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15 Commonly Mangled & Misused Phrases

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8. Toe the Line

This idiom means to conform to a rule or standard. Sometimes it is misused as “tow the line,” which would obscure its military origins, which may have had something to do with literally arranging one’s feet in position on a line for inspection.

9. Pique My Curiosity

Incorrect forms of this expression abound, sometimes appearing as “peak my curiosity” or “peek my curiosity.” To pique means to prick or stimulate, which is not to be confused with the homophones “peak,” meaning apex, or “peek,” meaning glimpse.

10. All of a Sudden

“All of the sudden” is just plain wrong. Use “a” instead.

11. Case in Point

This expression is used when a specific instance serves as evidence, and it’s not “case and point,” as some people claim. “People really screw up the English language. Case in point—have you ever noticed how many people use the word ‘irregardless’?”

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7:43AM PDT on Mar 14, 2015


1:27AM PST on Dec 31, 2013

Thank you :)

12:27PM PST on Dec 30, 2013


7:48PM PST on Dec 27, 2013

And there I go slipping an extra I've in my post...Sheesh!

7:47PM PST on Dec 27, 2013

Frankly, most of these are a symptom of lazy pronunciation, mostly by teachers and TV/movie characters over the decades. In fact, one I've back slam I've used when people threw "baited breath" at me was "did you just eat a worm?"

2:15PM PST on Dec 3, 2013

Thanks a lot, Sonia! I thought that 'towards' was the one I'd got wrong!

3:54AM PST on Nov 13, 2013

"I do not think that word means what you think it means." - Inigo Montoya

3:46AM PST on Nov 13, 2013

Dis ain't yer gramma's grammer klass.

7:57AM PST on Dec 26, 2012

Agree with Kirsten M - great article, except for the incorrect "toward(s)" comment

5:51AM PST on Dec 14, 2012

Thank you Samantha, for Sharing this!

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Thank you for the original article. I love cats.

Might I suggest reading "Big Magic" by Elizabeth Gilbert? Awesome book about living a creative life …


Am on the road, so will have to bookmark this for later. Thanks!


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