Do you pride yourself on being the one in your group of friends who actually knows how to use the English language? If you are a card-carrying member of the grammar police, then this is the quiz for you. We've put together 35 of the most challenging phrases that many people use incorrectly. Can you get them all right?
Ok, so let's start with the elephant in the room.... could you, or couldn't you, care less? Let's think about it. If you could care less, then you still have some caring to do. If you couldn't care less, then you've reached the depth of your caring. So, if you're following us, the correct phrase is you "couldn't care less," as in you're all out of caring. Easy, right?
Here's another one... is it a "moot" or a "mute" point? Both "moot" and "mute" are actual words, but it's their meanings that help us understand the correct usage of the phrase. The word "mute" means "silent," and the word "moot" means "debatable" or "doubtful." So, the correct phrase is "it's a moot point." Have you been saying it wrong?
If you pride yourself on knowing which of these is correct and which is incorrect, take this quiz to find out if you really know as much as you think you do.
It's a dog-eat-dog world out there. (And, as the joke goes, you're wearing Milkbone underwear.)
Although it's common to hear "old-timer's disease" to describe a person with dementia, there is no such thing. It's Alzheimer's disease, a type of dementia, that's the correct condtion.
"Mute" point is becoming common, but the correct idiom is "moot" point.
While a mission homes in on its target, you would "hone" your French-speaking skills in Paris.
You've nipped it in the bud, as if you were trimming a flowering plant.
They're always remember that fateful day in June when they met.
The correct phrase is, "I couldn't care less." If you expand it, "I could not care less," means you care so little about something, there's nowhere to go but up. "I could care less," which is how most of us say it, suggests there's still leeway.
While "irregardless" may sound correct, it's not really a word. Regardless, people still say it a lot.
Sometimes when you don't do something, it's because it's "fallen by the wayside" (usually because you lose interest).
Often misspoken as "chock it up," "chalk it up" is correct.
It's "peace of mind" you're looking for, not a piece.
We wait with bated breath, as the saying goes.
Although many of us think it's "reign" with a "g," the correct saying is "free rein."
While you might have a project "in the pipline," in this turn of phrase, the new projects will be "coming down the pike" this year.
This idiom comes from horseracing, so you'd think it'd be "chomping at the bit," like a horse. The expression is, actually, "champing at the bit."
It was his practiced "sleight of hand" that paid off.
"Applicants will be met on a first-come, first-served basis," is correct.
To take care of someone's immediate requests is to be at their "beck and call."
"For all intensive purposes" is a common mistake. But the idiom, which means, for all practical purposes, is, "for all intents and purposes."
When you get away with it, you've gotten off scot-free.
That person's your scapegoat.
You've never told anyone about your deep-seated, not deep-seeded as many might think, fear of spiders.
Perfect for the job? He's a shoo-in.
This one can be tricky! Although you might describe it as a hunger pain, these are actually "pangs."
Your interest is "piqued," not peaked, peeked nor picked.
While many people say, "You've got another thing coming," the correct turn of phrase is "another think."
Although it will probably wreck a lot of things, the tornado is predicted to "wreak havoc" on the town.
You "wet your whistle," but you don't "wet" your appetite. When something "whets your appetite," though, you're eager to know (or have, etc) more. It sounds similar, but it's not the same.
When you "jibe" with someone, you're in agreement, or at least compatible.
This one is tough, and a lot of people say this idiom incorrectly. "Spitting image" is common, but "That boy is the spit and image of his grandfather," is correct.
Having a "sneak peek" of something means you have an early preview.
A "statute of limitation" is a law that sets a time limit between the date of a crime, for instance, and how long you're given to initiate legal proceedings.
Clark Kent and Superman are one and the same. As are Peter Parker and Spiderman. Iron Man and Tony Stark. We could go on ...
While it's fun to imagine "extracting" revenge, the cat will be "exacting" his revenge.
When you're speaking sarcastically, yet lightheartedly, you've said it "tongue-in-cheek."