

Negative thoughts can be overwhelming and challenging to navigate. Negativity is usually accompanied by a “freak-out” response, especially when tied to relationships, people and to worrying about the future. This is debilitating to becoming positive and usually snowballs into more worry, more stress and more freak-outs.

Turn the negative stress into positive action. The next time you’re in one of these situations, walk away and take a break. With your eyes closed, take a few deep breaths. Once you’re calm, approach the situation or problem with a pen and pad of paper. Write out four or five actions or solutions to begin solving the problem.

Taking yourself out of the emotionally charged negative by moving into the action-oriented positive will help you solve more problems rationally and live in positivity

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7. Take Full Responsibility, Stop Being the Victim

You are responsible for your thoughts.

People that consistently believe that things happen to them handicap themselves to a victim mentality. This is a subtle and deceptive negative thought pattern. Phrases like “I have to work” or “I can’t believe he did that to me” are indicators of a victim mentality. Blaming circumstances and blaming others only handicaps our decision to change something negative into something positive.

Taking full responsibility for your life, your thoughts and your actions is one of the biggest steps in creating a more positive life. We have unlimited potential within to create our own reality, change our life, and change our thoughts. When we begin to really internalize this, we discover that no one can make us feel or do anything. We choose our emotional and behavioral response to people and circumstances.

Make positive choices in favor of yourself.

“Watch your thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; they become actions. Watch your actions; they become habit. Watch your habits; they become character. Watch your character; it becomes your destiny” ― Lao Tzu

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Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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