Don’t feel bad… we all have done it. The English language can be tough to master, even if we have been using it our entire lives. Lord knows I still need help. So, to that end I’ve compiled a list of common mistakes. Strictly speaking, these are not grammatical errors. I stink at grammar. I misuse the occasional semi-colon, confuse ‘if’ and ‘whether,’ as well as ‘that’ and ‘which.’ Here’s a helpful list of common mistakes of grammar. This top 10 list is more about syntax and usage.
“Top 10 mistakes of language or syntax”
Number 10: ‘anyways’
Just say ‘anyway’ – please, I’m begging you
Number 09: ‘irregardless’
It’s a double negative, right? Regardless means ‘without regard,’ while irregardless means ‘without-without regard.’
Number 08: ‘vice-versa’
This is usually a speaking error. It’s not vis-uh verse-uh. Say vice, then say versa – not the other way around (which is what vice versa means). Also, you don’t have to put this in italics because it has become a standard English parlance.
Number 07: ‘exspecially’
I hear it all the time and cringe, especially when a teacher is involved.
Number 06: ‘entitled’
Is it, “She wrote a book entitled…”, or “She wrote a book titled…”? To be entitled means that a person has a right to something, not that a story has a title. It’s possible for the author to use the word correctly, “I’ve entitled this essay,” but in that case it refers to the act of giving a title. So unless you are the author you are probably not entitled to use the word “entitled.”
Number 05: ‘intensive purposes’
Ouch! For all ‘intents and purposes’ is the correct phrase.
Number 04: ‘towards’t
You never need the ‘s.’ We could call this one “Toward a Better Use of Toward.’
Number 03: ‘tack’ v. ‘tact’
Too often I hear people say, “We took the wrong tact.” Oh, sweet Nelly! To have ‘tact’ means you know what is appropriate. You cannot try to take a different tact. The word you are looking for is ‘tack,” which comes from sailing. Tacking is when you run against the wind by zigzagging. We can certainly take a different ‘tack.’ In fact we should in this case!
Number 02: ‘flesh’ v. ‘flush’
Let’s take a moment and flush this out… ugh! You flesh out a plan. You flush out a bird from its hiding spot. To flesh something out means to give it flesh and bones, to animate it, to build on the framework. To flush something out is to get something out of its hiding spot, or to activate the toilet in your RV.
Number 01: ‘jive’ v. ‘jibe’
Jibe means to be in harmony or accord. Jive is a kind of a dance move, or a way of BS-ing someone (made famous by the immortal Bee Gees, Jive-talking). If two ideas are incompatible to one another they do not ‘jibe,’ as opposed to ‘jive,’ which would mean they don’t know how to dance. Jibe can be a sailing term as well (to switch a sail from one side to the other while running with the wind).
Honorable mention:Not, ‘one in the same, but rather, ‘one and the same.’