"I could care less" is something you've probably said before when you wanted to express how little you were invested in a topic — but do you see anything wrong with this picture? If you didn't guess already, it's actually a mispronunciation of "I couldn't care less"; moreover, it's just one of many everyday phrases people mispronounce. In order to clear the air, though, Business Insider recently put together a video chronicling 12 of these phrases. Don't we owe it to ourselves to say what we mean? Communication is key for pretty much everything, after all!
If you're kicking yourself for having been saying one of these phrases incorrectly forever, don't sweat it. In fact, the title of the video itself even tells us to give ourselves a break: It's called, "Everyday Phrases That Even Smart People Say Incorrectly. Let's face it — the English language can be confusing. Even writers like myself say and write things in a grammatically incorrect fashion sometimes. For example, of the the phrases that I've been spelling and saying wrong for probably my entire life is "wreak havoc," which I was saying like "wreck havoc." I can't believe that no one has ever corrected me!
Ready to get a lesson in grammar and see what common phrases you've been saying incorrectly? Check out five of them below (along with a little history about where they came from in the first place); then head on over to Business Insider to watch the full video with all 12.
1. "One And The Same"
When you're trying to say that two things are synonymous, you might say "one in the same." But you may be surprised to learn that the correct pronunciation of this phrase is "one and the same". It makes logical sense, since "one and the same" would refer to two things, while "one in the same" would just include one thing — that is, it doesn't allow for comparison. According to The Free Dictionary, it's an emphatic form of "the same" that dates back to the 1800s.
2. "By Accident"
If you did something in error, would you say that you did it "on accident" or "by accident" ? If you guessed the latter, you would be right. This is a phrase that is easy to mess up, since most of the country says "on accident" and no one raises an eyebrow. Those prepositions can trip up even the most grammar savvy of us!
3. "Statute of Limitations"
When referring to the amount of time someone has to report a crime, you might call this the "statue of limitations." But, you should actually be saying the "statute of limitations" when referring to this. A "statute" is "a written law passed by a legislative body," according to the Oxford English Dictionaries; additionally, Encyclopedia Britannica notes that statutes of limitations appear early in Roman law. This phrase has been around.
4. "Should Have"
"I should of gotten this done earlier!" Well, should you of? You actually should have gotten that done earlier. If you want a mental shotcut, just think of "should've" — it's the contraction of "should have," the correct way of saying this phrase.
5. "You've Got Another Think Coming"
This one had me completely scratching my head, since I have always said "You've got another thing coming." But apparently, this is not the right way of saying this phrase! Anyone else in complete shock? I decided to look up the origin of this phrase to see where the "think" comes from, and it turns out that it comes from an old colloquial expression from the late 1800s: "If that’s what you think, you’ve got another think coming." Who knew?
Having fun with this mini English lesson? If you want to see even more of these common phrases that you're probably mispronouncing, watch the full video over at Business Insider.