12 Words And Phrases You’re Using Incorrectly

This puppy does everything right. Source: Shutterstock

This puppy does everything right. Source: Shutterstock

These days we’re surrounded by abbreviations and acronyms that have become words like YOLO and obvi. Slang words are making their way into dictionaries all across the world.

These slang words are fun, but we’re still using some real words the wrong way. A lot of phrases and words evolve out of someone misusing the original, but it’s good to know the correct phrase or word. I wanted to go over a few words and idioms with you that you’re probably using the wrong way. It’s okay though, I do it too!


Peruse doesn’t mean to just browse. You’re not perusing the aisles when you’re randomly picking through stuff at the store. Peruse means to pay close attention to detail so you might peruse a rack of dresses trying to find exactly what you’re looking for.


If you and your best guy friend are platonic, it’s actually more serious than you think. It’s a connection based on platonic love, which is a deep, soulful connection. While sexual desire isn’t often a component, it’s way more complicated than being “just friends.”


A lot of people confused ambivalent with indifferent, which means a lack of interest. So if you’re indifferent about where to eat for dinner it means you don’t care either way. Ambivalent means you feel strongly either way so you could really want to eat at Longhorn and Friday’s, but you can’t decide.


Unique means “being the only one” so you can’t adjust it. Saying she’s “kind of unique” or “mildly unique” doesn’t make sense because unique does not have gradients.


You should be saying “regardless,” which means careless or heedless, without regard. When you say irregardless, you’re making a double negative. Many people will say that “irregardless” is not a word, but it actually is. It’s just not a standard word and is not accepted.


Literally should be used to describe the way something happened exactly. Tons of people misuse literally as it’s become a popular term in today’s language. But you shouldn’t use it unless you’re literally using it the right way.


A lot of people use anxious to describe excited nervousness, but anxious has a more negative meaning. If you’re excited in anticipation of something, you’re eager. If you’re nervous or worried in anticipation of something, you’re anxious.

Chomping at the bit

It’s actually champing at the bit. Champing is the term used when horses chew at their bit impatiently whereas chomping means to bite in the sense of eating. Both are technically acceptable these days, but the correct term is champing.

Could care less

Nope. You should be saying you could not care less. When you say you could care less, you’re saying you do care.

Say your peace

Think again. The correct term is say your piece, which is to express your opinion. Think piece of your mind. This is often confused with to “hold your peace,” which is to do the opposite and hold your tongue. Like at weddings when they say “Speak now or forever hold your peace.” You can’t say your peace, but you can say your piece.

For all intensive purposes

For all intents and purposes is the correct term. They mean the same thing, but the former is not accepted in writing. It just kind of evolved, much like irregardless.

Nip in the butt

Sorry, but it’s nip in the bud. I spent probably the first half of my life thinking you were supposed to say nip in the butt. Nip in the bud means to stop something before it grows, like a bud grows into a flower.

Did any of these surprise you? Have you been using these the right or wrong way? Are there any words you’re curious about? Tell me in the comments!

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