Commonly Misused Words and Phrases – Part 2

Here we are again, back to look at the other half of the dozen commonly misused words and phrases we are covering. Be sure to look back at Part 1 if you missed it!

We’ll pick up with number seven today.

  • 7. You’ve got another thing/think coming. People often say “thing” instead of “think” when using this phrase indicative of a stern warning. But it’s really “think”, not “thing”. Think about it this way: if we add the silent but understood first half of the phrase, it would read, “If you think XYZ, you’ve got another think coming!” It’s essentially saying that you need to reconsider your earlier thought, or understanding, of a situation.
  • 8. Imply/infer. The speaker in a conversation is the one who implies something. He suggests it in a roundabout way without saying it outright: “She implied that I would be laid off from work next week.” Conversely, the listener in a conversation, infers something (draws a conclusion) based on what the speaker says, “Based on her comments, I inferred that I would be laid off next week.
  • 9. Couldn’t/could care less. This one is easy to get backwards. People sometimes incorrectly say “I could care less,” when they mean just the opposite. “I could care less” indicates that it is possible for me to care less than I actually do. The correct way to say it is “I couldn’t care less,” meaning that I care so little now that I could not care any less than I do.
  • 10. Acute/chronic. This one is pretty straight forward, because the two words have entirely different meanings. “Acute” refers to a high degree of severity of a condition, i.e. “acute bronchitis”. “Chronic,” on the other hand, means on-going or constantly recurs, “She has chronic bronchitis that has persisted for a decade.” They can also be use together, “She has acute, chronic bronchitis.”
  • 11. Recur/reoccurring. The discussion of acute and chronic in number 10, above, brings us to these two easily confused words. Recur means to happens repeatedly, perhaps at regular or predictable intervals. Reoccur means something happens more than once but not predictably or at close intervals. High tide and low tide recur. Tsunamis reoccur.
  • 12. Disinterested/uninterested. Disinterested means unprejudiced or not favoring one thing over another, as in, “The judge was known for being completely disinterested while on the bench.” Uninterested means not having any interest, or being bored, by something: “She was uninterested in baseball because it was such a slow game.”

And there you have! As I wrote in Part 1, using words correctly is akin to polishing your shoes.

Many people don’t think about it or don’t bother, but those who do have an advantage in the way they are perceived by friends and colleagues.

Getting these right and showing that you are well-polished can make a big difference when you are up for a promotion, trying to win a new client, or making a presentation.

Choose just one a week to work on and let me know how it goes!


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Writen by Dave Griessmann