Even Smart People Misuse These 16 Common Phrases

You’ve probably met a person who is a real Grammar-policeman. They can often be extremely annoying, but most of the time they are just trying to help you. When someone knows what the correct way to say something is, or how a certain phrase is properly used, they probably feel that sharing that information will be really useful for others. However, they admit that they often feel irritated when someone uses some word or phrase incorrectly.

Honestly speaking, when you hear how someone uses a phrase or word incorrectly, you doubt their level of education or even their intelligence.

Words last forever in the memory of those you interact with. Making some grammar mistakes or using a certain idiom incorrectly is the same as attending a serious meeting dressed into pajamas. Well, this is what Byron Reese says. Byron Reese is the CEO and co-founder of the internet company known as “Knowingly”, and is also very famous in the tech world. “Knowingly” recently started on a very useful tool –“Correctica” that checks out websites and finds errors that the usual spell-checkers just can’t do.  There are millions websites on the internet that are full of errors – including the business world too. It’s unbelievable how many mistakes all those pages contain.

Correctica managed to scan some of the most prominent internet websites and you won’t believe how many errors it has found.

In this article you will read about some of the most common errors made on the web pages concerning idioms and phrases.

Here is a list of the most common errors made on the most prominent sites on the internet:

Prostrate Cancer

This error was found on one of the most famous sites that publish articles concerning health. And now, instead of cancer that is found on a certain area of the body, we have a cancer that tends to lay face-down on the ground.

First-Come, First-Serve

This error was found on Harvard and Yale. If we translate this phrase it means that the first person who comes, is the one who is going to serve all the people who come after him/her. The correct way to say this phrase is “first-come, first-served”.

Sneak Peak

Can you believe that this error was made by Oxford University and the National Parks Service? It’s so ironic, isn’t it? The correct way to use this phrase is “sneak peek” which means to secretly take a look at something.


This error was found on the websites of Washington Post and the White House website. Even if it makes a perfect sense to think that “deep-seeded” is correct, still the correct use is “deep-seated” meaning that something is firmly established.

Extract Revenge

This mistake was made by BBC and the New York Times. The correct phrase is “exact revenge” which means to achieve revenge.


I Could Care Less

I have personally heard so many people saying this, and it really annoys me. When someone says “I could care less”, they are saying that they actually care about something and that they could care less about it. The correct phrase is “I couldn’t care less” meaning that there is no possible way for you to care less about it – it’s the maximum level of “not caring” about something.


“Shoo” means to immediately move something in a particular direction, and “Shoo-in” is the correct use of this term. This is a pretty new word – dating from the early 20th century. At first, it was only related to horse-racing, but then it got a wider use and now it even has a political meaning. We have a logical explanation why people say shoe-in instead of shoo-in. According to our theory – shoes are easily lost and they cannot change on their own unless you do it yourself.

Emigrate To

This is just improper verb usage. To “emigrate” means to COME FROM somewhere and to “immigrate” means to GO TO somewhere. So the correct expression is “emigrate from” and “immigrate to” – as easy as pie.

Slight Of Hand

“To slight” someone means to insult someone, and that’s the incorrect way to use this expression. The word “sleight” means cunning or dexterity, so the right phrase would be “sleight of hand” which means that something is done with dexterity skill or that something is a masterpiece.

Baited Breath

The correctly spelled expression is “bated breath” meaning that something is exciting. The verb “bait” means to deliberately annoy someone or try to catch someone. The word “bated” is an archaic word, which is why so many people constantly make mistakes with this expression.

Piece of Mind

“Peace of Mind” is tranquility, calmness and relief. The expression “piece of mind” indicates that someone is giving parts of their mind – something totally different.

Wet Your Appetite

Half of the sources that we have checked contain this incorrect expression. The correct expression here is “whet your appetite”. The word “whet” means to stimulate or sharpen something and this idiom is translated as “to spark someone’s interest or desire for something”.

For All Intensive Purposes

Is it possible for the purposes to be “intensive”? The correct phrase here is “for all intents and purposes” and the meaning is to do something officially or effectively. This phrase derives from English law and dates back from the 16th century.

One In The Same

This phrase makes no sense at all. How would you translate it? Anyway, the correct phrase is “one and the same” and is usually used for emphasis – meaning the same person or thing.

Make Due

The word “due” can be translated as an obligatory payment, a fee or something that is owed to someone. Thus, the phrase “make due” means “make owed”. The correct term here would be “make do” which is translated as “make the best of”. Here is one example sentence: “My new car broke down so I have to make do with the old one for a while.”

Peaked My Interest

We can argue for this one for hours. Some people say “peaked my interest” when they want to suggest that their interest is at the highest possible level. However, the original and correct expression is “piqued my interest” which means that someone’s interest has awaken or arisen.

Now since you’ve read some of the most common errors made on the internet, is there someone who will find this list useful? Maybe that person is you, or some of your best friends. We just want to let you know that you can use Correctica to scan anything from simple documents to websites. They also have an effective “proof it free” tool, and it’s extremely easy to use.