Everyone, at some point in time, has used a word or saying incorrectly. Sometimes it can be cringe-inducing when repetitively misused. These are referred to as ‘eggcorns’ (a mishearing of acorn) and mondegreens, which are defined as “a word or phrase that is a seemingly logical alteration of another word or phrase that sounds similar and has been misheard or misinterpreted”. We’re here to provide a simple rundown on how to avoid 8 of the most common:
1. “Intensive purposes”
Correct: “Intents and purposes”
Explanation: The correct phrase means ‘in every practical sense’ rather than being just one intense purpose.
2. “All and all”
Correct: “All in all”
Explanation: Implies that everything should be taken into account, hence the ‘in’.
3. “I could care less”
Correct: “I couldn’t care less”
Explanation: Saying you could not possibly care any less about something (Greg) v. saying you have care left to give (not for Greg, though.) Let David Mitchell explain it to you here.
Explanation: Regardless means without regard already, so the ‘ir-’ prefix is a redundancy.
5. Effect v Affect
Correct: Noun v verb
Explanation: Effect is the noun, e.g. “The effect of the comfy bed put him straight to sleep”. Affect is the verb, e.g. “He wondered how the bed would affect his sleep.”
6. “Do diligence”
Correct: “Due diligence”
Explanation: It’s a legal term in business for researching a company. You should do your due diligence.
7. Steep learning curve
Correct: Learning curve
Explanation: If something has a steep learning curve then it means it is easy to learn quickly.
8. “Peaked my interest”
Correct: “Piqued my interest”
Explanation: Peaked would assume a high level of interest but it’s not what the idiom is meant to convey.
If there are any eggcorns or mondegreens (your vocab words for the day) that we missed, let us know below!