35 Common Phrases You've Been Saying Incorrectly

Do you believe that all the terms which you commonly use in everyday conversations are correct? You might just be in for a shock! There are many phrases you're probably saying wrong. You disagree? Take this quiz and see what comes out of it.
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Common phrases you've been saying incorrectly
'Perceived Usage' and 'Grammar Violations', both, are common occurrences in present times, and mainly a result of lifestyle changes and technological advancements.
It is somewhat true that, in life, we learn more by experience than from textbooks. For example, take the English language. It's so much simpler for a person to study the language when it's spoken by family and friends. Now even though this may seem all so very simple, there is also a high probability that we unknowingly pick up things that are said wrongly, and just go with the flow.

While we all believe that the 'everyday phrases' which we use are perfectly okay, sometimes that is not the case. There are many phrases often said incorrectly, and passed on to others around, who continue using it in the wrong way, though unknowingly.

Now, I am sure you're curious and want to find out the phrases that you've been saying wrong, or maybe even right too for that matter. You ought to be! Get right onto it with the quiz here, and see the results for yourself.

Most Common Phrases Wrongly Used: TRIVIA
Phrase 1. Buzzle.com is a huge '__________' of useful information.
  • A. suppository
  • B. repository
Explanation: 'Suppository' is a pill that melts when it is administered through the rectum or vagina. 'Repository' basically refers to storage.
Phrase 2. His performance was in continuous decline, with each outing being '________________'.
  • A. worse than the next
  • B. worse than the last
Explanation: Here, 'the last' means the previous one. For it to be worse than the next, one would have to be able to see in the future.
Phrase 3. That was the only day all her '_______________' had gathered at the same place for any reason.
  • A. brother-in-laws
  • B. brothers-in-law
Explanation: A noun can be made plural. Here, both 'brother' and 'law' are nouns, but since the number of brothers is being talked about, brother becomes brothers and law remains singular.
Phrase 4. When you fall by the '_________', you might not be keeping up with the rest of the group.
  • A. inside
  • B. wasteside
  • C. wayside
Explanation: Fall by the wayside suggests that you are not keeping pace with someone else or a group of people.
Phrase 5. He made a complete '__________________' in his stance when he was called up to the witness box.
  • A. 360 degree change
  • B. 180 degree change
Explanation: 360 degrees would mean that you've returned to the same place where you started, which would mean you didn't change at all. A 180 degree change would suggest that you are at the complete opposite end.
Phrase 6. Even though he was driving on the right side of the road, he was lucky to have a '_________' when the other car changed direction.
  • A. near miss
  • B. near hit
Explanation: If another vehicle were to nearly miss you, it would mean that it collided with you. If it nearly hit you, it means that it came close to colliding with you, but narrowly missed.
Phrase 7. He is very good at what he does. He can '______' it up to experience.
  • A. chuck
  • B. chock
  • C. chalk
Explanation: 'Chalk it up' refers to giving credit to something, which over here is experience.
Phrase 8. He gave the kids a '___________' during the class, so as to bring out the best in their creative skills.
  • A. free rein
  • B. free reign
Explanation: 'Reign' indicates there is a ruler or someone who has control over others, like free reign over the country. 'Free rein' means giving freedom of thought and actions.
Phrase 9. The other day, Mike met his school friend at the mall '______________'.
  • A. on accident
  • B. by accident
Explanation: We can do something on purpose, but not on accident.
Phrase 10. Considering the crime that he had committed, he was lucky to get away '____________' in the end.
  • A. scotch-free
  • B. scot-free
  • C. scott-free
Explanation: 'Scotch-free' and 'scott-free' are absolutely wrong, and just deviations that people have unknowingly used from time to time.
Phrase 11. If you agree that something should be made legal by law in your country, what would you say?
  • A. I jibe with that
  • B. I jive with that
Explanation: 'I jibe with that' suggests that you find it correct and agree with it.
Phrase 12. In this day '___' age, nearly every child owns a smartphone.
  • A. and
  • B. in
Explanation: Even though you may find people using 'in', especially while writing a column or article, 'day and age' is the correct usage.
Phrase 13. Because of what happened today, you will never '____' foot in that house ever again.
  • A. step
  • B. set
Explanation: 'Set foot' is correct and means that you will not physically place yourself in that house again.
Phrase 14. And now, '________________________', I would like to introduce you to the debate panel for tonight's talk show.
  • A. without further ado
  • B. without further adieu
Explanation: 'Ado' is correct, which means no more delay or interruptions. 'Adieu' means goodbye.
Phrase 15. We would still need to go over the finer details, but for all '_____________' purposes, the deal is as good as done.
  • A. intensive
  • B. intents and
Explanation: When we say 'for all intents and purposes', it means that the related matter is true in every practical sense.
Phrase 16. The '________' of limitations has actually expired, therefore you cannot be held responsible for that crime any longer.
  • A. statue
  • B. statute
Explanation: 'Statue' is wrong, simply because it means a cast or figure of a living thing.
Phrase 17. My bedroom has been destroyed. The neighbor's dog somehow got inside my house and '__________' havoc.
  • A. wreaked
  • B. wrecked
