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5 Phrases You May Be Using Incorrectly

It’s no secret that proper grammar should be used in the workplace. Good grammar not only makes you appear more professional, but it also ensures your ideas and messages are conveyed with clarity. Poor grammar can do just the opposite and lead others to make assumptions on your intelligence. A common way business professionals are dropping the grammar ball is with using incorrect idioms and phrases. Here are 5 that even prominent celebs are screwing up.

For all intensive purposes vs. For all intents and purposes

Originating from English law in the early 1500s the correct phrase, “for all intents and purposes” was used to say “officially” or “effectively.”

Shoe-in vs. Shoo-in

Most don’t have a clue they are using this wrong and imagine a shoe crossing the threshold of a door, opening a new opportunity. While the meaning is somewhat accurate the correct phrase is “shoo-in.” Just as you would shoo a bug out of your car window, to shoo means to move something with urgency.

I could care less vs. I couldn’t care less

If you really think this one through you can catch the double negative which has most people saying it wrong. The correct phrase, “I couldn’t care less” says there is no less caring you could possibly do, that is how little you care. Those who say “I could care less” are simply saying its of some importance to them and it is possible for them to care less about it.

Nip in the butt vs. Nip in the bud

A common phrase heard within management when a problem has occurred is, “nip in the bud,” however some have started using “nip in the butt.” While the latter is rather funny, the first is correct. “Nip in the bud” refers to a flower’s bud and cutting the issues straight at the source.

Down the pipe vs. Down the pike

Around here, we ask our clients if there’s any work coming “down the pike” as in turnpike and meaning in the future. This phrase is commonly mistaken for “down the pipe” which is understood given another commonly used phrase, “in the pipeline.”

Incorporating phrases or idioms into your day to day speech may make you feel more polished in the workplace, but you’ll want to make sure you are using them correctly so you’re not the butt of the joke.

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