Common phrases people get completely and utterly wrong.

While I’m certainly not a fully paid-up member of the grammar police, like many people I do find spelling mistakes irritating, but even worse are the common expressions that get so horribly mangled.


There’s no excuse really for poor spelling, especially these days, when most of us have some kind of spell check installed on our computers and phones.
Although, of course, we’ve probably all fallen foul of the autocorrect error, when you know you typed the correct word and the smart-arse chip decides you didn’t actually mean that at all and changes it once you’ve moved on to your next word.
My personal best is sending a text to my former boss asking him “how are you toady?” instead of the much politer “how are you today?”
But even more irksome than typos are the phrases people love to use but get so horribly wrong!
What do you reckon? I’ve come up with eight, but do you have any more? I’d love to know.

For all intensive purposes.

(Should be for all intents and purposes) I wonder what would qualify as an intensive purpose anyway?


I’d love to jump in and correct friends when they say this, but I think I’d soon be a very lonely, sad, old lady as I hear it so often. (And although I may qualify as an old lady these days, thankfully I’m not yet sad and lonely!)

I made a complete 360-degree change in my life.

Ha, really? So you’re back exactly where you were, eh? Or did you actually mean you made an 180-degree turn so you went in the opposite direction?

It’s a doggy-dog world.

Now, my chums all know that I’m nuts about dogs, so I’d quite happily live in a doggy-dog world, but perhaps not in a dog-eat-dog world, which is the correct saying.

Waiting with baited breath.

So you have smelly, fish breath or something? Or did you mean bated, which means reduced or lessened?  Makes so much more sense if you are so excited that you can hardly catch your breath.

On tender hooks.

Ever seen a tender hook? Does it give cuddles after it pierces your skin? Thought not. That’ll be tenterhooks then.

One foul swoop.

Should be one fell swoop. Although, if I’m honest, it probably makes more sense as a foul swoop, but that’s English for you!

And finally, it’s a mute point.

No, actually, it’s a moot point.
So, there you go. Now you all know what an old curmudgeon I am!
Catch you all next week when we’ll look at ideas to make your Facebook page more engaging for readers.