16 Common Expressions Everyone Gets Wrong

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Eggcorns are probably not what you think they are. They’re not a type of egg or a type of corn. In fact, “eggcorn” is the term for a misheard or misinterpreted word or phrase.

Most of us flow through life using eggcorns without ever realizing it. If you’ve been using one, two, or all of these eggcorns, don’t worry — you’re far from alone. But you can feel superior to everyone else by learning the correct expressions! These are some of the most common eggcorns.

Another Thing Coming

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This expression has always made perfect sense to us, but we’ve been getting it wrong. Rather than you have “another thing coming,” the correct phrase is you have “another think coming.” This one also makes sense, as it’s like passively telling someone to “think again” about something.

Card Shark

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“Card shark” is a feisty expression about people who are excellent at cheating in card games. Sharks can be dangerous and menacing creatures, so “card shark” makes sense for a cheater. However, the phrase is “card sharp,” as the person is sharp with cards. We prefer the “shark” version.

Hunger Pains

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When your tummy growls and feels empty, you may describe this as a “hunger pain.” While that’s all well and fine, the expression is technically “hunger pangs.” A “pang” is a recurring cramp caused by a lack of food. Pangs are uncomfortable and mildly painful, so saying “pains” isn’t entirely wrong, but it’s not the correct expression.

Mute Point

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People use this phrase to say something is irrelevant or void. “Mute” sort of makes sense here, as the definition implies the argument is conceptually quiet. Nevertheless, it’s incorrect, and the right wording is “moot point.” Weirdly, the word “moot” is antiquated legal jargon and the original definition of “moot point” was something open for discussion.

I Could Care Less

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Most people are on one side of this or the other: you either have no idea or are outraged when people say they “could care less.” If you could care less, that means you do care (at least a little). People mean to say “I couldn’t care less,” as in it’s not possible for their level of care or interest to be any lower.

Spitting Image

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Yes, we’ve all been getting this one wrong, too! The origins of this phrase are murky. It was possibly “spitten image,” which became “spit and image,” which is now “spitting image.” We’ll accept all forms, but some experts consider “spit and image” the correct wording. Ultimately, they all mean someone has a perfect likeness to someone else.

For All Intensive Purposes

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This phrase misunderstands the expression “for all intents and purposes.” “Intensive” means a strong concentration on something or a high level of emphasis/force, so it doesn’t make much sense within the phrase. On the other hand, “intents and purposes” makes perfect sense, as the expression shows regard for all aspects of something.

Doggy Dog World

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People don’t get this expression wrong as often as the others on this list. Nevertheless, people still say “doggy dog world” rather than “dog-eat-dog world.” The true phrase is far less pleasant but also wholly delivers the expression’s meaning. If you want to keep saying the cute version, we support you.

An Escape Goat

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The idea of a goat frantically escaping something makes us giggle. However, a cheeky goat fleeing from its pen is not what we’re talking about. It’s not a phrase at all; it’s a word: “scapegoat.” A scapegoat is someone who wrongfully takes the blame for others’ wrongdoings. What kind of monster would blame their faults on an innocent goat?

Beckon Call

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We almost all get this expression wrong, as it’s “beck and call” rather than “beckon call.” Both seem to make sense, as the misheard phrase implies the call is one of beckoning. In the correct phrase, “beck” and “call” are separate. Either way, the phrase means being ready to serve someone at any moment.

Case and Point

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Most people say “case and point,” but “case in point” is the proper phrase. The idea is that the point being made is supported by the case presented. The case fits into the point. Saying “case and point” could imply the case presented and the point made do not align, so it’s important to get this one right. Otherwise, you might lose your argument!

Pawned Off

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The phrase “pawned off” seems logical, as one might go to a pawn shop to get rid of something they no longer want. This makes the item someone else’s problem. However, the proper phrase is “palmed off.” The meaning is similar, but the correct phrase implies someone passed something off with their hands rather than stopped at a pawn shop.

Chomping at the Bit

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Noting the difference between “chomping” and “champing” is rather nitpicky, but “champing” is the original version. What does “champing” mean? Well, it essentially means chomping; the expression’s meaning does not change with the word replacement. So, you can keep using “chomping,” but know in your heart that “champing at the bit” was the original expression.

One in the Same

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“One in the same” is another wrong expression that feels right. It means two things are one because they’re so similar or closely associated. The correct expression is “one and the same,” which delivers the definition precisely. “One in the same” would only work if referring to things inside one another or within a larger context.

Pass Mustard

As mustard lovers, we were a little heartbroken to learn that this phrase is incorrect. “Pass muster” is the proper expression. A “muster” is a formal inspection, originally referring to a group of soldiers. Saying something doesn’t “pass muster” implies it does not meet the necessary standards. Saying something does not “pass mustard” implies the subject refuses to share the Dijon with you.

First-Come, First-Serve

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This correction is minor but will still surprise restaurant patrons and workers alike. Rather than “first come, first serve,” it is “first come, first served.” The difference seems inconsequential, but the misheard phrase is illogical, while the correct expression makes perfect sense; if you come first, you’ll be served first.

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