Let’s face it: We’ve all mispronounced a word or two. Over 6,000 grammar enthusiasts took to the internet to set the record straight on what they believe is the most misused word in the English language.
Note: Some quotes in this piece have been lightly edited for grammar.
1: Not Quite A Travesty
One commenter has grown increasingly frustrated with the misuse of “travesty,” saying, “Many people think that it is a synonym of ‘tragedy,’ and it’s not. It really means a mockery of something in a serious sense of the word.”
2: Cause And Effect
While not exactly one word, effect and affect get confused with each other so much they might as well be. One commenter jokes, “In effect, the effect of the effect effectively affects everyone.” Try saying that five times fast.
3: Negative Nelly
One commenter says “cynical” is misused far too much. “A lot of people confuse it with ‘skeptical.'” Another commenter clarified, “Being cynical means you are suspicious of other people’s motives.”
4: Going Against The Grain
You’ve definitely used “defiantly” trying to spell something different before, and even spell check won’t save you. One commenter ponders, “What if it isn’t misused at all, we’re just having a radical increase of defiant people all of a sudden.”
5: Commonly Ignored
“People like to think that ‘ignorant’ and ‘stupid’ mean the same thing.” one commenter said. Another pointed out, “When people use it wrong, that makes them ignorant to the meaning of ignorant.”
6: Express Yourself
One commenter broke the rules to share their grammar woes. “Not necessarily a misused word, but the expression ‘I couldn’t care less’ is generally used incorrectly.” Another commenter agreed. “I always hear people say ‘I could care less,’ which, in my mind, means precisely the opposite.”
7: Doesn’t Matter Either Way
Whether or not you think the same, one commenter is upset with the use of the word “irregardless.” They say, “It is not even a word. Regardless means to not regard, irregardless would be to not not regard, which is the same as to regard.” Got all that?
8: It’s Electric
One commenter notes that many people casually say they got electrocuted when they really mean shocked. “If you were electrocuted, you would not be alive to inform me about your mishap.” Technically, someone can live through an electrocution. But point taken.
9: All Shook Up
Be careful next time you place your go-to coffee order. “When people say ”expresso” instead of ”espresso,” I die a little inside,” one commenter says.
10: My Eyes Are Green
People commonly say “jealous” when they actually mean “envious,” according to one commenter. “Jealous relates to feelings while envious relates to objects/accomplishments. I can be jealous of the attention my friend is getting from my crush. I can be envious of that really sweet car my best friend just purchased.”
11: Don’t Care
One commenter is clarifying this commonly flubbed word for the audience. “Disinterested means you don’t have a stake in something (like you don’t own shares in Apple as their stocks are rising). Uninterested means you’re bored.”
12: Not So Epic
Unless you’re telling the story of a Greek God, one commenter wants you to cut this word out of your vocabulary. “‘Epic.’ Stop saying things are epic.”
13: Talk Amongst Yourselves
Some people confuse the action of chit-chatting with other people as “conversate.” One commenter says, “It makes me want to tell the people I hear throwing that garbage around, ‘There is no such word! It’s CONVERSE!!!'”
14: Fun Fact
Did you know that if someone has a factoid for you, it does not mean a “small fact?” One commenter explains, “A factoid is misinformation that has been presented as fact so often that it becomes commonly accepted as fact. The saddest/funniest thing is that misuse of the word has effectively changed its definition thanks to common use.”
15: It Actually Happened
One commenter is literally fed up with the fact that nobody can use “literally” as intended. “No, you did not ‘literally die of laughter’ unless you actually passed away from laughing too much.” Sorry, valley girls.
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