10 Common Phrases You Might Be Misspelling
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10 Common Phrases You Might Be Misspelling

An idiom is a commonly used phrase that has meaning as a whole, rather than just being the sum of its words. We’ve all heard them before, but how often do we write them or see them written?

It’s not unusual to see these phrases misspelled in writing because people have only ever heard them.

10 common phrases that are often misspelled

Here are 10 of the most commonly misspelled English phrases and their correct uses so that you won’t keep making the same mistakes in your writing.

10 common phrases that are often misspelled: peek vs. pique my interest

1. Piqued my interest

To pique means to excite. To peek means to look quickly, and to peak means to reach the top. Looking at those definitions side by side, it only makes sense that the phrase “piqued my interest” uses pique instead of either of its homophones. If something piques your interest, it excites you.

2. Complete 180

When people want to say that someone or something has changed completely, they sometimes say that it made a “complete 360.” However, this would mean that the person or thing has returned to its original position (because a circle is 360 degrees). The correct phrase is “complete 180,” meaning that someone ended up on the opposite side of a circle, which suggests that they changed completely.

3. For all intents and purposes

This is used to show the overall utility of what you’re saying. It is often miswritten as “for all intensive purposes,” which would merely suggest that what you’re saying is useful only for the most intense purposes.

10 common phrases that are often misspelled: baited vs. bated breath

4. Bated breath

If you’re waiting with bated breath, your “breath” is moderated or restrained — you’re waiting with great anticipation. If your breath is baited, however… honestly, I’m not sure what you’re doing, unless you’re fishing.

5. One and the same

As we can see from its redundant phrasing, this phrase means that two things are identical. People often mistakenly say “one in the same,” which is not redundant but otherwise makes no sense.

6. Dog eat dog

This phrase is often used when something is particularly brutal or to suggest that a situation is every man for himself. Though the oft-misheard “doggy dog” is an infinitely cuter image, it doesn’t nearly convey the message you’re intending.

10 common phrases that are often misspelled: whet your appetite vs. wet your appetite

7. Whet your appetite

Like pique, whet means to sharpen or stimulate. If something whets your appetite, it stimulates your desire for more. On the other hand, if something wets your appetite it… dumps water on it? What would that mean for your appetite? Like most of these mistaken phrases, this version is nonsensical.

8. Pore over

Similar to the pique/peek/peak debacle, this is merely a case of misused homophones. To pore means to study intently. To pour means to send (a liquid) flowing from one place to another. Knowing this, it makes sense to pore over a book or some study materials. Pour over should only be used for coffee.

9. Home in

To “home in” means to advance toward a goal and suggests that you’re getting closer. It is often heard as “hone in,” but this is incorrect. To hone means to fine-tune or sharpen, as you would a skill or a craft. In the context of closing in on a goal, it doesn’t really make sense.

10 common phrases that are often misspelled: another thing coming vs. another think coming

10. Another think coming

This one was new to me in my research for this article. People generally say “another thing coming,” which does still make sense. However, this idiom comes from a larger phrase: “If that’s what you think, then you’ve got another think coming.” When you look at it this way, it makes sense to use think when your intent is that someone is about to rethink their earlier assertion.

Do idioms peak your interest? Or do they pique your interest? Find out which common phrases you might be misspelling in your #writing. #contentmarketing #editing Click To Tweet

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Cassie LaJeunesse

About Cassie

Cassie LaJeunesse is doing everything in her power to prove wrong the people who scoffed at her English degree. A former college newspaper editor, she now writes and edits content for a regional magazine. She also finds time to freelance for her alma mater and other publications, writing and editing in a variety of styles and subjects. Now that she has completed her degree, she uses her free time to read as much as possible, sing in a choir, and hang out with her cat, Gilbert.

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