We found a list of a bunch of words and phrases you might be mispronouncing. And if someone corrects you, you look like an idiot. Here are five that can REALLY make you sound dumb . . .
- “Scapegoat.” Some people say “ESCAPE goat.” But a scapegoat is someone who takes the blame. And saying “ESCAPE goat” sounds like you’re talking about a loose farm animal.
- “Biding your time.” Some people say “BITING your time,” which is wrong. The word “bide” means “to wait for.” Saying someone’s “biting their time” doesn’t make sense.
- “Play it by ear.” It’s a music term. If you play it by ear, you’re doing it without reading sheet music. Apparently some people think it’s “play it by YEAR.”
- “Pass muster,” which means you’re meeting a certain standard. Some people think it’s “pass MUSTARD,” which is something you might do at the table . . . or something your digestive system might do after you eat a hot dog.
- “Moot point” . . . spelled M-O-O-T. It usually means something’s irrelevant or hypothetical. Some people say “MUTE point,” which is wrong. And there was also an episode of “Friends” where Joey thought the saying was, “It’s a MOO point.”
Here are five more common phrases we get wrong all the time . . .
- “For all intensive purposes.” It’s really “for all INTENTS and purposes.” The other way is like saying, “for all these very thorough purposes.” Which doesn’t make sense.
- “Nip it in the butt.” The correct phrase is “nip it in the BUD,” like a flower bud. The other way makes it sound like you want to BITE someone’s butt.
- “One in the same.” If you say it like that, it doesn’t make sense. The real phrase is, “one AND the same,” which means two things are alike.
- “Case and point.” The correct way to say it is, “case IN point.” It’s like saying, “Here’s an example of the point I’m trying to make.”
- “I could care less.” If you say it like that, you’re really saying you DO care about something. The correct phrase is, “I COULDN’T care less.”
Here’s one more weird one: “You’ve got another thing coming” is technically wrong. The original phrase was, “If that’s what you think, you’ve got another THINK coming.” We dropped the first part a long time ago, and now everyone says “thing.” So in that case, you sound like an idiot if you say it RIGHT.