I’m all for getting words right, but I also admit that I’ve gotten things wrong over the years. Here are three commonly misused words or pairs of words. Let’s have a full confessional – have you made these mistakes, or ones like them?
Intensive purposes – what does that mean exactly? Strong or extreme purposes? What you’re really trying to say is “for all intents and purposes,” meaning practically speaking.
Gauntlet vs. gamut – You can run both the gauntlet and the gamut, but they mean different things. A gauntlet used to be a punishment where you got hit when you ran through two rows of people (no thanks!) and a gamut is a range of options. I think I’d rather run the gamut. How about you?
Flout vs. flaunt – They don’t mean the same thing. Flout means to ignore the rules. Flaunt means to show off.
Bonus bogus words and phrases that are catching on:
I’ve spent a lot of time listening to youth sports talk and have noticed that kids (and adults) have begun using these phrases interchangeably:
Out of bounds and out of balance – as in, “That ball was way out of balance!” In our little world, that means out of bounds.
Versing – as in, “Next week, we’re versing the blue team!” I hear this all the time and I’ve even heard it on TV sports. I think this is one word that will definitely morph into legitimate usage.
Do you have other examples of misused words?
Thanks for visiting – come back soon!