10 Grammatical Errors Even Smart People Make

Don’t be surprised if you realize you’re guilty of these slip-ups.

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couldn't care
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I could care less

You probably mean “I couldn’t care less,” which means that you flat out don’t care at all. You care about whatever that thing is—say, grammatical errors—in the least possible amount. If you could care less, then you do care about grammatical errors a little bit, and it would technically be possible for you to care even less than you do now.

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intents and
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For all intensive purposes

People have started using this incorrect saying because it sounds just similar enough to the original expression, which is the cause of many grammatical errors. The correct expression, in this case, is “for all intents and purposes.” According to Business Insider, it came from an old English law that used the phrase “to all intents, constructions, and purposes” to mean “officially” or “effectively.” The condensed version we use today means “in every practical sense.”

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Sorry gardeners, this is the incorrect spelling of this adjective. The right way to describe something that is firmly established at a deep or profound level is deep-seated.

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Piece of mind

This grammatical error is likely a combination of “piece of my mind” and the correct version of this phrase, “peace of mind.” The latter refers to a feeling of being safe and protected; it is an absence of worry.

Make sure you avoid these 24 words and phrases that make you sound stupid.

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Peaked my interest

Like many grammatical errors, this phrase seems perfectly normal. It means that your interest has reached its highest level, its peak, no? No, it doesn’t. The correct saying is “piqued my interest,” where “piqued” means “aroused or excited.”

Don’t miss these 17 English words that have totally different meanings in other languages.

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At first glance, you probably believe this word to mean “thaw out.” But let’s take a closer look. When something thaws, it gets warmer because it was previously cold or frozen. Unthaw, then, must mean the opposite; it’s making something get colder or re-freezing. The next time someone tells you to unthaw the chicken, just leave it in the freezer.

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Emigrate to

Whoever decided to make emigrate and immigrate such similar sounding words must have liked creating utter confusion. Emigrate means to leave one’s country for another, in other words, to come from somewhere. Immigrate means to come to another country, or to go somewhere else. Therefore, the phrase “emigrate to” makes no sense; you can only emigrate from a place. Likewise, you can only immigrate to a new country.

Here are five more words that mean the opposite of what you think.

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Honed in

You may think you are honed in on your end-of-quarter presentation, but you’re not. You are homed in. “Hone” means to sharpen.

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Nip it in the butt

The correct expression is nip it in the bud. Since nip means to pinch or bite, “nip it in the bud” means to suppress or end something at an early stage, just as a bud is an early stage of a flower. Why anyone would want to literally nip something or someone in the butt, we’re not sure.

Watch out for these six simple words you’re probably pronouncing wrong.

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That strong coffee served in little cups you love so much is actually espresso, not expresso. Merriam-Webster says the misspelling came from the similarities between the Italian word “espresso” and the English word “express,” plus the “promise of coffee being prepared with relative swiftness in contrast to percolating devices.” However, “expresso” was used enough to be entered into the dictionary, even though it’s not what the drink was originally called.

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Reader's Digest
Originally Published on Reader's Digest