Are you saying that right?
Every once in a while, we are all guilty of a bit of malapropism. This simply translates as using an incorrect word that sounds similar to the one you intended.
The practice has also been referred to as Dogberryism, after the character of the same name in Much Ado about Nothing; he often confuses words, such as auspicious and suspicious.
One of the most famous examples of everyday use of malaprops is former president George W. Bush: hostile / hostage, tenants / tenets, and preserve / persevere.
We asked our tutors about the common words they see in everyday life:
"Less or fewer is a common misunderstanding," cites Duncan McKellar. "Fewer should be used with things which can be counted and less with things that cannot be counted. For example, there are fewer students than usual in class today, or the class is less crowded than usual."
Tutor Jennifer Cloke emphasised the commonly misspelled word 'your' with 'you’re': it's not technically a malapropism, but frequently confused. For example, it's your car (belonging), not ‘you are (you're) car’.
The English language is complex, even for those who fluently speak it, so we’ve compiled a handy list of easily-confused words and what to avoid.
You can have an adverse (bad) reaction, and be averse to an event (not going). What is confusing, however, is that even Microsoft Word describes ‘adverse’ as meaning opposing rather than unfavourable.
We have never had another thing coming. But you may have had another ‘think coming’. Very commonly misused.
You can appraise (value) a house, and then apprise (tell) someone of that information.
Confused versus entertained!
Case and point
Case in point
You are referring to the point through an example (case), not a case and a point.
Avoid versus orbit.
You can’t change your sensitivity (tact), but you can change course (tack).
Collection of principles and a principle.
Do you mean devaluing or derogatory?
Division into two groups and inconsistency.
You can extract oil, and exact revenge.
You home in on something, you hone skills (honing originally coming from the phrase to sharpen with a whetstone).
Intents and purposes
The latter actually means in ‘all practical ways’.
Silence versus debatable.
Peak or peek
Top of the mountain or looking at something, versus arousing interest.
Carry out in stages as opposed to being deterred.
Condemn versus to recommend.
Preposition versus a verb. Of is used to express relationships between something (ten per cent of 100 is ten), whereas have is used for actions; I should have eaten that sandwich.
The latter means a noble transformation. The former means nothing unless you are picking a new diet for your pet budgie.
Clue – the second word does not exist.
One is a stone figure, the other is a law
Do you mean a medical preparation or a container?
As in ‘on tenterhooks’: there is no such thing as a tender hook.