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Commonly Misused Words and Phrases That Will Make You Sound Unprofessional -How to Avoid Them!

Writing is my passion. I have an undying thirst and quest in the field of writing. Some eat, drink, or use drugs when stressed; I write.


When you hear person misuse words or phrases, do you assume that he or she is unintelligent or unprofessional? Whether or not you do, it’s a proven fact that words are powerful, and they can leave a lasting impression and memory about you. In fact, not knowing how to use words or phrases correctly is like walking into a meeting with dirty clothes and a messy hairdo.

It’s easy to fall into language traps and make yourself sound unprofessional. But you don’t have to embarrass yourself; you can strive for an excellent speech by being familiar with the most commonly accepted ways of saying certain words and phrases. This article will discuss some of the most common, everyday expressions that some people might not know they have been saying incorrectly.

Also, this article will discuss the ever-changing nature of standard terms and phrases plus the original pronunciation in everyday use. For some people, sounding unprofessional is an insurmountable problem and a constant source of frustration, and many of us get upset when we find out we have been misusing a word or phrase for most of our life.


You shouldn’t fret or get angry; this article will assist you in saying good riddance to all those wrong and rubbish words and phrases. Below is a list of common words or phrases that some people might say or use wrongly, some of which I wasn’t clear myself. I was using and writing wrong until I began making sure I was using and writing words and phrases correctly.

The first words, many have been saying wrong for a long time, even me, the way some say it wrong: “Chester drawers,” when the right way is, “Chest of drawers.” Despite how long you were misusing these words or how a staunch defender might try to defend how he or she misses it, you do not own drawers that belong to Chester. “Chest of drawers” is a chest made of drawers, and that’s what prepares the right way of using a lot more sense.

Another word many misuses or say incorrectly, saying wrong: “Warshing Machine,” the correct way of saying it is “Washing Machine.” No one can place their clothes in a “Warshing Machine,” because it is something that doesn’t exist. It is the wrong way of usage, and whoever is saying it this way is adding an “r” where it doesn’t need to be and that “r” needs to be dropped.


“Doing Good” is a word that some people sometimes say in an incorrect phrase. To put these words into the correct usage, if someone asks, how are you doing? And you want to make sure you are responding correctly; the right way to reply is “Doing well.” Some people even reply, “I’m Good,” this is an incorrect response as well as it needs an adverb to answer correctly and that with the response, “Doing well.”

One of the most commonly misused phrases that many love to say is, “I Could Care Less.” An expression that many use to show how little they care about an issue that might occur. The correct usage is, “I Couldn’t Care Less.” When saying “I Could Care Less,” not only is it incorrect, you mean you not only care, but you are concerned enough that you are communicating the opposite of the phrase’s intention.

Another commonly misused phrase that many puts into incorrect usage are “On Accident.” The correct practice, “By Accident.” “By Accident” is when an accident happens and it was not something foresee coming; it is a surprise. When you’re trying to describe an incident that is a mistake, do not say, “On Accident,” it is the incorrect usage that means that the event has already happened.


Merica English is a language that changes with everyday usage and is full of idioms. It’s full of words that a good deal of us might not know they’ve been saying incorrectly. However, it’s easy to fall into language traps, especially if the people who are all around you misuse words and phrases. The phrases in this article are words abused on a daily that have become “accepted” over time, and others are just plain wrong.

These words and phrases will block a person from a dream job or be dissociated from the best of friend circles because nobody wants to hang around an unprofessional speaking individual. Words are powerful that can leave a lasting impression on others. Therefore, you don’t want society to assume your intelligence or professionalism. If there are words or phrases that you may have been commonly hearing and have mispronounced for most or all of your life, why not correct that often “accepted” overtime mistake? Are those words or phrases in this article?

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Also, maybe there are words or phrases you mispronounced that are not in this article. And perhaps you or someone you are around daily has been making these exact language rule mistakes? Allow this article to assist you in ending this misperception for good. However, if you are one who has corrected your language and walk over to professionalism, take the time to share your learning skills on how to end this wrong perception and begin pronouncing words correctly. But if you need help to pronounce or using words, don’t feel bad because it will surprise you how many words or phrases smart, intelligent people have been slightly misusing to make themselves sound dumb. Please leave your feedback in the comment area.

Commonly Misused Words and Phrases that will Make You Sound Unprofessional & How to Avoid them!

Commonly Misused Words- Grammar Song

The 51 most commonly misused words and phrases - do you get these wrong?

Misused wordsEmbarrassing Phrases Even Smart People MisuseMisused Quotes

Adverse means detrimental and does not mean averse or disinclined. Correct: "There were adverse effects." / "I'm not averse to doing that."

Prostrate cancer It's an easy misspelling to make--just add an extra r and "prostate cancer" becomes "prostrate cancer," which suggests "a cancer of lying face-down on the ground." Both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Mayo Clinic websites include this misspelling.

Any time we are misused or used for a purpose other than what God intended us for, it's damaging. Joyce Meyer

Bemused means bewildered and does not mean amused. Correct: "The unnecessarily complex plot left me bemused." / "The silly comedy amused me."

First-come, first-serve This suggests that the first person to arrive has to serve all who follow. The actual phrase is "first-come, first-served," to indicate that the participants will be served in the order in which they arrive. Both Harvard and Yale got this one wrong.

Opposition is not necessarily enmity; it is merely misused and made an occasion for enmity. Sigmund Freud

Shrunk, sprung, stunk, and sunk are used in the past participle, not the past tense. Correct: "I've shrunk my shirt." / "I shrank my shirt."

Sneak peak A "peak" is a mountain top. A "peek" is a quick look. The correct expression is "sneak peek," meaning a secret or early look at something. This error appeared on Oxford University's site as well as that of the National Park Service.

How often misused words generate misleading thoughts. Herbert Spencer

Commonly Misused Words

© 2017 Pam Morris


Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on July 25, 2018:

Useful pointers in this article. Improvement is an on-going process and this includes improving one's usage of the correct words and phrases. Thank you.

Pam Morris (author) from Atlanta Georgia on March 02, 2018:

William, You are so welcome. Thank you for reading and your reply to my article, it is so appreciated.

William Crawford from Atlanta, Georgia on March 02, 2018:

Pam I have met more than my share of "professionals" that need to read your article. This is a good one, thanks!

Pam Morris (author) from Atlanta Georgia on December 26, 2017:

Hello, Mactavers,

Thank you for sharing your pet peeve misuse which is good and well. I believe more people make this mistake overall and many have no intention of changing this misappropriation.

Pam Morris (author) from Atlanta Georgia on December 26, 2017:


Thank you so much for taking the time to share how words were misused by your boyfriend, as I stated in the article it's easy to fall into language traps. It's also easy to “accepted” over time the language mistake after using for an extended period.

Poppy from Enoshima, Japan on December 26, 2017:

My ex-boyfriend used to say “excape” instead of “escape,” and “I could care less.” Drove me crazy.

Another one people commonly say is “less” instead of fewer or “who” instead of “whom.” In fact, “whom” is now considered posh language! I always get funny looks (as if I’m being snobby or sarcastic) when I say “whom.” Haha.

mactavers on December 26, 2017:

My pet peeve misuse is good and well. Even professional sports casters say, "He played real good." Grrr.

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