It’s easy to fall into language traps that are all around us.
And, of course, there’s something to be said for the
ever-changing nature of common terms and phrases.
After all, the dictionary is an ever-evolving entity that adds
phrases and words all the time to reflect common usage.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t at least strive for impeccable
writes by understanding the best – or most commonly
accepted – ways of saying certain words and phrases.
Little tweaks in your language can help convey that you
understand exactly what phrase you’re saying and are using it
Plus, if you’re writing an email or typing a response –
let’s be honest, so much communication that happens these
days happens online – you’ll stay on top of using the right
spelling and phrasing. And, hopefully, understanding the full
context of where these common phrases come from.
Keep in mind, too, that in some of these common phrases you
won’t be able to hear the difference between the so-called
“right” and “wrong” versions. And sometimes the “wrong” way
to say something still has a perfectly legitimate meaning,
even if it’s not the feeling you’re going for in that conversation.
Any advantage you can give yourself in the professional world,
including use of proper language and phrases, can be really
beneficial in your life and career.
There’s a good chance you already know some of these,
especially if you’re the type of person who is interested in
language. But in case you want a quick refresher, here you go.
- Intensive indicates that something is powerful and
If you’re discussing an intensive purpose, you’re simply
indicating one focused purpose, or perhaps a few very
focused purposes. The more common phrases, for all
intents and purposes, indicates that something is coming
from more or less all important angles or opinions.
So for all intents and purposes, all intensive purposes is
a usually the wrong thing to say.
- I could care less and I could not care less – This is an
extremely commonly misused phrase. While most people
love to throw out that they “could care less” in an attempt
to show how little they care about an issue, they’re
actually communicating the opposite of the usual
phrase’s intention. When you stop to think about what
you’re saying, “could care less” means you not only care,
but you care enough that you would have the ability to
care less if you wanted to. If you’re trying to convey
apathy, saying “I couldn’t care less” is much more
- One in the same and One and the same
When you and a friend are discussing two different
instances that you realize happened with the same
person, you’re discussing one and the same person.
It’s hard to determine what one in the same thing might
mean, since “one” is a noun yet “the same” isn’t exactly
a specific location for that noun to go.
- On accident vs By accident
When something happens by accident, nobody saw it
coming. It was a happenstance instance. But when
something happens on an accident, it means that
whatever went down actually went down on top of an
already existing accident. And, in reality, that’s likely
not what you were trying to say. So try not to say
on accident by accident when you’re trying to describe a
mistake, since that will make it a double whoopsie.
Happy writing, ….
Suresh Shah, Pathfinders Enterprise