Explanation: 'Wrecked' means to destroy, which would be wrong, since the dog could not have destroyed the havoc that was done.
Phrase 18. Your Tweet needs to be '_____________________' to get accepted and go live.
  • A. lesser than 140 characters
  • B. fewer than 140 characters
Explanation: 'Fewer' refers to multiples, like he scores fewer than 20 points a game. 'Less' refers to a whole or single unit, like 'he got less than he bargained for', not fewer.
Phrase 19. To stop a bad habit from affecting your day-to-day living, you need to nip it in the '____'.
  • A. butt
  • B. bud
  • C. bum
  • D. leaf
Explanation: 'Nipped in the bud' means putting an end to something before it becomes a larger problem.
Phrase 20. There are many individuals who have come in second place. What are they called?
  • A. runners-up
  • B. runner-ups
Explanation: The simple and correct answer is 'runners-up'.
Phrase 21. When you are extremely hungry, you have '_______________'.
  • A. hunger pains
  • B. hunger pangs
Explanation: 'Hunger pangs' is the correct term, though one might experience pain after getting the pangs.
Phrase 22. They were all on '_________________' until the final results were officially announced.
  • A. tender hooks
  • B. tenterhooks
Explanation: There is no such thing as 'tender hook'. Well, at least it still has to be invented. 'Tenterhook' is when there is suspense and when we are waiting for something anxiously.
Phrase 23. Let's not act like children and get into a physical fight. Let's talk this out '______________'.
  • A. man to man
  • B. mano a mano
Explanation: 'Mano a mano' is Spanish for hand to hand, which refers to competing directly.
Phrase 24. When you absolutely don't give a damn, you '_________' care less.
  • A. couldn't
  • B. could
Explanation: If you could care less you would. Couldn't care less is correct, because it means that it is not possible for you to care any less than you already do.
Phrase 25. John has been found out. It is safe to say that the '___' is up.
  • A. gig
  • B. jig
Explanation: 'Jig is up' is correct, since it refers to the trick is over or the lies has been caught.
Phrase 26. Both food outlets on Elm Street offer '__________________' menu.
  • A. one in the same
  • B. one and the same
Explanation: 'One and the same' means that there are two things that are exactly the same.
Phrase 27. He went on a trip around the world. I mean, he '_________________' the globe.
  • A. circumnavigated
  • B. circumvented
Explanation: 'Circumnavigated' the globe means that the person has traveled around the entire planet.
Phrase 28. The only thing worth having at Jack's coffee shop is their '____________'.
  • A. expresso
  • B. espresso
Explanation: There is simply no such drink as expresso. It is just something many people have picked up wrong by hearing others, or not hearing them properly.
Phrase 29. It turned out that Mike had already left his job, '__________' the question what else he lied to you about!
  • A. raising
  • B. begging
Explanation: 'Raising the question' is proper usage. 'Begging the question' would be a circular argument, which means beginning the reasoning with the end, like 'Seattle is in the United States'.
Phrase 30. If you feel that I will lend you anymore money, you've got another '________' coming.
  • A. thing
  • B. thought
  • C. think
Explanation: 'Another think coming' means his thought process is wrong, and he needs to think correctly again.
Phrase 31. There will not be enough room for everyone here. So the passes will have to be given on a '_____________________' basis.
  • A. first come, first serve
  • B. first come, first served
Explanation: Plain and simple. 'First come, first served' is correct, but still many people use the other term.
Phrase 32. Stop being so pitiful and bringing yourself down always. Your '_____________________' needs to stop now.
  • A. self-defection
  • B. self-deprecation
  • C. self-depreciation
Explanation: 'Defect' is to desert or join another cause. 'Depreciate' is the loss of value over time.
Phrase 33. Shirley is waiting on you hand and foot. This means she may also be at your '___________' call.
  • A. beck and
  • B. beckon
Explanation: 'Beck and call' is correct. 'Beckon' refers to gesture to another person to do something or approach someone else.
Phrase 34. The other day I went to the store and '_______' the latest smartphone for myself.
  • A. brought
  • B. bought
Explanation: 'Bought' is correct, because it means buying something. The term 'brought' is used to refer to physically bringing or moving something to some place.
Phrase 35: Here, just '_____' my bag while I climb the wall and see what's on the other side.
  • A. hold
  • B. catch
Explanation: Many people would say 'catch' in this situation, which is wrong. 'Catch' can be used for a falling object, like 'try to catch the ball when I throw it'. Simply giving something to someone needs to be 'hold this for me'.
Please answer all the questions to check your result.

So, did you find any of these phrases really surprising? These are the most commonly used phrases in our everyday lives, and I am sure there are many others that would be equally baffling to many. So, if you have any to add to this list, use the comments section below to share it with everyone here. I'll sign off with something funny, but useful Craig Ferguson said, "When in doubt about who's to blame. Blame the English."
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Published: June 10, 2014
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Comments
Learned something new.! - Bijesh Gyawali [September 21, 2014]
well it's really interesting to practice - cynthia [August 14, 2014]
Good self assessment indicator - Shobha Banerjee [July 1, 2014]
entertaining! - chetibri [June 15, 2014]
brainstorming i lyk it - sue [June 12, 2014]
commendable :) - lildevil [June 11, 2014]
Never heard of some of these... must be British - USA [June 10, 2014]
Wow.. Amazing - Aishwarya [June 10, 2014]
Good one! - Anupama [June 10, 2014]