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15 Commonly Mangled & Misused Phrases

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4. A Moot Point

A moot point may halt conversation, but it’s not as if it has nothing to say. Be careful not to confuse “moot,” meaning debatable or doubtful, with “mute,” meaning incapable of speech. A point is moot, a person is mute.

5. Should’ve, Would’ve, Could’ve

There are few things as foul to the grammatically correct eye as reading “I should of done that.” The proper usage is “should have” or its contracted form, “should’ve.” “Should’ve” and “should of” may seem like homophones, but they are most definitely not synonyms.

6. Nip It in the Bud

In gardening terms, pruning a plant at the bud keeps it from flowering. It may be more exciting to think about giving something (or someone) a “nip in the butt,” but if you’re trying to say that you’ve taken care of a problem preemptively, leave everyone’s behind behind.

7. Pore Over

If you’re “pouring over” documents in the library, be prepared for a nasty encounter with the librarian, because what you should be doing is “poring over” them, or examining them closely. Incidentally, you can pore over your pores as well, even though these words actually come from two different roots.

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238 comments

+ add your own
1:27AM PST on Dec 31, 2013

Thank you :)

12:27PM PST on Dec 30, 2013

Interesting

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!

2:29PM PST on Dec 11, 2012

love this. I am an avid reader and an English language junkie so these types of things intrigue me.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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I have to say that your article is silly and close to outright dumb. I read that article in Esquire …

We use different parts of our brain to do and feel various things. We don't do all of those things a…

That was purrrty darn clever! Talk about an attention-getter!

Good for Zeke!

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