Many of us bloggers may not have started our blogs out of our love for the written word. There are many bloggers who are “ideas” people– those who love sharing information about a favorite topic. Personally, I started blogging in spite of the fact writing wasn't my first love; it was a marriage of necessity. Right now, I can almost hear grammarians and writers screeching to a halt at this confession.
That said, it didn't stop me. Several years later, I've come to see common mistakes made by people translating how they speak to the written word. Writing like you talk is a great way to establish a connection with your readers. I'm not much for grammar rules unless they change the meaning of a sentence. However, getting a phrase or colloquialism wrong changes the meaning of the phrase, which can be confusing for readers!
Here are 10 common phrases you might be getting wrong, what they mean, and how to get them right:
I've been seeing “make due” a lot lately. “Make do” means to make something do well enough. To make the most of what you have. I'm guessing that “make due” means to make something “due” like a library book.
We get a lot of “sneak peeks” in the fashion blogging business. Yet, there are a lot of “sneak peaks” in the blog posts. A “peak” is a pointed extremity whereas to “peek” is to take a brief glance.
“Another think coming”
This one is interesting because many, many, many people say, “If you think this…then you have another thing coming.” I always wondered what that really meant. What will be coming? What is the thing? The correct phrase is “Another THINK coming.” As in, “If you think this, you have another think coming.” Meaning, your current thought is wrong and you'll have another (hopefully more correct) thought coming.
As bloggers we're given “free rein” on our blogs, since we mostly own our blogs. “Free reign” is commonly used, but “reign” is what creepy King Joffrey does with his royal power. The phrase actually uses the word “rein” which are the leather straps used to control horses. Sometimes riders would loosen the “reins” to allow the horse to chose the safest path on a difficult course, giving the horse “free rein.”
The sun will “wreak havoc” on your skin. “Wreak” means to cause and “wreck” (as in a car wreck) means to cause the destruction of. “Havoc” is a wide and general destruction… so when you “wreck havoc” you're actually causing the destruction of destruction.
“Couldn't care less”
If you “could care less” that means you're capable of caring less than you do. Saying you couldn't care less means there is no possible way to care less about something, like, “I couldn't care less about football.” This means I have absolutely no opinion, care, feeling, or attitude towards the sport, and it's impossible to care less about it.
“For all intents and purposes”
This one is often mistaken as “for all intensive purposes.” What is an intensive purpose? Is it like intensive care? If you're intending to use “intents and purposes,” make sure it's the correct phrase.
“Pique my curiosity”
Again with the “peaks,” “peeks,” and “piques”! It can get confusing. Often I see “peak my curiosity.” It kind of makes sense, given the meaning of the word. However, it's correct to use the word “pique” which means to provoke or arouse.
“Without further ado”
“Without further ado” means to go ahead without making a big deal. “Ado” means heightened fuss or concern. Sometimes I see, “without much further adieu.” Since adieu means goodbye, the meaning of the phrase changes to “without further goodbye.” Other forms I've seen are “without further a due” (again with the library books) and “without further a do.” I don't know what the last one means.
“Nip it in the bud”
It might be tempting to nip your problem in the butt, but you really want to “nip it in the bud” — meaning take care of it before the “bud” grows into something much bigger, like a tree, or whatever buds grow up to become.
What are some of the mistaken phrases you've seen around? Do share!